you make me feel like a natural woman.

 About three months ago I was hanging out in San Francisco ~ favorite place ever, yes please.

We stayed at a gorgeous hotel that happened to be hosting a benefit soiree and while chilling in the lobby I was privileged to see some knock out women in their 50's 60's and 70's.

I scanned the room for the fashion I wanted to emulate as I age gracefully (but you know, with kicking and screaming somewhere down the road) and I landed on a woman (did that sound weird) who I could initially see only from behind.

She was wearing a gorgeous peachy~ish slinky kind of flared leg pant suit that was haltery with a plunging back.  I was instantly in awe.  She looked like she was from 1974... in the best possible way. I just had to get a closer look.  She turned around and it was then that I realized she was ten to fifteen years older than I had anticipated.  The curve of her back in her backless glory gave absolutely no clue.  She was elegantly older and quite fit or she had had her back fat sucked out.

I'm not judging - I'm admiring.

She looked perfectly put together, and aside from the possible back vacuuming (because honestly how else was she looking that fantastic?), I don't think she had work done.  She looked naturally  aged.  sophisticated. beautiful.

I think I developed a girl crush. She had managed to pull off the I'm seasoned and I'm beautiful look.  The look I want so badly to own... someday, you know when I get older.

I still don't feel old, but these are the things I'm stressing over.

Yep, I know that I'm old getting older and if I want to end up in that Coco Chanel class of woman, then I've got to stop buying torn jeans.  And tie dyed shirts. and flip flops. Don't get me wrong, I'm not throwing out the ones I've got but I'm definitely not buying any more.  I think.

I knew I should have taken a picture of her.  I had a feeling I would get the urge to blog about her and sure enough.  You have no way of knowing the full impact she made on me.

How did she do it?  Confidence.  She LOVED what she was wearing.  But also acceptance.  It was as though she had settled the issue that aging was happening and had embraced the gratefulness of that privilege... denied to many.

I also loved that her style was simple.  Besides her Charlie's Angels pantsuit, I think the only other style standout was her cute hair style.  Her stylish hair was short and naturally silver, it just made me more in love. I like it like that.  Slightly understated.  It helps to keep me from getting it too wrong. I've been coloring my hair since I was thirty but 4 years ago I stopped so I could see the real color.  I was hoping for that cool white that some people are blessed with. or that silver foxy look.   About 4 months and 3 inches of ashysaltandpeppery nondescript roots into the experiment, I got the "talk" from my sister accompanied by a cut throat signal. 

Also, she appeared to be right at home in her skin.  Plus she had no sagging back fat and really you cannot underestimate the appeal of that. It was mesmerizing.

She was confident and simply elegant but she was also happy.  She smiled and engaged passers by.  She seemed truly cheerful and it layered with her style and acted as an accessory.

I feel like here is where I'm supposed to say that a happy outlook is the best style accessory.  But I don't care how delighted you seem in your house dress, that's probably going to be a tough look to pull off.

I'm searching these days for older women who are still pulling it together in such a beautiful way.  It gives me hope.  I won't lie, I've been a bit nervous about the law of diminishing returns.  That's what I call it once you've reached the point where there's no mistaking you for someone's hot mom. 

Ms. San Francisco has renewed my hope.  It is possible to age with style and grace.  I'll buy something I look amazing in.  I'll wear it with confidence.  I'll smile and be engaging.

And if all that fails, I'll get my back fat sucked out.

just sayin'.

Shrimp Linguine Alfredo
Serves 6

1 pound peeled and de-veined shrimp, cooked
1 pound linguine or fettuccine
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic, smashed and left whole
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (use the good stuff)
salt and pepper to taste (I go heavy on the pepper and use Kosher salt)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
lemon zest for garnish (optional)

Before you begin, have the cooked shrimp ready to go and start making the Alfredo sauce just as you begin boiling the pasta (water should taste salty like the sea - use Kosher or sea salt).

In a very large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over med-hi heat (use unsalted butter because the cheese is very salty). Add the smashed garlic cloves and cook for a minute or two, until you the garlic has flavored the butter/oil well (your nose will know). It's okay to let the garlic brown a bit, but don't let it burn. Remove the garlic from the butter/oil. Add the heavy cream; heat until bubbly. Add the cheese; stir until melted and well incorporated. Lower the heat and simmer at a slow rolling boil until the pasta is ready. Just before adding the pasta, add the shrimp to the sauce and gently heat through; being careful not to over cook. Add the parsley, s&p, and optional lemon zest; stir. Add pasta and toss well; serve immediately.

Note - this dish will thicken quickly upon standing. Recipe doubles well. Leftovers can be reheated by adding a little milk and stirring slowly over med heat. Cooked chicken and/or other long pasta shapes can be substituted. Enjoy!!


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