Bette, The Beautiful Bright Red Car


Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind where you are shaving armpits over the sink, after you are dressed, because you catch a glimpse of your five o’clock shadow you got going on after you are already dressed in something sleeveless and ready to run out the door. Just keepin’ it classy. It was also the kind of morning where one of your kids tells you they need Christmas string lights and white pants for a school presentation at 1:00, that same day.  Shaving, scrubbing down grass and dirt stained baseball pants to substitute in for white pants, and spending a few extra minutes trying to figure out exactly what  was causing a distinct smell in the kitchen all caused me to be about 15 minutes late to my client. It didn’t help that I got caught behind a horse trailer and had to wait for a train to pass while wondering exactly who I need to strangle in order to have CVS stop auto calling our home phone every hour.

Being late is a snowball effect so I ended up being late for my appointment for my way overdue service on my car. I attempted to eat my lunch (the protein pack from Starbucks with the hard boiled eggs) in the car while driving on the way to the dealership but I forgot that I am a total slob. When I bit into the egg a rather large chunk of the yellow (yolk?) part fell down in between the console and the passenger seat. I obviously had to pull over and find it, which meant adjusting the seat while trying not to let the fallen egg piece get stuck in the tracks and create an even larger mess. My car already smells like I have a serious body odor problem because I usually have my son’s ice hockey bag in the back seat. The last thing I needed was to add in that good ole sulfur egg smell.

I had planned on waiting while they worked on the car as they had estimated it to be about 2 hours, and they told me they were out of loaner cars. I figured I would answer the 10,000 emails I haven’t answered and the texts from friends who probably hate me from not responding or are wondering if I fell off the face the earth. Again, being the day that it was, I forgot to mention when I made the appointment that there was a Blind Spot Inoperative message and a funny triangle on my side mirror that popped up about a month ago and hadn’t gone away. It was about that time that my service rep checking me in told me that if I waited it would probably be much more than 2 hours. My brain started to itch as I realized I had no idea what I would do since, like most nights during the Spring, both my husband and I needed to divide and conquer in order to be able to have our kids at 2 different sports at the same exact time.

How about a loaner car?

I was told when I scheduled that there were no loaner cars available, which I was not surprised by being that I was trying to get the car in before the end of the week. Car service reps take a lot of crap from a lot of cranky people all day everyday and I don’t know how they still smile and have patience. My wonderful rep said to take the loaner and bring it back tomorrow, actually opening up what was left of my afternoon instead of stranding me at the waiting room.

And then they pulled around my loaner car. It was bright red, like Revlon lipstick red. It was little, it was cute, it was a hatchback. It was something I never, ever, would have picked out. When the very sweet loaner rep pulled up to me I practically screamed. If you know me personally then you know that I have a hard time behaving as an adult or filtering my emotions.


I’ve never had a red car! I’ve never had a little car! It’s sooooooo cute! I’m so excited! I shall call her Bette, with an e on the end!

My poor, sweet loaner rep looked at me a bit bewildered and kind of scared. It was probably about then that she was trying to figure out if I even had the mental capacity to drive the car, or any car for that matter. But then she smiled really big and said she loved the name Bette for the car and that from now own she too would call this loaner car Bette. We both smiled huge and I swear when I got into that car my entire day turned around.

The sun came out bright and beautiful and I opened up the oversized sunroof. Yes, I have a sunroof on my own car but I of course I never open it and this one was just sooooo much cooler! I could not stop smiling. I didn’t even look at my phone once or call anyone. I just adjusted the ultra awesome seat (it has this thing that pulls out to support your knees!!! ) and enjoyed driving for once. Me and Better were cruising’. My daughter was supposed to ride the bus home (which you can imagine how much she loves!) because I was going to be stuck at the dealership but I decided to pick her up since now I was given the gift of time. I texted her to tell her I could pick her up and that she needed to look for a BRIGHT RED SHINY CAR!!!!!!  My daughter came out and looked slightly mortified, pretty typical for any 12 year old girl, but then she started to smile because I was still grinning like a freak. My happiness was contagious.


