— Essentials —


pin it

Happy April sweet friends. This week San Antonio experienced near totality during Tuesday’s eclipse, while the next night we had 70-mile-an-hour winds and a hard rain. Since my girl Annie is scared of storms, we rode it out on a blanket in my closet and listened to one of my Favorite Things for this month.

A Kindle book and audio version from one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed.


Cheryl Strayed is the bestselling author of the memoir, Wild (which became the Academy-Award-nominated film of the same name, starring Reese Witherspoon), and the book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice from Dear Sugar, which is also the basis for an Emmy Award-nominated original Hulu series. If you haven’t read either, I highly recommend them, but it’s her newest book I’ve included in this month’s Favorite Things. 


Strayed’s Two Women Walk into a Bar is a short memoir about her late mother-in-law, Joan. As Strayed and her husband help Joan through her final days, Cheryl reflects on their complicated relationship while she seeks a way to accept their differences and find peace in their goodbye. It’s a mother-in-law story many of us can relate to, and it’s made even more meaningful because Cheryl is the narrator of the audio version. 

Right now, Two Women Walk into a Bar is only $0.99 for the Kindle version, and it’s free if you have an Amazon Prime membership. As you’re checking out online, you’ll be directed how to get both the print version and Cheryl’s audio version. While Annie and I hunkered down in the closet, I read along silently as we listened to Cheryl’s voice. I love her writing, and I didn’t want the book to end.



Another book you may enjoy is Lyn Slater’s memoir, How to be OldLessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon. If you’re not familiar with the 70-year-old Slater, she’s a former social worker and New York City professor who was more surprised than anyone when she became a cult-like figure on Instagram, known as the “Icon Accidental,” for her avant-garde fashion sense. 


One of the reasons for Slater’s popularity was the contrast between her wrinkles and silver hair—which she never tried to hide—and the cool outfits most 18-year-olds couldn’t pull off. I find it interesting that since writing How to be Old, Lyn Slater has dropped all pretense of being a cutting-edge fashionista and prefers overalls with suspenders and living outside of the city with her longtime boyfriend.

Lyn offers readers a hopeful look at reinvention, and she reminds us that the only thing we can control about getting older is how we think about aging and our response to the changes.


Ripley is the new eight-part Netflix thriller shot in moody and meticulous layers of black and white. It’s a film noir lover’s dream. If the name, Ripley, sounds familiar, you may remember it from the 1999 film, The Talented Mr. Ripley, which starred Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow. While both are based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 crime novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley the Netflix series stars actor Andrew Scott from Fleabag and Dakota Fanning and it shows us more sides of “Tom Ripley the Psychopath” than we saw in the 1999 film.

If you think luxurious locations like Rome and Venice should be seen in color, think again, because this black-and-white interpretation by cinematographer, Robert Elswit, elevates the texture of everything from a pair of leather club chairs to a Caravaggio painting in a Roman cathedral and makes them sparkle like jewels. There are plenty of heartstopping moments when, surprisingly, I found myself talking to the television, warning the deranged Tom about his “loose ends.” Then there’s the ending that left me sitting on the sofa slack-jawed. 

I didn’t see that one coming, and I loved it.

If you’re a film buff like me, you’ll be interested to know there’s also a 1960 film called Purple Noon that’s based on the same novel. Purple Noon was the movie that made French actor, Alain Delon, a sex symbol and a star. Since its debut, the film has gained a loyal cult following which includes director Martin Scorsese. 

By the time you read this, I will have seen Purple Noon on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). I understand this original version of Patricia Highsmith’s crime thriller has a different ending than the two later adaptations (which are also different from one another), so I’m excited to see it… and Alain Delon. 

I may have told you I’m a devotee of TCM and every morning while I’m having breakfast, I scroll through the films they’re showing that day and record the ones I want to watch.



