Radio Silence

At the end of the theatre season in June, I promised myself that I would return to this blog, come back to exploring fashion and clothes in the everyday.

Then Orlando happened. Then Alton Sterling… Philando Castile… Dallas… Nice…

How do I make myself sit down and write about something as silly and vapid as clothing when this world is terrifying and unjust and cruel? By writing this blog, am I ignoring the larger conversations happening in the US or across the globe? Why bother to carry on with this when there’s so much more to focus on?

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. While she’s heavily involved in a lot of self-care practices (acupuncture, therapeutic massage, chiropractics), she’s recently started a yoga/mindful movement class and has been absorbing so much if the ideology taught by her teacher. Recently in a class, the teacher explained to her class that the best way to heal the world is to start with healing and caring for yourself. My friend mentioned that in passing and I’ve been dwelling on the thought since.

This blog isn’t a protest against the injustice from the world. And I don’t espouse my political thoughts openly and actively here. I don’t rage and scream and rally for something better in this venue. Why? It’s my refuge, my space to think about the frivolous for a while. While it’s bothered me that I would take time and effort to write here, this blog is a means of caring of myself, I guess.

I’m lucky that both my full-time museum-y position and my part-time theatre job allow me ample intellectual space to think about racial tensions in the US, religious conflict in the world, and the overall constant struggle of humanity throughout time. The expectations of my workplaces is that I’m knowledgeable about these themes and histories, have internal and external dialogs daily, and help educate others — children and adults alike. I’m honored to have these roles and responsibilities, but it’s admittedly exhausting to think non-stop about slavery, war, gender roles, gentrification, etc., without a respite. In the half hour it takes me to write a few paragraphs on skirts or lipsticks or shoes and throw in a few images, I get the mental down time to unwind, breathe and gather myself for the next article or book to read, conversation to have, or, simply, the next news story to pop up on my phone.

I’m hoping, friends, that I’ll make more regular appearances here going forward. But please understand if I don’t. And please understand why I’m not having discourse here on larger life issues: it’s not at all you, but entirely me.

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Whole30-ing

In my blogging absence (again), I did something super crazy: started Whole30. I feel like so much of the internet knows about Whole30 at this point, while everyone I would talk to in person just looked at me as if I had six noses.

In a sentence: Whole30 is a month-long elimination diet to cut out trigger foods. The key, flexible phrase in that description is “trigger foods,” which includes both allergens (dairy, grains, etc.) or an addictive substances (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, and sweeteners, especially refined white sugar). During the thirty days, you transition from withdrawal of your old diet to learning new methods to eat and care for yourself. After the 30 days is up, you reintroduce all of the eliminated foods slowly, deliberately to see which ones were affecting you poorly and in what ways (inflammation, break-outs, bloating, etc.) Pretty much, Whole30 is supposed be a major life overhaul. If you’re interested in reading about the diet much more in depth, feel free to check out the Whole30 site, as I’ve cover a mere fraction of what’s available.

I decided to do this crazy diet because, like so many people, I have a lousy relationship with food which can be summed up as: I only like to eat sugar. Really. In the past few months, I noticed how often I would resort to white sugar on any given day: a donut on my way to work, some cookies on the lunch table, a couple of sodas at the theatre during a shift, some ice cream when I got home — in one day! I’m not joking! My skin was horrible, my sleep restlessness, and my gut pained. So, like any over-analytical dolt, I decided to cut it all out to see what would happen, kind of making myself a science experiment.

Today is Day 27 and I’m feeling so much better! While I still crave a donut (damn you, lady problems), I’m finding that everything that was bothering me has subsided. My skin is better, my sleep is deeper, and I’ve eliminated all stomach issues. And, while weight check-ins are also verboten on Whole30, I’ve probably lost about 8-10 pounds. Not bad for four weeks.

