Grey Days

Ooph. Winter.

B took these photos of me probably a couple of weeks ago (I know, I know! I’m late!) and I’ve been meaning to put up a post but lost track of time. Then — snow. Ugh. Snow.

I wanted to write about how I’d been doing on my gym-going endeavor, including the fact that I ran three miles before these photos were taken at 10am! I wanted to share the trials of finding the right weight to lift. Or how I was starting to feel pulled together and healthy again. Or how I was trying out some new heels that day at work because I felt spunky. Then — snow. Ugh. Snow.

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Shirt: LOFT

Jeans: Gap

Shoes: TOMS

I look at these photos now — taken on a sunny, fairly mild January morning — and I think about how volatile my moods are in the winter. Once we hit late January/early February, with those first few substantial snowfalls and grey, murky days, and my mindset explodes. I always think of the first line of Tony Hoagland’s “Reasons to Survive November”: “November like a train wreck.” Except November is February, in this case.

I’ve spent the past week or so unable to truly focus — maybe enough to muster reading a couple of pages of a book or folding half my laundry — but I find things of substance so hard to deal with. Answering emails with thoughtful, timely responses? Debilitatingly difficult. Buying and sending birthday and Valentine’s Day cards? Probably not this year. Making a simple phone call to, say, the bank? Maybe I’ll feel better and less worn out tomorrow.

And sleep? Any days I’ve had off — hell, if I get home early enough from work — I spend upwards of 12 hours sleeping, only to wake up still headachy, tired and sore. And it’s not that I’ve slept too much and it’s a vicious cycle, it’s much more of a pseudo-hibernation state.

But I plow through. I take my vitamins and drink water. I let myself eat an extra cookie or cuddle next to B for an extra 9 minutes in the morning. From going through this for so many years before, I know this won’t last forever. It’ll be spring in eight weeks, then summer and I’ll feel like myself again.

(But still, despite the forced optimism, I really do hate this time of year.)

 

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Stitch Fix #11 Review: Birthday Edition

I’ve continually gone back and forth on Stitch Fix. My first few fixes were HORRIBLE! There was one fix in which the stylist (not Alessandra, mind you) pretty much said “here’s some stuff. enjoy…?” and sent me every single thing I mentioned I wanted to avoid. But then I’ve had some great finds, including a number of lovely dresses. Pretty much, once Alessandra stepped in, I’ve have moderate success.

When I requested my “birthday fix” in December, it was totally in the stressed-before-the-holidays spirit — usually when I’m apt to spend a lot of money on “retail therapy.” Then, when we hit 2016 and I resolved to be better about money, I regretted requesting a fix, knowing I’d spend more money on a single item than I would otherwise. I vowed not to keep anything…

Yeah, right.

Item #1: Crescent’s Lurli Grommet Detail Blouse ($54)

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This is the worst piece in the box. I just wanted to throw that fact out there, in case you couldn’t tell by the expression on my face.

The material was super thin and the shape was boxy beyond belief. Also, can we talk about the weird draping that happens because of the pleats at the neckline? I don’t mind pleating — except when it puts extra fabric in the position of falling between breasts and highlighting just how chesty I am. Oh — and the sleeves! There’s no cuff! It’s like their giant red tubes of fabric. Annnnd there are grommets. But the color is nice, I guess… Returned.

Item #2: RD Style’s Adriene Dress ($88)

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When I snuck a peak at what was coming in this fix, I was dismayed at this dress because I had specifically requested no grey.

Then I opened my box and realized, “Alessandra’s too good; it’s not grey, it’s SILVER!” The dress was really pretty and shimmery; I could so easily dress this up or down as needed. But A sent me a large and well, holiday sweets and birthday cake happened before my fix arrived. I took a profile photo to show how clingy the dress was, but decided not to post it because I look pregnant. Oops.

If A had sent the dress one size up, I would have kept it. Returned.

Item #3: 41Hawthorn’s Moni Geo Print and Camisole Blouse ($58)

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Look familiar? It should! I received this same blouse this summer in black!

I guess A knew how much I love my black version, so she sent a fun, patterned version. While I probably wouldn’t have chose this pattern myself, I really, really like it — like, scarily so.

Two small gripes. One: the shirt is ever-so-slightly tight around the shoulders. It wasn’t a big enough deal for me to pass up this blouse, but it’s something I don’t remember from the black version. Two: this is a set with a matching light blue cami. That’s usually a bonus, except when the cami feels and fits like it’s from the little girls’ section. I thankfully have some alternatives to switch it out for. Kept.