One of my favorite eyeshadows is Thrive Cosmetic’s Eyestick in the color, Muna. Muna is a soft mauve/taupe (this link may say it’s silver, but it’s not) with just the right amount of shimmer. By shimmer I mean it’s not gaudy bright with flakes of glitter. This is not a disco shadow but one that when applied to the eyelid will open and brighten your eyes and it looks great with all eye colors. It’s become a favorite among women on Instagram, so it’s often out of stock, but keep trying. 



The “Floppy Fish” is an interactive rechargeable toy for your dog. As it flops back and forth on the floor, and in Annie’s mouth, it looks so real it kind of gives me the creeps. Our routine is for me to turn on the power switch, and throw it, and then cheer when Annie catches it and carries it from room to room. It’s hilarious and worth the price. There are cheaper “moving fish” on Amazon, but they don’t look like they operate the same way, so I’m recommending this one. The outer covering is washable cotton, and the power supply and battery charger are hidden inside.


If you find the idea of an interactive toy for your dog appealing, you might also take a look at the “Hide N’ Slide Dog Puzzle.” I hope the designer of this toy makes a flipping fortune because I think it’s ingenious. You slide each of the little covers away, hide a few crunchies in the area below, then close the covers and let your dog figure out how to find the treats.

Both toys are Annie-approved, and they’re great alternatives for those rainy days when your dog wants to go outside and get wet and muddy.

Thanks for reading this month’s Brenda Coffee’s Favorite Things. What are some of your favorite things?

Love, Brenda


  • Reply Barbara Bergin April 13, 2024 at 8:23 am

    You must have been in the closest a long time! Hope your knees are okay. I’m getting that dog feeder…in the cat model! I’ve spent a small fortune on feeders and toys, but nothing is too much for our pets…including a scary afternoon in the closet.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:23 pm

      LOL! I always love your humor, Barbara. Let me know how Spicy Cat loves her new toy! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Poyeema April 13, 2024 at 8:34 am

    Greatest testimony: ………and the psychopath died.

    Did not know they existed. Thought merely made up vehicle for movie drama.

    As a widow, went to Strong’s Concordance. Great advice, provide hospitality. An introvert, didn’t know how to begin. Discovered I didn’t have to do a thing. Women divorcing psychopaths, locally, reached out to me. The grapevine activated my story.

    The women I’ve hosted for many nights in my home, have been a BLAST !!! Majority of our time together is pure loud laughter. Talk about the evil one? Hardly. It’s the moving on. Regaining personal core of JOY.

    And, it’s the sharing of ‘KNOWING’. Being seen. Understanding. Oh my the hugs shared. And the joy of their quick desperate phone calls when they are in a weak moment. Righting their ship, helping them thru another day of desperate hard healing.

    None of this for the faint of heart. Major theft, physical attacks, slander/defamation, more.

    How to fight this evil? Trust Romans 8:28, and giving thanks to God.

    Agnostic friends are speechless about my full testimony. And, they saw it in real time. One of the women staying at my home often, is an agnostic. I love her no less, and am thankful of her friendship. She brings much to my life, as do all the women I’ve been able to provide hospitality.

    “What is a good scripture to say thank you?
    Discover the best thankful Bible verses in this collection of scriptures:
    1 Chronicles 16:34. 34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. …
    Ephesians 2:8. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— …
    Psalms 106:1. …
    Hebrews 12:28-29.
    30 Best Thankful Bible Verses – Gratitude Scripture Quotes, biblestudytools.com
    https://www.biblestudytools.com › topical-verses › thank…”

    Odd how the worst era of your life, can bring the best era into your life.