 

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Dress: Stitch Fix from 2014

Cardigan: LOFT

Shoes: TOMS

Necklace: Modcloth

I wore this bright, festive get-up for a weird day — leading a training session in the morning and attending a cool networky event at night hosted by our favorite library. I love this dress, which I scored from Stitch Fix when SF still loved me, and thought it would carry me nicely between the two.

While probably a little more colorful than necessary for my training session in a historic house, this dress fit perfectly into the scope and scene of the evening event. Our fave library asked their Board President to host it at his wonderful loft. Southern New England has a great track record of taking former factories and repurposing them as living and working spaces. While every renovated space is unique and quirky, this dwelling was beyond belief: filled to capacity with wonderful artwork on top of the eclectic design elements, it took me all my might to not hide in a closet and plead for the owners to adopt me. And I wasn’t the only thinking — or saying — that. The abode had been featured in a local magazine a few years back:

Tripp: 1. I built this indoor pergola not long after we bought the loft in 2005. The columns came from a 19th-century house in Richmond, Virginia. They crossed the Mason-Dixon Line in a snowstorm, flagged and projecting four feet from the back of our station wagon. 2. This standing sculpture, an earthenware figure holding 109 graduated porcelain bowls, is Balancing Burden by the Chinese-American artist Eric Kao. Kao’s work explores his identity as the son of immigrants - a theme that particularly resonated with Ed, who emigrated from the Azores with his parents in 1966. 3. This is a former gas streetlamp from Savannah, Georgia. It was rescued by my ex-sister-in-law, a Savannah native who will probably want it back if she ever sees this. 4. Providence artist Kik Williams made Bubble Gum Pink for a Steel Yard show (the hot pink “glaze” is actually metallic auto-body paint). 5. Beyond Williams’ sculpture are works by other Providence artists: Gregory Poulin, Jungil Hong, Dan Wood, Andrew Raftery and C. W. Roelle. We’re lucky to have landed in a city that supports so many talented artists, and that’s preserved so much of its industrial architecture - without one, you’d never have had the other.

See? AWESOME.

While Whole30 was difficult to maintain during the night, as we had to skip a lot of picky things to eat, we managed just fine. Food I wouldn’t be able to resist was, oddly, just fine staying on the table while I chatted! What else was cool about this diet endeavor, though, was being forced to see the other ways I’m growing and changing. While networking stuff is anxiety-inducing for me, to like a panic attack level, it was nice to walk into this and feel moderately at ease. It also helps that there were some lovely folks to see again (hi, Julienne!).

I guess, the point of all of this: if there’s something scary and daunting and just beyond where you’re comfortable, either examining your relationship with food or trying to understand why something freaks you out to the point of tears — just face it, as debilitating as that may seem. You can do it cold turkey style, like Whole30, or in graduated steps, like anxiety, but in all of my experience, the journey is always rewarding.

Stitch Fix #13 Review: Breaking Up?

Hi, lovelies!

It’s spring! It’s SPRING! While it’s been a crazy few weeks for the weather in New England (ie, mid-70s in early March, but then 4 inches of snow on April 5th!), I think the warmer weather is here to stay.

With that in mind, I scheduled a Stitch Fix for early April and requested spring-y attire, specifically asking for and pinning a green dress, a white blazer and black lace skirt (for colder, tight-wearing days). Despite pulling images directly from SF’s Pinterest page that they’d just put up themselves, I received the items below. For the most part, they’re springy, warm weather pieces, but not what I wanted. Le sigh. 

Items 1, 2 and 3: Renee C Roseanne Faux Saude Swing Skirt ($64), Market & Spruce Lauderdale Knit Cardigan ($48), and Pixley Yelvert Lace Detail Blouse ($48)

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I liked all of the pieces, but none of them were right…

The blouse has a lace yolk AND buttons down the back (both features I love; no photos because, well, back fat), but was thin, scratchy and boxy. It pulled at my bust AND hips, but was way too loose at the waist. The only way I could wear it would be as shown — tucked in and covered up: lame.

The cardigan was all right: nice weight for spring, but I had just purchased a blazer in the same shade, so I couldn’t justify a sweater too.

And the skirt: this was the only thing I considered keeping. Because of the a-line faux suede, it was soft and flowy. Plus — look how tan my pale legs look against it! But it was $64 and I really couldn’t justify that for a skirt that was nice, but nice swoon-worthy.

All returned.

Item 4: Loveappella Celso Mesh Detail Knit Top ($54)

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“HA!” That was my first reaction when I pulled this out. I wanted spring, so I instead received a 90s-era black floral top? Curious.

The size was all right, as it had sufficient elasticity. And I realized as I was packing it up that the shoulder seams actually have mesh insets, which was supposed to be… edgy? I dunno. Inevitably, there was no way to sell me on this one. Returned.

Item 5: Skies are Blue Capaldi Surplice Cross Front Fitted Knit Top ($54)

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This hot mess. Oh. Boy.

The photo doesn’t truly show how this blouse had no idea what it meant to do. It was super fitted, but also had some rucheing to hide the chub that it highlighted? And the neckline twisted around for added drama, but then needed to be sewn down at the bust, which meant that pulled awkwardly. Pretty much, this was made for ladies who do not have breasts — which is so not me.

There are a number of photos of me pulling and tugging, but I really couldn’t put all of them on the internet. (I mean, I have a professional life to preserve, right?) And if I can’t put images of on the internet, how can I wear this to work? Returned. 

Final verdict: 0/5.

I’m debating if this is the last Stitch Fix I receive. While I’ve received some GREAT pieces over the past couple of years, I also have a number of things I’ve kept but don’t love so my $20 fee isn’t wasted. I’ve really taken to scouring TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack sites for pieces because I can generally find items that (1) I love (2) are in my size and (3) are on sale. While it’s not as exciting and takes A LOT more effort, I’m not as disappointed consistently, nor am I breaking the bank on stuff that I only like.

What do y’all think? Should I give up Stitch Fix one more shot? Are you breaking up with subscription boxes?

 

 

God Save the Queen

After my bout of bad luck a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to overcompensate by dressing like a professional human and prove that I could “adult” despite some bad days.

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Blazer: H&M

Blouse: Ann Taylor

Pants: Gap

Shoes: TOMS

Necklace: Old Navy

Watch: FOSSIL

The blazer is a new acquisition from H&M. While I don’t normally wear blazers because they’re so structured and grown-up and I don’t feel like myself in them, I couldn’t resist the spring pastel pink. It’s a nice weight — jersey outer, but still heavy enough for a slightly mild morning.

I paired it with a cream blouse from Ann Taylor, (despite not looking like it) grey colored dress pants from the Gap, and a pretty pearl-and-jewel necklace, all pieces I’ve had for years. I bought these items in an alternate life, when I worked my first real job after college and was trying to figure out who I am and how I dressed! They somehow have lasted 5+ years each!

There were a few moments that I felt like I was dressed just right, like having a a working lunch with a friend at a nice restaurant downtown where other professionals were in similar attire. But there were other times I felt out of place and more “serious” than needed, especially at the theatre. While I dress casually professional there, my job isn’t a blazer-and-slacks position, mainly because I sometimes get grossly sweaty or need to clean up after people. (Not in the job description when I was hired: cleaning up others’ bodily functions. No joke.)

Best moment of the day though: driving through a local college campus with the windows down, singing along at the top of my lungs to “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols. I definitely had a couple of double-looks as people were surprised to see me rocking out to ’70s punk music in a pink blazer.

Quick Survey

Happy April, friends!

With the warmer weather (hopefully!) comes some spring cleaning! Would y’all answer a quick question for me?

I’ve been looking at my closet full of clothes and really not feeling them. Maybe it’s springtime and I’m pining — or maybe it’s time to cut the pieces I’ve had for a while. Either way, I’d love to send them off to good homes and make a little extra too. If there’s some interest, I’ll definitely pursue it!

Thanks!