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Brenda’s Blog

— Style —

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For the last three weeks, I’ve been on a relentless hunt for a foundation that matches my skin tone and a concealer that doesn’t make me look like I have white circles under my eyes, but so far, no luck. This morning I applied my latest purchase… Could you hear my screams from where you are? I’m frustrated because I’m partly to blame for what’s become a long, futile makeup odyssey. 

I shouldn’t be surprised because I’ve violated all of my longstanding rules of thumb about buying makeup.

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— Life —

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Six of the eight places on my April in Tuscany, an “Invitation to the Rest of Your Life” trip are sold, and I can’t wait to meet the women who are coming with me. They’re from all over the US and Canada: big cities and small towns, East Coast, West Coast, and the last house at the end of a country road. I’ve wanted to get to know all of you and spend time together, and now it’s happening, but this isn’t just any old trip to Italy.

This trip has the power to change your life.

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— Life —

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With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the world has lost one of the few remaining members of the “Greatest Generation,” as journalist Tom Brokaw called them. People who were born between 1900 through the 1920s, who lived through the Great Depression, and many who fought during World War II. They were a generation that understood sacrifice and honor; their word was their bond, and they were as interested in the wellbeing of others as much, and sometimes more than their own. 

Queen Elizabeth II was a member of this generation, and she had a big hand in shaping our world.

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— Essentials —

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This coming April 21st – April 28th, 2023, I’ve planned a special trip to Tuscany, and I hope you’ll come with me. This adventure will be more than a shopping, sightseeing, and supping trip, although yes, we will laugh and shop and eat, but we’ll also make new friends with women who will grow to feel like sisters. More importantly, we will inspire one another to discover the woman we want to become. This is my invitation for you to come with me. 

An invitation to the Rest of Your Life.

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— Life —

Photo ©Brenda Coffee, 2022.
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There are a lot of things in life we need to be afraid of, but our pharmacy shouldn’t be one of them. Last week I picked up a prescription for a heart medication. Later, at home, I reached for a glass of water and paused a few seconds before swallowing it.

And in that moment, I realized the capsule in my hand was not my usual medication.

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— Life —

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Have you ever bought a piece of clothing you knew was all wrong for you? I did that recently, and I don’t know what I was thinking other than the dress reminded me of another time and place. Before my life plunged off the rails, and my first husband became someone I didn’t know. My recent purchase was a full-length, burgundy sequin dress with a cowl neckline. 

It reminded me of a bronze, sequined, spaghetti strap dress with a cowl neckline I wore in my 20s.

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— Life —

OUR VILLA
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This week’s post is a mixture of things I thought you might enjoy, including a fun summer dress; an easy dessert recipe; and an update about the FABULOUS TRIP FOR WOMEN OVER 50 I’ve invited you to take with me this coming spring.

And because I’m a breast cancer thriver/survivor, I want to share a few words about Olivia Newton-John, the amazing woman so many of us admired.

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— Style —

Harry King in the 70's.
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Harry King freed women from permanent wave solutions, sleeping on orange juice cans, big bonnet hairdryers and the need to have every hair shellacked into place. He’s a hairstyling legend, and we owe him our gratitude. Even if you don’t know Harry, one look and you’ll notice the mischievous twinkle in his eye and his feisty nature, and if you think he has a love for life and is a great friend, you’d be right. With five decades of stories about almost anyone you can think of—even Monica Lewinsky—Harry knows how to keep a confidence.

“Hairdressers are psychologists. If you don’t see a therapist, you see your hairdresser. Hair is secondary.”

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— Life —

Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen
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Not long ago I watched the 1985 film, Out of Africa, and found myself crying in the exact same place I cried the last time I watched it. I didn’t cry after Karen Blixen’s lover, Denys Finch Hatton, was killed, or when she says goodbye to her longtime Somali headman, Farah, before she boards the train for Denmark and leaves her beloved farm and Africa forever. I cried when the all-male members of the exclusive Muthaiga Club ask to “stand with Karen for a drink.“ It was the only way the aristocratic, British Colonial men of 1931 knew of expressing their admiration for her strength and resolve of character. The very qualities she’d been forced to develop when the same men had turned a deaf ear to her requests for help. 

I cry each time I watch this part of Out of Africa because it reminds me of how few men have helped me along the way or acknowledged my strengths, and I believe the majority of women can say the same thing.

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— Relationships —

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Did you know there are women who will try and steal your husband while you’re fighting breast cancer, struggling with surgeries and chemo, and working to maintain some semblance of normalcy? Before two of these women lunged for my husband, it never occurred to me I knew anyone like this: women with no moral code or concept of self-worth. Who does that sort of thing? 

A woman at my church and another woman I called a friend.

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