    Looking forward to your BOOK Brenda !!!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:29 pm

      Poyeema, Unfortunately, the psychopaths often keep going and do great harm to others and themselves. I know this from firsthand experience. You’re a love and a Godsend for hosting these women in your home, and it sounds like you got a lot out of it as well. It takes time to move on after we lose a spouse, regardless of whether they were heaven-sent or a wacko, and if we continue to work on ourselves, we emerge stronger and hopefully better than before. Thanks for being my book cheerleader! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Audrey Klein April 13, 2024 at 9:53 am

    Turner Classic Movies is my husband’s favorite channel. We’re like you, always checking to see if there’s something we want to watch. Love the older movies better than a lot of the new ones. I have trouble getting into a lot of them. Would rather read a book, so thanks for the suggestions. Hope you and Annie have a great weekend Brenda!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for reading, Audrey, and leaving me a comment. I appreciate you so much! All is well here, and Annie is her usual pistol self. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Sue Martine April 13, 2024 at 11:53 am

    I’ve been looking for an eyeshadow color like the one you featured. So many of them aren’t glittery but they’re too sparkly if you know what I mean. How does this look on your lids? Thanks for all your great posts Brenda

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Sue, That was my problem with most “metallic or glittery” eyeshadows, but this one is very subtle. Sometimes I cover the entire lid, other times I just run a 1/4-inch line at the top of my eyelashes. Depending on the base shadow I use, it creates more depth to the color. It’s really pretty. Just experiment and see what works best for you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Gretchen April 13, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    When I was younger I thought Alain Delon was it! Now I still think he’s good-looking, but too pretty for me. I’d rather have a man that has some miles on him. Most men get better looking as they age and I find that attractive.

    • Reply BB April 17, 2024 at 9:19 am

      Oh Gretchen… how I wish men thought the same way about aging women as you and most women think about aging men.

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:54 pm

        I second that, BB! xoxox, Brenda

        • Reply BB April 17, 2024 at 3:48 pm

          Sex and the city— S2:E8

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:53 pm

      Yes, Gretchen! You took the words right out of my mouth! I love chiseled features on a man and while the pretty ones are pretty, they don’t intrigue me as much as a man that’s not so visually perfect. For the most part, men get better looking as they age. I don’t mind thinning hair, but I’m not attracted to men with a gut. That’s a sign they don’t care or take care of themselves physically. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply La Contessa April 13, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    Yes,I’ve seen that eyeshadow on the gram and it speaks to me too!Have you tried it on your LIPS?Do it and send me a photo!
    Do you know Scorsese is the Uncle of Nicholas Cage?
    What a Mom!!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Elizabeth, I just tried the shadow on my lips before I answered you. I put it on one bare lip and one that had lipstick. Not crazy about either, but hooray if it looks good on you. You’re so creative. That’s the kind of brilliant thing you would think to do. Awe… Yes. I’d do anything for Annie! Thank you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Sandra Sallin April 13, 2024 at 7:22 pm

    Well, what fun. I must get the books, eye shadow, and the flipping fish for grand dog. Lots of great favorites. Keep um coming

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 1:04 pm

      You’re a sweetheart Miss Sandy! Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Kathy Howell April 14, 2024 at 2:30 pm

    Hello, Brenda! I love your suggestions–I had forgotten about Cheryl Strayed and plan to get her new book on my Kindle. I love reading and could read all day if I allowed myself to do so. Your cream stick eye shadow recommendation came at the perfect time. I still use powder which never works too well and is messy. I’ve said to myself that maybe cream would work but hated the thought of buying one more makeup item that isn’t great. Being the frugal person that I am I make myself use whatever I buy–I can’t just throw it away!! I’m trying this one. (But I do still have a 5 year supply of powder.) On a different subject, I pulled the trigger and bought the Stones tickets. I talked myself into it. It seems like Ticketmaster gets worse and worse–the service fee was $136 each ticket!! It makes me fume! Well, I have to go to a meeting at my church so must close but just wanted to drop in.–Kathy

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 1:09 pm

      Kathy!!! You did it! I’m so glad. Please let me know how you liked the Stones. I’m trying not to second-guess myself about buying tickets to what will probably be their last tour, but my money is allocated for other things. Lucky you!!! BTW, while technically the eyeshadow stick I referred to is a cream base, it behaves more like a powder. I bought a cream eyeshadow in a pot and never really mastered it, so I won’t buy one of those again. xoxox, Brenda

