“Overcome / by ordinary contentment.”

When I was in college, I majored in English and, with probably one or two more classes, I would have concentrated in poetry. The almost-concentration wasn’t something I planned but failed to complete: I just happened to take a lot of poetry classes. (All of this can also be said for creative writing too. Guess what I wrote primarily? Poetry.)

What does that have to do with anything, right?

Well, I was trying to think of a quippy bird idiom to name this post, and kept coming back to one of my favorite poems. The title comes from Jane Kenyon’s “Having It Out with Melancholy,” which is a transparent, raw look at depression. I’ve been thinking about the last part of the poem lately, “Wood Thrush:” the perfect line break, the twisting emotions, the haunting last line. There’s something about the pivotal moment Kenyon captures — awaking from sadness — and keying into the world around you, honing all your attention into a singular place, forgetting pain that resonates with me so deeply lately.

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Sweater: LOFT

Skirt: Old Navy

Tights: Target

Shoes: Naturalizer via DSW

Watch: Fossil

Necklace: Modcloth

I’ve felt like these photos a lot lately: distant, aloof, off kilter. There’s a lot swirling around, between a number of huge museum endeavors this month, a sudden death of someone at the theatre, back pain, exhaustion, etc. But through this, I’m trying to hold onto those brilliant moments that pierce through it all: a striated sunrise or golden light through leaves. The days are long and tough, but they’re marked with such beauty.

(I guess if there was any one thing I learned from my failed meditation training session this weekend, it’s this: breathe and observe.)

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All Quiet on the Western Front

After B took photos for me this morning, as I was about to zoom out the door to work, he said how I look like a lady gun-slinger from an old western film. While it’s rainy and dreary and officially autumn in New England, I’ll admit that I put an extra swagger in my step today after that comment.

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Dress: TJ Maxx

Sweater: H&M

Boots: Naturalizer

Belt: Target

Hat: Target

My weekend is far from a rodeo though. I’m about to attend a mini-training session on meditation practices, mainly because, well, I need it. I’m hoping to pull some good life skills out of these next 24 hours because during the next month, I will be pushing myself beyond all my limits: professionally, socially, physically, and intellectually. Am I doing anything glammy or glitzy that’s causing so many boundaries to be pushed? Not really: lots of work, per usual. I’ve just lined up my schedule in such a way that I really need to conquer every hurdle gracefully to win it. I think I’ve nailed down my “fierce” face though.

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Busted!

B and I were recently discussing the virtues of fixing things instead of automatically replacing them. Why? Because I feel like the past few weeks, all I’ve done is shuttle pieces of my wardrobe back and forth to various vendors for mending; two dresses to the tailors (one for a busted zipper, another a burst seam); my favorite watch to the jewelers — twice; soon, my best knee-high boots will visit the cobbler for some resoling. Oy.

Why do I bring this up today? Well. This dress.

When taking photos this morning, I was elated that I still managed to get another “summery” wear out of this frock. I jazzed it up with a cobalt blue belt, snow leopard print flats, and a blue-purple gem pendant (a slight variation from the last time you saw it). I thought these were fun, bright ways to wear it slightly differently before autumn weather really set in.

Then, while at work, my hand brushed against the side seam, above the trumpet flair of the skirt, and I felt it: a mass of errant threads that only means a burst seam. Ugh. I left it and thought, “ok, not too bad, I can fix that.” Then, an hour later, I thought to test the back seam — conveniently right on my butt — and, yes, you guessed it, another wider, uglier mess. Sigh.

With a work event this evening, I asked B to bring me another dress to wear at least. He’s a peach.

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Dress: Donna Morgan via Modcloth (sold out)

Flats: TOMS

Belt: TJ Maxx via another dress

Necklace: Global Odyssey

I love this dress. So what’s a girl supposed to do? I ended up Google searching “Donna Morgan dress red” and found it at Nordstrom Rack — the last one, one size bigger and for $45. After some debating, I decided to buy it (it’s thankfully a pay week!). While I’m dismayed at how fragile this dress it, I’m wondering (and hoping) that a slightly larger size will give me some ease on the more pressured seams (especially in the skirt). Also, despite buying this dress twice, I still haven’t spent the full retail amount. Damn you, Donna Morgan, on making such an addictive product! Gah!

Cue the Harmonica Solo

Two 12-hour work days left me a little loopy this morning. I pulled out this old favorite necklace of mine — a small harmonica — and while taking photos, I regaled B with an improvised harmonica concert. When I was done, he graciously clapped for me — and then the ham took over and I went into full-force bows and curtsies like I was at Carnegie Hall.

Too. Much. Work. Too. Little. Sleep.

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This dress is a recent buy from Old Navy. I’ll use my mother’s favorite phrase: “It was on sale and I had a coupon!” What can I say, it’s genetic.

Old Navy’s been making dresses like this all year — a-line skirt, fitted bodice, spaghetti straps. While I hate having to always wear a sweater over these, the flow of the fabric is surprisingly nice and the fit is perfect. They also don’t all apart in the wash like so many Old Navy things do (like my awesome red pants just did this week — woe is me!).

We’re at that point in September when I don’t know what I should dress for. Monday through Wednesday this week, the temperatures were in the 90s, then yesterday is was in the low 70s and rainy. I decided to pretend it was actually fall and pair the frock with my favorite mustard cardigan, tights, and cutie Oxford flats. I think the colors all pulled together in the end and made this a playful, Friday look.

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Dress: Old Navy

Cardigan: Anthropologie

Tights: Target

Shoes: Naturalizer via DSW

Harmonica Necklace: Marolsha’s Shop via Etsy

I’m Berry, Berry Tired

Last night was my first shift back at the theatre, and, phew, I was beat today! I had forgotten how hard 12+ hour days can be!

Waking up this morning was a struggle, especially since it was so grey and dreary out. I think I changed my outfit three times — each one, unintentionally, having a polka dotted element to it. I finally settled on black on black, with a dash of pink to brighten things up. One of the ways of making sure today’s outfit worked was making sure I could stretch in it. Odd, right? I pulled out the old half moon pose followed by hands to feet posture from Bikram yoga, to help awaken some muscles up. My cats think I’m a weirdo.

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Tank: Old Navy

Cardigan: LOFT

Skirt: H&M

Shoes: TOMS

Necklace: Kohl’s?

One of my favorite ways to look awake (notice I said “look awake” and not “feel awake) is a good old swath of red lipstick. I also couldn’t resist sampling the new vampy hue I received yesterday from Birchbox, called “Smitten” from ModelCo. I own two other great shades from this brand because they’re so highly pigmented and, even when they do fade, they still leave a wonderful tint. It was another helluva day — including a meeting I was not looking forward to and a second round at the theatre tonight — so I used some of my favorite tricks to look and feel professional.