This gift of time meant that I could attend the afternoon session of my sons 5th grade Historical Wax Museum show, plus surprise him by bringing his sister. We would both get to check out these stupid still stained white pants in action! When I went into the school I spotted one of my new clients in an outfit I had put together for her from head to toe. She was smiling huge and said she got so many compliments. She looked great and I could tell she felt great. If I could have smiled larger I would have.

Since I was able to be at the afternoon show at the school I could also take my son home and he didn’t have to ride the bus. My daughter was even excited to show her brother Bette the car and of course they both got into a near fist fight beating each other up at the door while shoving and arguing over who was going to get to sit in the front seat. My daughter also said that I look big next to the car. Hey, my entire afternoon can’t be completely perfect so I was fine with letting them act like idiots and figure it out. We drove the car back to the house and the kids got out while I stayed in and talked to Bette and told her how much I loved her. I then had a mini photo sesh with her, even asking my daughter to come out and take photos of us together. It’s okay, my children know that I’m not really an adult yet so they are used to this kind of behavior.



Again, given this gift of time, I was now able to go to my sons semi-final playoff ice hockey game. I don’t know anything about sports but I do know that I absolutely love watching my son play ice hockey. It’s fast, it’s cold and it’s exciting. Bette had all kinds of cool gadgets where we could quickly plug my son’s phone into the console and immediately have his Spotify playlist up and running with his phone home screen appearing on Bette’s screen on the dash.  This was sooooo much better than our usual confusion over the blue tooth connection and which wires go where. We drove down with the sunroof open and both got to scream to Guns and Roses, Beastie Boys and Fall Out Boy. I proudly drove my shiny red car into the parking lot right up to my other hockey friends to show her off.

Look at her I said!!! This is Bette and she is beautiful!! Bette with an E!!!

I almost forgot to mention something that only the parent of an ice hockey player can appreciate. The back hatch was the exact perfect size for my son’s ice hockey bag. I mean like it was meant for it. In my other car we have to shove it in to get in into the trunk at the right angle, hence why it usually ends up in the back seat emitting an odor that is so bad you can almost taste it and gag.

The game was great and my son scored the first goal on the board. His team played wonderful and they won the game, securing their place in the championship game next week. Granted, this is only a simple 3 versus 3 rec league but it is always exciting to see the team do well and having fun. The games are played at the University of Delaware ice hockey rink in Newark, Delaware, which has a great main street for the college town, full of restaurants. We ended up meeting one of his teammates and his mom, whom I adore, to go out to eat. Parking is usually crazy on this street but Bette proudly parallel parked with ease. We had a great meal and a great relaxing drive home. I pulled Bette into the driveway and enjoyed staring at her out of my windows. She looked great in the driveway.

little dog on the left, little car on the right

The dealership has called and said my car is ready. I told Craig, my very patient service rep that I didn’t want it. Bette and I are in love and want to be together. He said, “you do realize that your car is nicer than this car?” That’s subjective I said. My car is gray sedan. I feel nothing about it. Every car I’ve ever had has been white, black, gray or silver. This obnoxiously bright car has thrown me for a loop. I never even liked sedans, all I ever wanted was a gargantuan SUV or some kind of truck. But this bright red little car spun my entire mood around. I should actually be at the dealership right now returning it but I am here typing.  I’m honestly afraid I will gray when I get back my own car.

My client for today texted me last night asking if she could reschedule. I actually felt relieved as it meant I would have some unexpected time. I love my job so much but I really love writing too. Social media is crazy and I don’t even know how many people will even get to see or read this, but if even one of you reading can relate to how imperfect and crazy our everyday lives are than I will be so happy. I like to “make the magic happen” so to speak for my clients by helping them look and feel put together. But I also get to be a part of the behind the scenes, so I get a chance to see that no matter how put together one area of our lives may seem there are always other parts that feel like they are falling apart. For instance, most woman I know hate unpacking as much as they hate packing. There is a good chance that pulled together executive you know still has her suitcase packed from her weekend away 3 weeks ago. And you know that super mom who has the beautiful house and the beautiful kids? She too, just like the rest of us, stands in front of the mirror and wonders why her clothes don’t fit like they used to. This is why if you ever see me looking put together I want you to know that I probably shaved under my arms over my sink that morning.

