Hi Everyone! So I decided to write about our trip to Italy. If you follow me on social media you probably saw the pictures and stories of our travels. I’ll share some of them within this post. We just returned a few weeks ago from our two-week vacation in Florence, Italy. And let me tell you it is an absolute dream there. I highly suggest everyone try and make it there at least once in your life. The people, food, architecture, and of course the River Arno are all just beyond beautiful.
We’ve been going to Florence every September for quite a few years now, and we absolutely love it! Except for the last two years, we were unable to go due to life getting in the way. So that made our trip this year and returning to the Lungarno, all the more special. We got back home just in time for peak foliage, which was really lucky for us. This year the foliage was stunning with brilliant colors rolling over the mountains. What a sight to come home to. But, I digress. Back to our Italy vacation.
First, traveling from Vermont to Italy is no easy journey. Actually, traveling anywhere from Vermont is always difficult, because our airport is so small. We start off by driving an hour from our home in Stowe to the Burlington airport. We then have a short one hour flight to Philadelphia. Then we have the long hall of the eight-hour flight to Rome, Italy. Finally, once we arrive in Rome we have a car service drive us to Florence and our ultimate destination, Hotel Lungarno! Wow, after all of that, a shower and a meal are in order.
We always stay at Hotel Lungarno. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel located directly on the River Arno. Each year when we arrive we find the same familiar faces welcoming us back. The staff is so special that it feels like coming home. The hotel is owned by the Ferragamo family. The attention to detail and making you feel comfortable is incredible. When we arrive at the hotel Champagne, caviar, chocolates, along with fresh flowers are waiting for us in our room. So nice! Since it is a smaller hotel you don’t get lost in the crowd. Everyone who works there knows your name. They remember the small things that you like, which make staying there one of the best parts of our vacation. They even remember the funny things that have happened on past trips. Like the one time, we were stuck at a restaurant during a cab strike and had no way to get back to the hotel. In between the time we arrived at the restaurant and the time we were finished eating our meal, the strike happened! The hotel had to send a small truck to pick us up and we were squeezed into the tiny front seat with me sitting on Vince’s lap and half my body out the window. We laughed so hard we cried all the way back to the hotel! The staff still remembers that ride till this day! Throughout our stay, we’ll come back to the room to find a great Tuscan wine or fresh flowers with a note waiting for us. I always save the notes!
So, unlike most people, we like to stay in one place through our whole vacation. Believe me, I am not a light traveler. I always overpack! So packing up every few days and traveling to a different area is just not for us. I know some people might think that is strange since we are close to so many historically beautiful cities. Our daughters are always telling us we should go to new places in Italy instead of staying in one spot. But we like what we like, and we like what we know.
We love Florence for the people, the food, the sites, and oh let’s not forget the shopping!! Since we stay at Hotel Lungarno we get a 10% discount at Ferragamo, which is always appreciated. Traveling to Europe is a great experience but one of my favorite parts is seeing the street style of the women there. We saw some beautiful fashion trends in major fashion houses like Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, along with small boutiques. This year animal prints were being featured in everything including bags, shoes, coats, dresses, gloves, and hats. Basically, anything you can wear or carry! Also, it wasn’t just the typical animal print. They came in all different kinds of colors such as yellow, pink, lavender, green, blue, just stunning! Of course, I could not pass up on the animal prints so I bought a bag in haircalf and a pink coat that I wore in many of my photos, which checked that box. I love shopping in Florence because you see things that you don’t get to see in the States. Even in the large fashion houses, the choices are different so I always come home with something very unique. This year I was looking for a green bag, and I ended up finding two. One from D&G and the other one from Ferragamo in beautiful luxe materials of suede and leather. Of course, I got both of them!
Enough about shopping, on to the food. Most of the restaurants we go to are family owned, inexpensive, and amazing. How do they make pasta that light and delicious? Osteria del Pavone is one of our all-time favorite restaurants. It is owned by the family that runs Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, which we equally love. The Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco has been in Florence for 35 years. When we are being seated we walk through the kitchen to get to our table, it definitely gives me Goodfellow vibes. They do have another entrance but that’s my favorite way to go! Our must-haves on the menu are the Fritto Misto, which one night they made special for us upon request. Also, the steak tartare is so fresh and tasty, plus it's made at the table by the chef himself. My all-time favorite is Pappardelle pasta in boar sauce, I die!!! We love everyone at this restaurant. Above is a photo of Vince with all the guys just having too much fun!
We took a day trip to Tuscany, about a two-hour drive from our hotel. We went to a small little town called Monteggiori. Monteggiori is a charming village in the Camaiore area that was first mentioned existing in the year 1224. To arrive into the town you must walk, there is no access for cars. It's medieval fortress still stands and the village itself is like going back in time. The winding roads are just beautiful to walk through. The peacefulness of the village is wonderful, there are a few small shops and one restaurant. In exploring we kept coming upon stray cats everywhere. Certainly more cats than residents! This village is all about the stunning views and walking the same steps that people walked almost 800 years ago.
After leaving Monteggiori our driver took us to a beautiful vineyard lined with hundreds of cypress trees. Here we got to capture some great photos. The landscape was stunning and again the quiet and beauty of the area was wonderful. Rose bushes were lined throughout the vineyard making it even more pretty and romantic.
We went on to Chianti and the vineyard called Famiglia Mazzarrini for lunch and wine tastings. Our wines included both white and red and were paired with a traditional Tuscan menu. Handmade egg pasta from eggs collected in their hen house, truffles (one of my favorites), vegetables from their organic garden, and simple desserts. It was a great way to spend an afternoon. After all that we had the beautiful two-hour scenic drive back to Florence. When we got back to our room we sat on our balcony and enjoyed a Super Tuscan wine and watched the world go by.
So with all that pasta, pizza, and wine, I ended up only gaining about two pounds. Why is that you may ask? Well, it's because we walked everywhere. We would wake up, eat breakfast, and hit the streets running. Florence is such an easy city to walk. We would be out for hours just enjoying the sites and the wonderful weather. So along with my high heels, it’s a major must to pack some good walking shoes. The Ponte Vecchio, which is one of the big tourist sites, is right next to our hotel. Our balcony has a wonderful view of it. Most days it is wall to wall of people. The shops consist of jewelry stores with the most incredible custom jewelry that you’ve ever seen. As you go further down there are art dealers, restaurants, and a huge open market that sells everything and anything you can think of.
One morning we woke up at 5 AM to get ready to go to the bridge. We wanted to take some photos and not have to deal with so many tourists. Remember how I said the streets were filled with tourists see photos below for the comparison.
We have never seen it like that before! It was just us and a few coffee shops that were beginning to open up. The streets were empty and peacefully quiet! It was worth waking up so early up for. This year Vince had the task of taking all photos for the blog. This was new for Vince. He has never been a great photographer, and it had actually become an ongoing joke within our family. Most of the pictures he would take have his thumb covering half the lens, or they would just come out blurry. I've got to say he proved us all wrong on this trip because his photos turned out so well. We got some great shots! Vince is thinking about a whole other career now! It also added another fun thing for us to do on this vacation. We got a lot of laughs doing it. Vince had no qualms about telling people to move out of the way. He actually went up to one group of tourists and told them they had to move because they had been in that spot long enough. Oh, that man of mine!
One of our best days was when it rained all day. We slept late and read a bit in the morning. Then we got dressed and went to the lounge to graze on some tomatoes and burrata, great cheese, and of course wine. It was a perfect day for relaxing and just enjoying time together.
Vince and I love to just chill and spend time together on our vacations. It's just great for us to get away together to unplug. No phones, computers, dogs, kids, it's just the two of us. We loved coming back to our room in the afternoon after seeing the city, or evenings after dinner, and sitting on our balcony. We would people watch and just enjoy the beauty of the area. It gives us time to recharge, sleep in, read a book, and just enjoy each other's company. It's so important to unplug and get away from some the of stresses of life.
We also met so many people from all over. It's so easy to start up a conversation in a restaurant or at the hotel lounge. The best group of people we met and chatted with were, believed or not, from Vermont! They had actually lived in Philadelphia before they moved to Vermont. Kind of unreal! The world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. We had a great conversation so we traded emails and now we have some new friends.
So packing up and leaving was tough. The trip home is always a killer. We wake at 3:30 AM to be on the road to Rome by 4:30 AM. Do the entire trip back to Philly and then the killer, a five-hour layover before our flight back to Vermont. It is the worst. We then fly to Vermont, drive to Stowe. When we finally get home, we get right into our bed, after saying hello to our Buddy, for a long, well-needed sleep.
Next year we’ll get to do it all over again. Maybe with less luggage next time (HA!). So, for now, Ciao Florence!
Hi Guys! It's finally here, my first expert video! In this video, we will be talking with Dr. Lane about all the questions you want to be answered about Botox. After, we are going to film me and Mr. Stafford actually getting Botox. 💉💉😳
I really hope this is informative and answers any questions you might have had. This took a lot of courage to do on camera. It is a topic a lot of women still feel embarrassed to talk about, so that's why I felt the need to make this video. Even if Botox is not your thing my hope is that everyone learns something they might not have known before watching. I hope you enjoy, and let me know in the comments if this was helpful to you.
If you've noticed velvet has made a spectacular return for Fall 2018. You will see it literally everywhere. Including runway shows to casual street wear. The best part is that the trend is not limited to outerwear. There are velvet shoes, dresses, pants, blazers, and everything else you can think of. We are definitely having flashbacks to the 90's! The material has a kind of nostalgia related to it, at least for me. The nineties was when our girls were growing up, Seinfeld was still on the air, and the internet was a brand new thing! Memories! Besides that, velvet always has a way of making you feel fancier and adding a hint of luxury to an otherwise simple outfit.
So for today's outfit of the day, I decided to really embrace the velvet trend. As you will see I am wearing the material head to toe. I know this might sound like it will be too much. It's all about what pieces you own and how you accessorize.
Keep reading to see my #OOTD! With the brands and links of where to find the same look!
To start, my black ribbed sweater is from Everlane. Even though they do not have it available at this time Everlane will usually come out with something similar for each season. If you don't feel like waiting for next season to buy this sweater I found another option for you. On Amazon, they have this Blue Banana Women's Super Stretchy Ribbed Scoop Neck Sweater, which is pretty much identical to the one I'm wearing.
My suede coat is from Italy. Since it's a one of a kind piece I found in a boutique it is not available online. I did my research and found some other ones that are a close match. First, we have the Avec Les Filles Genuine Suede Trench Coat from Free People. It is definitely a higher end item at the price of $399. The color of the material is a little darker than my coat, but I think it would still work with this outfit. Maybe just add a white sweater instead of black to give the look some brightness.
I found another option for a more affordable price on Forever 21 called the Longline Faux Suede Moto Jacket. This jacket is actually so chic I was surprised, especially being from Forever 21. I was tempted to buy it myself. The style and look are very similar to mine. This one does look like it is more flexible and can be worn with any outfit. The price is reasonable at $58. I would like to see what the quality of this jacket is in person. I'm sure it won't last years, but I think it should be good to get you through a couple of seasons.
My burgundy velvet pants are from 7 For All Mankind, but they are no longer available. I did find the Velvet Ankle Skinny in Scarlet on their website. They are extremely similar except for the cut on the pants, and they are also on sale for $99. If you prefer the wide-legged look here are the Poshsquare Women's Velvet Bell Bottom High Waist Flared Palazzo Pants from Amazon.
My black leather bag is from Salvatore Ferragamo. Since it is a designer bag the same one is no longer available. I did look online for quite some time and could not find anything that looked even close to mine. There are a lot of black bags out there but none that are this size or shape with the gold buckle. The closest match I could find was this black bag with gold hardware from Forzieri. I also came across this adorable Tom Ford red velvet clutch which would go perfectly with this outfit!
My shoes, which I will say go perfectly with this whole outfit, are from Stuart Weitzman. And yes, you guessed it these are sold out as well. I feel bad I keep doing this to you guys! Like most people I've accumulated my clothes over the years, so it makes sense most of what I own isn't available anymore. I did go ahead and do the research for you and found a fantastic similar option. These Ivy Platform Velvet Sandal from Neiman Marcus would go great with this look.
Now for the fun part, accessories! My beautiful white diamond ring is courtesy of Ferro's jewelers in Stowe Vermont. My green ring is a David Yurman. My Rolex watch actually belongs to Mr. Stafford. I borrowed it for this outfit. And finally, my hoop earrings are from Von Bargen's Jewelry.
Let me know what you think about my #OOTD in the comments! If you enjoyed this go ahead and subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with all my new posts:) You can also follow me on social media by clicking on the icons below.
Hi Everyone! So Fall is finally at its peak and everyone is feeling the autumn spirit. Everywhere I look I see baggy sweaters, boots, chic hats, and scarfs. The best part about this time of year is the ability to layer your clothes and play around with fun accessories. A great Fall fashion trend from 2018 is the leather jacket.
For me, the number one essential during the Fall season is my leather vegan jacket, from a local boutique in Stowe VT called Bunya Bunya. If you happen to be visiting in Stowe I highly suggest stopping in for some great shopping! There are so many different styles of leather jackets available, so it's really just about finding the one that fits your style and personality the best. The great part about owning one is that it can be worn and styled in so many different ways! Check out this article from Who What Wear for some inspiration on how to rock your leather jacket.
If you like my look keep reading to see my #OOTD! With the brands and links of where to find the same look.
Since I bought my jacket at a local boutique you won't be able to buy the same exact one I have. Fortunately, I did the research for you and found a great alternative from Free People called the Cash Leather Jacket. It has the similar style of having the built-in hoodie look. The only noticeable difference is that it has less hardware compared to mine. That might be a plus for some women because I know that too much metal on a leather jacket can sometimes be annoying.
My Allman Brothers BandgraphicV-neck Tee is also from Free People. Free People has a ton of iconic graphic t-shirts. If you're the type of person who likes thrifting then you'll know that is the way to find the best classic graphic tees for a bargain.
My jeans are from J.Crew, but I couldn't find the same pair I'm wearing. The 9" high-rise toothpick jean in Solano wash from J.Crew is exactly the same style and fit as mine. The only difference is the distressed look around the waistline and the color is a bit darker. Other than that they are essentially the same. Honestly, I know jeans can be difficult to find, but I have to say J.Crew has a great selection. They also offer to tailor your clothes if you are shopping in-store. It really is the perfect store to find some everyday jeans.
My leather booties with the feather accents really tie the whole look together. I love the attention to detail! The open toe makes this shoe perfect for Fall. Unfortunately, these are from Coach a few seasons back, so they are no longer available. The Michael Kors Blaze Open Toe Bootie is a great alternative.
Finally, my hoop earrings are from Von Bargen's Jewelry in Burlington Vermont. I decided not to wear too much jewelry with this outfit only because it wasn't necessary. The outfit itself was enough on its own. Sometimes less is definitely more, ladies. Only sometimes though!
Let me know what you think about my #OOTD in the comments! If you enjoyed this go ahead and subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with all my new posts:) You can also follow me on social media by clicking on the icons below.
Let me start off with saying, I miss Joan Rivers! Whenever she said those three words, "Can We Talk?,” you knew she was going to say something very honest and incredibly funny.
Well, I'm no Joan Rivers, but let's talk anyway!
I’ve been planning on writing this post for awhile. I just needed to find the courage and how to articulate myself properly. This is going to be raw and extremely honest. I wanted to explain my reasoning behind starting this blog, which I did not come up with overnight.
As social media has grown over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching these young beauty and makeup bloggers. I’ve learned so many tips from watching their tutorials. Within this new forum I noticed that women my age were not being represented. So, I came up with the idea of starting the Mrs. Stafford blog.
"I want to share with other women my experiences, my interests, starting my 60’s, and plenty of other topics that we never get a chance to talk about."
As women today, at every age, we have so many choices to make. Your early 20's is typically trying to navigate becoming an adult, and finding out what you want out of life. This could include finishing your higher education, beginning your career, and doing the dating thing. In your 30's is when you start having a better understanding of who you are as a person. You’re furthering your career or still deciding on one that makes you happy, and possibly thinking about starting your own family. Choices. So many choices!
Having said that, when you pass those milestone decades, as a woman society starts to expect less from you. As if you should have already accomplished everything in your 20’s and 30’s. This is the furthest from the truth. For example, at age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA and Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
"Vera Wang didn’t design her first dress until she was 40. Life doesn’t stop after a certain age. You actually have the ability to do more with the wisdom of life experiences to back you up."
Growing up in the 70's, I was a young teen at the beginning of the Women's Movement. It was a pretty amazing time with lots of women who were incredible role models. There was Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, First Lady Betty Ford, just to name a few. These were women I read about every day.
Their fight was for women to have choices in their life. So, let's not tear down women for their choices, or for not following the expectations of society. Let's applaud them and support them because that means that you can make your own independent choices, too. We're not all the same, each of us are different, and that's what makes us so damn special!
Now after saying that, we still go through so many of the same things. Being a young woman and all the "fun" that brings. Going through pregnancy or falling in love. Becoming more mature, the lovely time in life called menopause... and on, and on, and on! Everyone out there is always telling us how to feel and what to do with our lives. How amazing and fulfilling it is to be young and pregnant, or single, or a mother, or a wife, or to do what we do in our careers blah, blah blah!!!! Sometimes, each and every one of these things is awful, terrible, thankless, and just plain stinks. But let's not say it out loud because someone might hear!
"Well, on this blog, we're going to say it all out loud!"
Since I am a woman who has gone through it all, I can talk about these topics, and speak honestly about these life stages. No matter what age you are, life can be difficult. You won’t always see things through rose colored glasses, which people like to portray on social media.
No one told me how terrible menopause was, and the depression that sometimes comes along with it. I had never dealt with depression before, or weight gain in places I never gained weight. The unexpected symptoms took their toll on me... Waking up in the morning and just wanting to bite someone's head off. My eye lashes actually started to fall out for Christ sake - no one ever told me about that!!! Jesus take the wheel!!!
So I'm going to be completely transparent in this blog. I'll tell you all my beauty regimens, makeup tips, and life hacks I’ve learned through life and from being a mother. You’ll see me working out with my good friend Charlotte Brynn in the gym. You'll see me getting botox & fillers at Dr. Lane’s office, because no one gets older without having wrinkles. I’ll document my travels with me and my Hubby, plus lots of other things that make up my life now.
The media presents women over 50 only as grandmothers... What a joke! In this blog, you'll see the choices I've made to age gracefully and live fabulously. Whether you do the same or not, I would love you to be part of the conversations going forward. This is all about women supporting other women, and trying to have some damn fun in the meantime. Hope you like it!!
With all that being said, what would you like to talk about on this blog? I'm an open book. So let me know in the comment section below!