Item #4: Renee C’s Raquel Printed Swing Skirt ($58)

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One of intentions for 2016 is to not spend money unnecessarily, which is so sad considering this skirt. I loved it. It’s a lined, A-line navy bottom with a pop of white… Kind of like this skirt that I already own…

Really, I loved this skirt, but I couldn’t justify spending $58 on something that is way too close to a piece I already have.

The fabric was soft and the flow of the material was great, not too clingy like cotton can be. There’s an exposed silver zipper in the back, for some added punchiness. I paired it with the XX top, as Alessandra suggested, and I love that color combination with the brown boots (though I don’t look enthused because of that damn top!).

Alas, alack, I sent it back. Returned.

Item #5: Adrianna Papell’s Kalla Dress ($118)

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When I saw that I getting this dress (and then I saw the price!), I promised myself up and down I wouldn’t fall in love and keep it. Then it arrived and that promise faltered a bit. And then I put it on, looked in the mirror, and said, “damn it!” B’s reaction when he saw me in it sealed the deal: it needed to live in my wardrobe.

The material is thick and wears really well. As you can see in the photo, the color is gorgeous: it shimmers in the light in just the right way. And that lovely notched V into the neckline can be either modest or revealing! There’s some substantial ruching at the tummy; I read other reviews that said it added extra weight to their figure, but I’ll actually say that it really didn’t added more to me than was already there. I wasn’t displeased by the cut (although I’ve already mentioned I gobbled a lot of sweets this holiday and birthday season).

Needless to say — I kept it and wore it to my fancy-shmancy birthday dinner. Kept.

Hit or miss: 4/5 pieces were ones that I loved! Admittedly, I spent more money than I had intended but that Adrianna Papell dress was stunning. Minus some wardrobe duplication and size issues, I probably would have kept more from this birthday fix. Huzzah!

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.)

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.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Hi, friends!

I’ve taken a bit of sabbatical from the blog (two weeks!), but trust me, I’ve been thinking about this place every day since my last write-up!

We’ve been having weird weather the past few weeks in New England: warm, balmy, comfortable. While I know it probably signals the reality of global warming, I can’t help but admit the fact that I love the nice days! They’ve been entirely livable for someone who is bitterly cold once winter hits, to the extent that B and I often joke I’m reptilian: my body temperature is dictated by the outside world.

With that all said, I was able to wear this adorable outfit to a recent networking event put on by a local library.

Let me set the record straight: I’m a huge dork who hates hate HATES networking. Like. Pit in my stomach and about to wretch at the idea of having to do something like meet and engage with strangers. I would rather be at home with my books thankyouverymuch. But I’ve promised myself that I would stretch myself beyond my comfort zone this year and make friends who weren’t, like, Anna Karenina and Vronsky. And what better place than a library networking event!

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Dress: TJ Maxx

Cardigan: LOFT

Shoes: TOMS

Bag: TOMS

Belt: H&M

Watch: Fossil

Necklace: Homemade!

I was super nervous at the prospect of having to socialize and be normal with people I didn’t know in a context I wasn’t used to (neurotic!), so I made sure that I wore an out that was comfortable, pretty and totally me. I really loved the bright white paired with earthy browns — the cardigan, belt, shoes, and jasper necklace — because I think they balanced each other nicely. I also pulled out this bag — one I’ve had for years — because the brown leather paired nicely, but the yellow and green fabric popped. It also allowed me to pattern mix with not two but three parts of my outfit: the larger, linear lines of the dress; the smaller, softer, repetitive arches of the bag; and the small, organic leopard print in the shoes. A super simple outfit to throw together, but one that, I thought, had some nice depth and subtlety to it.

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I liked the outfit enough that I made B bring the camera with him to take outside photos! It was breezy, but temperate. We were able to laugh and goof around, putting me in a more comfortable mood before schmoozing. In our adventures, B tried out an intense version of downward dog with his newly operated knee!

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After this second round of photos, we ambled over to the networking event, warm and happy, and had a great time! It was awesome to meet new people in the city, connect with some other folks I’d met recently at a book club get-together, and check out a hip new hotel in town (where the event was being held). By the end of the night, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing — and I didn’t even partake in the wine!

As I’m approaching 30 (two months!), I’ve really been considering how I live my life, especially habits that I like that are healthy versus ones I really should rethink. If you haven’t gathered yet from this post (and you don’t even need close reading skills for that one!), I can be totally anxious, neurotic and nervous in social situations; this was a certainly an exercise of “faking it” by putting myself into a good place before I had to face something scary and uncomfortable and, in the end, I totally “made it!” I learned how valuable laughing and smiling on the outside can be to actually feeling better on the inside. Lesson learned for the future, especially the next library event in a week!