I hit submit for a total of $250 and three new bras were on their way to me. Rather than my usual excitement over new lingerie, I started to panic. Newly single, living on just my income, I still wasn’t sure what my former spending habits would actually allow these days.
So I made a list of essentials, because I really don’t require much since my separation and subsequent move into a small apartment, and hoped for the best. I discovered that some things are simply non negotiable, regardless of the expense. These are the things that I’ve earned the right to have at age 61.
1. Bras must be first on the list.
My Nana, always first to notice boob overflow or droop, trained me well when she poked my chest and asked if I was wearing a good bra, so this is one area where I cannot scrimp. My 36D breasts require sturdy support and a little lace makes me feel really sexy. Wacoal seems to be my best fit as I enter my seventh decade so I buy many styles online and return what doesn’t work, which is better than having a 20-something who has never seen the likes of my boobage, do a bra fitting at Nordstroms. I am sure she would also agree. Here is my latest success story from Wacoal.
2. Good cheese comes next.
If I am going to eat cheese, which I most definitely will do, I cannot bear a congealed combination of salt and plastic from the supermarket. Nor the waste of fat and calories. However, $40 for the Sardinian Su Entu from the local cheese shop? I’ll take a quarter lb with a good Meiomi Pinot Noir, please. Now that I only need to cook for myself, sometimes a small piece of fine cheese, some crackers and a nice glass of wine is all I want for dinner. Preferably reclining with a blanket and a book.
3. I must have a facial at least one time per season, to rid my skin of past sins and to prep for future ones.
This is an extravagance for sure, and one that I missed during Covid. But now I am back and my skin is so happy that I am. Yesterday I had a tingling pumpkin exfoliating treatment along with the usual extractions. Still prone to teenage breakouts this little luxury keeps my pores clean and my skin glowing. And while I am there, I have begun to experiment with the bikini wax. While I will never subject myself to the Full Monty of bikini waxes, The Brazilian, I am beginning to understand some of its appeal, because I love the fresh, hygienic feeling down under.
4. I would find it tough to do without a new handbag and booties to help me with the difficult transition from summer to fall, when I finally stow my flip flops in the way, way back of the closet.
My Kurt Geiger mini crossbody handbag from Nordstrom Rack did the trick this year. I especially love the chain strap that can be worn short or long. For booties, I went for Marc Fisher black lugs with white stitching which are a little dressier than Doc Martens but still have a lot of hip and heft.
5. Moving on to drugs, my morning coffee acts like a motivational speaker with a diuretic as a side hustle.
This is why I buy Peets Major Dickasons coffee at 12.99 lb and replenish weekly. My heated Ember coffee mug serves as the vehicle for getting the coffee into me, but it is so much more than a mug. I was skeptical when my daughter presented me the “hottest” gift of the season because who needs another appliance, linked to an app on my phone no less? My morning coffee was already a simple and delightful ritual. However, this little contraption allows me to luxuriate a little bit longer, without ever needing to reheat in the microwave, because the mug keeps the coffee hot until I am done. Magic.
I stop at five items because I realize that the list could easily become a slippery slope.How could I possibly prioritize Lola’s expensive cat food against my pore and wrinkle minimizing foundation? Organic strawberries against gummies from the dispensary? Craft cocktails with friends versus HBO Max? I envisioned a complicated rank voting system weighing need, emotion and expense on an Excel spreadsheet and sighed. This felt like a lot of work for someone who hadn’t even created a budget.
So I went old school and began to itemize my purchases. I first applied for a new credit card which gives a hefty percentage back and charged everything on it: the bras, the gas, the groceries, the weed. Everything. It was a daunting task to categorize and sort through my spending but early reports are positive with a little to spare. Maybe I will buy a 4th bra.