*Insider Tip – Try it. 

Sometimes it takes the unexpected to change our course. As I mentioned, I would have never ever picked out this car. I wouldn’t even have considered it because of the color. But thinking outside of my usual actually helped to give me an entirely different perspective. Driving this car felt like wearing a bright red dress. I felt like people looked at me different when I got out of the car and thought “Wow! She must be fun! ” A serious quiet person would not drive this car. I’m sure I am over-thinking this a bit because that’s what I do, but I’ve often thought that people’s personalities tend to fit their car, so it’s always fascinating to me to see what they drive. Much like a car can give an inference to strangers on our personality, so can our clothes.  How many assumptions can you make about someone simply based on how they are dressed? Whether we want to admit it or not, our brain very quickly takes in a person’s appearance and processes it to deliver an opinion. This is some powerful stuff. It means essentially we can control how others perceive us by how we are dressed. This is why what we wear to a job interview is so important, it’s why we dress up. But what about the every day?  When you look good people give you compliments which make you feel good. Now you feel good so you stand a little taller and you smile a little more. It’s a ripple effect of happiness and that’s awesome. Sometimes one item or accessory can cause the feel good effect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked out something for a client and they tell me it is something they never would have tried but they end up loving. And this isn’t me just throwing random items at them. I listen to them tell me about their life, their likes, their dislikes. But I get to see them fresh while I’m taking in all of these considerations and help them show a part of their personality they may have forgot or pushed aside. So try the unexpected. Be open to change and embrace it. And, when given a chance, drive a bright red car, even if it’s just for a day.

via Pinterest


Thanks so much for reading this extra, extra, extra long blog post. I needed to write it more than you know.



Published by suziegaffney

owner at Suzie Gaffney Styling

9 thoughts on “Bette, The Beautiful Bright Red Car

  1. Oh my gosh! I loooove this post. I looove how brutally honest you are at all times! Was it me that cancelled on you? LOL. You have no idea what a wonderful gift it was a week ago to have my overscheduled-becuase-I-think-I-am-Wonder-Woman-Super-Mom day opened up last week. It was such a joy – and I’m still on a bit of a high from having a day to myself to get my stuff done and not be responsive to everyone else’s needs. For once. OH WAIT! You TOTALLY know!!! I still look forward to you coming over to organize my life *again* once it slows down… Love you!

    1. Thanks so much Jenni!! Yes, the gift of time means so much! And when you are ready I will be there to get your closet in shape so that you have MORE time 🙂

  2. Thank you for a good laugh. You are the best!! have a great weekend

    On Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 11:30 AM, suzie gaffney styling wrote:

    > suziegaffney posted: ” Yesterday was one of those days. You know the kind > where you are shaving armpits over the sink, after you are dressed, because > you catch a glimpse of your five o’clock shadow you got going on after you > are already dressed in something sleeveless and rea” >

  3. Suzie – you are awesome! I loved reading this and I totally agree with you on all of it 🙂 I am DEFINITELY get a fun zippy car as a loaner next time. You should buy Bette – such a fun perspective. Cats should be fun and not just about how many kids and all their stuff we can fit into it! Thanks for making me smile and always feeling good when I get dressed using your expertise!

    1. Vicky – Thank YOU for always being so kind and supportive!! You are such a pleasure to be around and I love our time working together. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read the post.

  4. That was so much fun to read!!! Next time I’m in for a service, I’m going to request that Craig reserve Bette for me to drive!! Great post!!

  5. Omigod I laughed so hard reading this that my husband (across the room) finally went, “WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT??” This was awesome–I miss the writing I used to have time to do.
    (Also, I was like “Oh, she named the car AND told the rep? I thought this was in her head.” hahahahha)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: