Lesson #9: The World Will Teach You What You Need to Know

Dear readers,

You may have noticed that I promised to deliver “30 before 30” — or the 30 lessons I learned in these first three decades — only to fall short and disappear. Well, here you go. Lesson number 9: the world is vast and mysterious and teaches you exactly what you need to know, when you need to know it.

You’re thinking, “Jenn, what the hell does that mean?!”

I set up this huge, reflective goal about how I’ve grown only to have a train wreck of a holiday season. The past few weeks have simply been hard. Without too much detail: in a variety of ways, I’ve been told just how much I’ve fallen short as a person this past year; my closest, best, favorite work colleague and friend retired; I’m looking at stepping into a promotion that is scary and big; my whole body is rallying against my happiness by reacting to aforementioned with stress-sleep and knots in places I didn’t think could knot. Every single ounce of me was tired and sad and disappointed. (You know, the things you don’t put on the internets.)

But, also, this. A woman pulled me aside at the theatre today and said that I was “one of the most beautiful young ladies she’s seen in a long time,” that it was both my features and my “warm affect.”

Essentially: when life has you crying on your couch at midnight in fleece-lined tights from disappointment in yourself and pain, it also hands you gems that make you start to make you whole again too.

It ebbs and it flows.

Love,

jenn.

 

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Winter (White) Solstice

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Sweater: TJ Maxx

Cords: LOFT

Boots: Naturalizer

Scarf: Fabric from Joann Fabrics

Happy winter, northern-hemisphere-dwellers!

I bet some of you are thinking, “Hm, white pants? Risky move for a curvy lady. And in December to boot!” My thought: “Not if you do it right!”

A few things I’ve learned about donning white pants:

  1. Wear nude colored undergarments. Don’t think those bright cobalt undies can’t been seen, ladies! And certainly don’t go commando! (I had a friend who realized on vacation in Hawaii that there was still a, erm, “shadow effect” when she went sans underwear under white linen pants.) Invest in some nude undies if you haven’t already and make sure you triple check that there’s no color showing through in a full-length mirror. (Romantic partners get distracted, I find, so don’t ask them to help you check!)
  2. If you’re concerned about looking “bigger,” create balance in your outfit. I think white pants really pop and make a statement, so I paired them with a big, boldly printed scarf and some knee-high boots. Not only do the boots reduce how much white shows (so a third of my body, as opposed to half), they also provide their own statement. But, also…
  3. Go for a lighter palette overall. “Winter whites” are a thing for a reason; the long line created by wearing a monochromatic outfit is visually pleasing. Wearing white pants with a black/dark top is a harsh color conflict and breaks the body in half; suddenly your torso is reduced in appearance and your hips/thighs are blown up. While you don’t have to wear all white, sticking with lighter colors keeps the different regions of your body in size-relation to itself.
  4. Expect to get them dirty all day long and be careful. The only reason why I wouldn’t wear white pants is because they’re so unforgiving when it comes to staining throughout the day. While looking at photos from this series, I noticed a blue spot on my hip. (I obviously didn’t choose that one for the blog.) Who knows where it came from, but that wouldn’t have been as egregious if I’d been wearing jeans or dark slacks.
  5. Last but not least: just do it. You don’t have to be a size 2 to look good wearing white pants. If you feel good in them, then screw convention. You do you.

Unending Autumn

Talk about global warming!?

I live in New England — there’s supposed to be snow and sleet everywhere by now — but we’re in the middle of December and, until recently, it has been GORGEOUS outside! As in, flats and mid-weight jacket gorgeous!

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Jeans: LOFT Outlet (on sale nonetheless!)

Tee: Loft

Sweater: H&M

Shoes: TOMS

(This is really a weird source of neurosis: it’s so beautiful outside in New England that I’m actually weirded out by how true global warming must be for this to be our new reality. But I save those rants for B. You’re welcome.)

This has been one of my favorite outfits this fall/winter. I just love the rusty orange jeans ( that I scored for $20!) against a black, lacy top and neutral cardigan and flats. For tail-end-of-autumn, it looks seasonally appropriate without being, like, a loud jack-o-lantern sweater. (No offense, jack-o-lantern sweater lovers. I just can’t handle that.)

Lesson #8: “Adulting” is Hard Sometimes, But…

Adulting: (slang; verb) to be responsible for all the obligations that a typical “grown-up” would have in life (ie, a typical 9-to-5 job, mortgage payments, car finances, etc.)

I’ll admit it: I cry quite a bit when I’m overwhelmed. I’ve cried at every one of my full-time jobs since I’ve graduated college. I’ve cried about getting into blow-out fights with my family as I’ve asserted my independence. I’ve cried about money. I’ve cried about buying a house and all the crazy responsibility that meant. Being a “grown-up” isn’t always fun.

But.

But.

I wouldn’t want to go back to any other time in my life. I love walking into my house and knowing it belongs to B and me. I love driving around in the early spring, music blaring and windows down for the first time that season. I love finishing a huge project at work and knowing I’ve accomplished something major. I love touring little kids through the museum and they think I know everything.

Life is tough. There’s no working around that fact. But the way to offset it is to find other facets that you can appreciate on a daily basis. Simple as that. Achieve a balance between the overwhelming and the pleasurable and you’ll pull through.

(Also, lesson #8.5: “real adults” have no idea what they’re doing. We all fumble through this existence. Cut yourself some slack.)

Christmas Carol Style

The theatre that I work at produces an annual production of Charles Dickins’ A Christmas Carol. They do a great job of switching up casting, costumes, sets, and overall vision from year to year, so it’s always fun to see a new rendition.

As show we attended was on a weeknight and I was exhausted, I decided to play up the cozy and cute part of fall and winter with a cranberry sweater dress, big fuzzy scarf and comfy boots. It was a no fuss get-up, which was the most appealing part of going out for yet-another-late-night.

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Dress: LOFT

Scarf: Target?

Boots: Naturalizer via Zappos

Glasses: ELLE

You don’t get to see my glasses a whole lot on here. I have to wear them for long distances (like driving or watching shows), but I tend not to have them on regularly especially when puttering around the house in the morning. They’re snazzy and distinct because of the red frames. (If you can’t tell: I really like color in my wardrobe.) With a red dress and red glasses, I had to wear red lipstick too!

The show was great fun this year! The actors did a lovely job making a holiday staple lively and punchy without feeling fake. And the actor who played Scrooge had the ebullience of a child after witnessing Christmases past, present and future.

The production put B and I into a glowing, festive spirit especially when we realized that this will be the first real holiday season in our new home. (We moved on December 21 last year; Christmas morning was spent sitting on boxes in our disorganized, couch-less living room.) I’ll also add that it was so much easier to sit and watch the performance this year, simply because neither of us felt anxious about packing and moving! I look back to this time last year and simply don’t know how we each worked 60+ hour work weeks, packed our apartment, and prepped for the holidays.

Oh! Lest I forget, my adorable date for the night!

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Look at that cutie! (That may or may not be a big kiss on his cheek!)

Yes, he’s wearing green pants. No, we didn’t coordinate our Christmas-y ensembles. We’re simply awesome that way.