      • Reply Kathy Howell May 1, 2024 at 1:51 pm

        Hello, again! just had to jump in here to update you re: the Stones. My girlfriend and I are going and didn’t want to spring for a pricey hotel when the venue is just one hour from my home. We also didn’t relish the thought of driving home late at night on the interstate. I was mulling this over when my husband said “Why don’t I drop you off, go see a movie or something then pick you up? YES! I’ve decided this qualifies him for husband of the year!! This will be my fifth time seeing them which is nothing compared to your record. But then my girlfriend and I were Leon Russell groupies (since the 70’s) and I was unaware of the fabulousness of Keith Richards until I read something you wrote somewhere in a blog post. That sent me down a rabbit hole! Anyway, waiting for the book!! Will you do a book tour?

  • Reply Linda Johnston April 15, 2024 at 9:49 am

    Glad to see your Thrive ‘review’. Also the idea of TMC. Not sure if we have it. Have a good day!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 1:11 pm

      Hi Linda, Surely you have Turner Classic Movies! Do check it out. Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment!! I appreciate you. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Belinda April 15, 2024 at 7:59 pm

    I love TCM too, it’s my favorite. I’ll watch just about anything starring Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Jean Harlow, Mae West, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable or John Barrymore… I love Thrive Cosmetics, especially their Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara – it’s the BEST and I’m the self-appointed Mascara Queen so I know! I also read the Memoir by Cheryl Strayed about her relationship with her MIL and enjoyed it and didn’t want it to end. My Cat is Cowboy Jack, and he’s my “Annie” so I totally understand the closet time. Much love to you, I’m headed out now to read about the Ageless Gal – can’t wait!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace April 17, 2024 at 1:18 pm

      Hi Belinda! Another TCM fan! I wasn’t a Bette Davis admirer until a couple of years ago, thanks to TCM. Have you seen her in The Letter and Now Voyager? I can watch both of those over and over again, plus I adore all the black and white film noirs. So good. Then there’s Gene Tierney in Laura and Leave Her to Heaven. I better stop now, or I’ll be listing films all afternoon. Love to you as well, Brenda

  • Reply Linda L Floyd April 22, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m sitting here going through the TCM lineup for the day and recording my favorites, as I always do, wearing my Thrive Muna Eyestick shadow! I love it and wear so many of those great Eyestick colors. They are so easy to use, and make you feel just a little bit fresher and not so “Plain Jane” on your lazy, comfy days! You can rub the stronger colors way down, even the rubbed way down Blue makes a simple little statement when wearing a simple tank top!
    And did I love, love Ripley! 1st episode was a little slow, but so glad I stuck it out! You and I are on the same page with this blog!
    Thanks as always for your insights…waiting for your book!

    • Reply Brenda Coffee April 22, 2024 at 2:25 pm

      You’re right, Linda! We like so many of the same things. Right now I’m wearing the color, Muna, in the eyestick over a smudged thin brown line above my eyelashes. It adds just the right amount of something you can’t put your finger on. Thanks for the insight into the Blue. I’ll take a look. Blue’s a big color right now for eyeshadows and it would probably enhance my blue eyes. Hope you’re having a great great day. I’m having trouble with the program I use to post my blogs, and it seems to be a mystery to everyone who looks at it. Just know if you don’t get a blog from me this week–actually I was planning two blogs–it’s because we haven’t solved the problem yet. xoxox, Brenda

    Leave a Reply

    You Might Also Like


    Sign up to our list and we’ll send you our sought-after guide “45 Ways To Change Your Life”
    I'm happy you've joined us! If you like what you read, I'd love for you to stay and subscribe to our updates by email. We have a great community of like-minded women, and your presence can only make it stronger.