Dress for the season you want, not the season you have

…Which is a bit of a misleading title, since I’m currently stuck between, “But SUMMER. I LOVE Summer.” and “CARDIGANS ALWAYS.”

With a lot of upcoming changes comes a lot of messy mind-moments, otherwise known as periods of crippling overwhelm and the seeming inability to get off my couch and away from therapeutic “The Office” binge sessions. I work in a really casual environment, and – as it happens – I’m currently in a month-long period of being the solitary employee in my teeny-tiny office. So you can imagine how that’s going, clothing-wise.

Every so often, though, comes a meeting with another actual, live human being, and I feel inspired to do things like brush my hair and not wear flip-flops. We’re not talking “dressed to the nines,” here, folks, but donning something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have a firefighter rescue me in* can be a nice change.

OOTD - 20150827Cardigan: Express (similar); Top: Express (similar, on eBay!); Jeans: Gap (similar); Wedges: Dexter (same, on eBay!); Necklace: Target

Also, holy please forgive the mess behind me.

Everything I’m wearing today is downright OLD, but these are definitely some of my comfiest, most forgiving and favorite pieces. The shoes are my best friend, and if you could see them up close, you’d be able to tell – even the insole is a hot mess. But for a Payless find probably 4-5 years ago, they’ve held up really well and are super comfortable. I’d buy them again in a heartbeat, if I could find them.

Well, I’m off to collect my pizza delivery. …Because  getting dressed is the most I could really accomplish in the personal care arena today. Cheers!

*Did your grandmother ever say that? “Would you wear those underwear if you knew you’d be in a car accident today?” Really?? Is that the metric? Because I’m pretty sure if I knew I was going to be in a car accident today, I wouldn’t leave the house. But thanks for the advice, Gram! It will DEFINITELY haunt me for the rest of my life.

NO. NO. Really?!

According to WordPress, I haven’t posted since April 22nd. It’s August 26th. What?! If I weren’t seeing it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it. Maybe my eyes are lying. Four months? Really?!

Last time I dropped ’round these parts, I talked about yoga – trying to attend regularly, trying to have a healthy attitude around my own limitations, around challenging myself and pushing myself to stick with it and get better. I’m pretty pleased to report that it’s been going really well; in addition to 1-3 yoga classes per week, I also take barre, pilates and spin classes. The number on the scale hasn’t moved much, but that’s not the point, right? I’m way healthier and way stronger than I was a year ago… Even than I was four months ago. The Dude poked my stomach the other day (we’re children who like to irritate and annoy each other for fun), and said, “Whoa, you’ve got some abs, there!” WHY YES. WHY YES I DO THANK YOU FOR NOTICING.

Overall, this has been a pretty great summer. Lots of little trips, lots of enjoying the outdoors… Lots of smiling faces. And ice cream. Plenty of ice cream.


So while this is usually the time of year that I can’t wait for Autumn, I’m trying to pump the brakes a little bit and enjoy these final few days and weeks. I’m – of course – excited to up my latte and scarf game again this year, but I’m looking to glide rather than jump right in to the chillier weather. We’ll see if Mama Nature grants me this wish… I did have my first soy chai of the season this past weekend, though, so I’m prepared, no matter what. (Starbucks is apparently all it takes to be “prepared.” That’s probably not true, and probably something I should rethink… Like. Where are my boots, anyway..?)

The Dude and I have also spent the summer making some big, big plans – major relocation plans. So while I’m being a little bit stingy and grabby with the info at this point and keeping the details close, I see this blog getting a lot busier as I get used to a new city, a new job and a new home.

Positive vibes our way would not be rejected – maybe pray that my office-organizational skills kick in and help us through this next transition! (Just asking for the simple things, here, folks. Just asking for the simple things.)

On being the EXACT OPPOSITE of a yogi

…I wanted so badly to have some witty suggestion for what the opposite of a yogi would be, but very little cleverness is happening in the headspace-area today, folks. (So let’s write a blog post! Yikes. I’m sorry in advance.)

Yesterday, I looked at my coworker and said, “Can I say something really terrible? I’m thinking of taking tomorrow off. