Monday, February 28, 2011

Miss Betty Monday: WWMBD

Miss Betty was known for her good advice! As a matter of fact, after she went to heaven, I started getting calls from people of all ages.... "What would Betty think/say/do?"

Well, in honor of that, here's what Miss Betty probably would have to say about things as they are today....

"Life today seems pretty tacky, common and vulgar (all said in a South Carolina accent with emphasis...these were three of Miss Betty's favorite words), but there is hope for the world if we can turn a few things around..."

1. We need to have more parties with orchestras....not bands, not combos, not even quartets. Nothing makes a party great like a good orchestra....especially one that can play something Glen Miller or one of the Dorsey Brothers used to play. Who knows? Parties with orchestras could lead to world peace....Let's dance!

2. In that same vein, there need to be more tea dances, just like the "old days" where people actually dressed in the afternoon and had a the chance to so some fun (and proper) socializing in the daytime. (*Tea dances also involved alcohol, so there was something for everyone!) Miss Betty especially loved the tea dances at the Cavalier Beach Club, in Virginia Beach. That's where she and my dad got to know Jimmy Dorsey (and his orchestra)!

3.  People need to dress better in general...especially people in airports.  What you see today is just horrendous.  Life in general could be greatly improved and people would feel better about themselves.  Men should wear hats more and women should, too...and gloves as well......BUT.....and this is important..... No hats inside for men.  (According to Miss Betty there needed to be a law (and Miss Betty felt that jail time was required for offenders) for men who keep their hats on inside....especially in restaurants. If said hat is a cap (baseball, trucker, etc), the sentence should be the maximum! ......LOL....... The other night Dear Husband and I were out at a lovely new restaurant and saw a table with two offenders. I honestly believe that had Miss Betty been there, there would have been a citizen's arrest!)

I'll be sharing some more Miss Betty Bon Mots in the weeks to come.....but I will leave you with this:

When I was a young woman, she gave me a good piece of advice... "Never do anything you wouldn't want to be on the front page of the New York Times!"  (This was pre-internet!!)  So, when faced with a decision these days, I often think WWMBD? What WOULD  Miss Betty do?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Star Spangled Sunday: Super Bowl Take Note Of These Girls!

UPDATE: Someone is already on this....To vote to have them at Super Bowl 2012, and to see a more recent video of them singing the national anthem, click on the highlighted link to go to the Facebook "Cactus Cuties for the 2012 Super Bowl" page. Please pass this along to your friends, too!! Facebook Page

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Score!

Sorry....I have been one of the Ladies Who Lunch this week and have been terrible about blogging.

Today, Older Daughter was home for the night from college, and she agreed to "Drive Miss Daisy" around as I completed some errands.  (Love having a chauffeur!!!)

Look what we found at Bath and Bodyworks!  Aren't they adorable?....Just clip one onto you car visor (or anywhere else you want to freshen the air) and enjoy the contain cute, island-y scent!

You know the Classic Preppy and her love for pink (and green) turtles!!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday: Sense Memories

The other day I spotted a bottle of a perfume I used to wear back in the day (the 80's!) when I worked for Tiffany & Co.  It is called Y (pronounced "Ee-grec") by Yves St. Laurent.  On a whim, I bought some, and have been wearing it this week.  It makes me feel young again, as it has brought back so many memories from when I wore it all those years ago.

It's amazing what sense memories can do to one.  Whenever I am lighting candles, I am transported back to being old enough to be allowed to do that, and lighting them for Miss Betty, before one of her dinner parties.  When I smell something cooking, I immediately go back to the place I first smelled that delicious aroma.  I have noticed that my girls do the same thing....

Here is a recap of my life and sense memories (as told in my perfume choice) going back to when I went off to college.....

Miss Betty and I had flown to Atlanta to do some shopping for me before I went off to college, as my "seasonal" wardrobe was limited, living in South Florida.  While at Saks Fifth Avenue in Phipps Plaza, I spotted a beautiful bottle of perfume and tried it.  Lovely!  Coriandre by Jean Couturier.  That became my scent for almost all four years!  (On and off I also wore Yves St. Laurent's Rive Gauche, which was one of Miss Betty's favorites.  Still wear it to this day, as it reminds me of her.  Her absolute favorite was Chanel No. 19.  One of her dear friends used to always give her Fracas by Jean Patou, a fragrance she couldn't wear, but which I loved.  Got all those hand-me-downs!)

After college, or perhaps in my senior year, for a brief while I wore Anais Anais by Cacharel.  I remember liking the smell and it didn't break my budget.

I soon progressed to something more grown-up and wore First by Van Cleef and Arpels.  (I wore this through most of my time at Tiffany & Co., which always seemed a bit disloyal. LOL)

I wore First past my time at Tiffany's as well....all through the mid/late 1980's and the first half of the 90's, and then experimented with several scents until I found the one that has become my signature scent.  That scent is 24 Faubourg, by Hermes.  I bought it just as it was launched, and absolutely fell in love with it.  It was around this time that my father became ill and passed away.  One of the very last things he said to me was, "You smell so good!" until the day they stop making it, it will be my favorite!  My daughters also like it when I wear it...."Mom, that smell is what we remember from when you and Daddy were getting ready to go to a party!"  It is definitely my evening perfume, and I also wear it during the day on "dressier" days.

These days, my go-to daytime scents are New York by Brooks Brothers and of course, my new bottle of Y.  Last spring/summer, I wore Lilly Pulitzer's summer scents, but this year, I have something new on my wish list.  Luckily, I have a birthday next week, so I am hoping that certain people in my family are reading this blog post!!  They are lucky, because this very special perfume is hard to find....and until recently, only came in a very large bottle.  Just found out last night that they now have a new 2.5 ounce size, perfect for traveling.....or, in my opinion, the perfect size to actually use up, before the rest of the bottle "turns!"  I tried some in New York last August, and loved it....I'll let you know what it is next Wednesday, if any of it appears!

No, on second thought, I think I will let my family surprise me next week.  (All I really want from them is just to keep things picked up and put away in their various areas of the house anyway!!) 

I think I will order this for myself!! has free shipping!!

Which are YOUR favorite scents?  Do they bring back happy memories??


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Think Pink" Tuesday

We haven't had a "Think Pink" Tuesday for awhile....and I really want to get out of winter mode and into spring!

I recently found this vintage postcard from the Arvilla Hotel and Tearoom in my hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.  The Arvilla no longer exists, and may have been gone before my time......but the pictures really appealed to me.  There is something about the simplicity and "Old Florida" of it that really makes me want to "be there".... siting at the cute tables with pink tablecloths, having tea with friends, or reading a newspaper or magazine in the Florida room, enjoying the ocean breezes through the jalousie windows.  The house I grew up in had jalousie windows in the sunroom/solarium (Miss Betty did not like the term "Florida room!" LOL).  The current owners removed them when they bought the house....but every time I see a beach house with jalousie windows, it brings back such great memories of times gone by!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Miss Betty Monday: The Preppy Child

Going through some more photos....This is circa 1926 or 1927....and it never ceases to amaze me how little the look of least "preppy" children.....changes through the years.

I wrote about this dress and its journey through the ages last year.  To read more, or see the pictures of several generations wearing it, just click here and scroll to the bottom of the post.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Family Friday: One Woman, Three Centuries

I am not sure if my grandmother would have considered herself "preppy" or not.  Probably not.  She was, however, as "classic" as they come.

A tweet by Hopsy, at asked if there was anyone still living who was born before 1900, and, therefore, having lived in three centuries.  I believe there are one or two left.....but I have my own precious three century woman whom I wanted to tell you about today, my grandmother Elizabeth Ragsdale Isbell.

She was born April 19, 1899, on a plantation not far from Columbia, SC. The baby picture I have of her was taken when she was 2 1/2 years old....and it's one of my faves!

Little Elizabeth really liked having her picture taken, and although she was too young to be in school, she informed me in her later years that she begged to be taken to the little schoolhouse with her sister and brother, to be included.  She is the little blonde tyke on the right.  Her brother, Edward, is in the middle (holding an apple), and her older sister, Helen, is lying on her side.

Her family was surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins in Winnsboro, Columbia and the surrounding area, and she always told the funniest stories about living on the plantation, riding around in her little pony cart and causing all kinds of mischief.   She was the baby of the family of six children, and when she was 8 years old, her father moved the family to Greenville.  It was there she went to a woman's prep school and college, and there that she met my grandfather.

The house they moved into in 1907, is the house she returned to as a widow in the 1980's and where she died in April of 2000, just a couple of weeks short of her 101st birthday.

 With Older Daughter (her namesake) circa 1994

The year before she died, at age 100, she and her eldest daughter, "Miss Betty," were participants in the big House and Garden tour.  The garden had aged out, so a few years before, they had it redone, modeling their design on the garden of a friend/acquaintance of theirs from Charleston, the famous Miss Whaley.  I wrote about this tour earlier on The Classic Preppy, and you may click here to read the article. (Double click the newspaper photo to enlarge and read.)

In the last couple of years of my grandmother's life, she had some mini-strokes and slowed down quite a bit....but....she drove until she was 98, had lots of friends of all ages, and loved the Lord.  She had a great all three centuries!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tiffany & Co. Thursday: The Story

One of my favorite TCO books is the classic The Tiffany Touch.  The PR presentation I used to do when I worked for Tiffany's was a lecture/slide show based on this book, and it fascinated people to learn all about the Tiffany story.  Many thought that Louis Comfort Tiffany's glassworks had once been part of the store (not!) and all were surprised to read about the merchandise that TCO sold in its early days!

The book came out in hardback and then paperback and I am so happy to see that it is widely available through and other used book sellers.....for a good price, too!

I highly recommend it......It is the definitive "story" of the birth and growth of TCO.  It will give you great ideas for a New York City treasure hunt, too.  TCO did not start out at 57th and 5th.  Get the book and find out where it did start.....then head on downtown!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WASP-y 'Black Tie' play doesn't have much sting -

WASP-y 'Black Tie' play doesn't have much sting -

I was sorry to read this review today.....the actors in this play are noted for their body of work. Oh well.....I don't always agree with reviews!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Traditions: More Black and White

 Yours truly, 1987

 Older Daughter, Senior Portrait, 2009

 Precious Niece, Senior Portrait, 2007

Other Precious Niece, Senior Portrait, 2008

The wonderful thing about digital photography is that it only takes seconds to turn a color picture into a black and white masterpiece.  Love, love, LOVE my scanner!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Miss Betty Monday: The Elegance Of Black And White

I love going through old family photos!  It will probably take me several months (years!), but I have been sorting and organizing and hoping to get them all in albums this year.  There are several "Miss Betty favorites" that I will share in the upcoming weeks.....but the picture below is one of the best:

I also love this picture of my mother-in-law from around the same time (early 1940's).  She was an opera singer in New York and had all kinds of great photos from that time.

The tradition has continued in our family...graduation portraits, engagement photos,  etc.....all in black and white, and so elegant.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

I really don't know much about football.  If I go to a game, I pretty much stand up and cheer when everyone else on my side does....and just hope for the best!  In middle school, I pulled for the Miami Dolphins, because they were from my neck of the woods. Pre-Dolphins, however, the Green Bay Packers were highly regarded by the boys in my elementary school, so they were my favorite team, too.  I trusted the boys to know what they were talking about!  As I am sure many of you know, this is not the Packers first trip to the Super Bowl.  Here's a great shot from Sports Illustrated from their 1968 Super Bowl win against the Oakland Raiders....

Just going through some photos and found this class shot from my 3rd grade class. Our incredible teacher, Marilyn Illsley, thought up an academic game which we scored like the Super Bowl game. As you can see from the chalkboard close-up, the Packers held a strong lead in our classroom as well!

Since I don't know any more about football today than I did in 3rd grade, I think I will be a Packers fan again tomorrow.  Half of Dear Husband's family is from Pittsburgh, so I am guessing that is where his allegiance will be.  Either way, it's sure to be a great game!!

By the way......Next time you are on Facebook, have a little fun and look up some of your former teachers.  I am friends with many of mine.....They are still inspirational....and a lot of fun! (The picture below is of me and three of my all time favorite teachers from a reunion in 2003.....from left to right, Marilyn Illsley (3rd grade), Joan Rullman (1st grade) and Norma Riggs (5th grade).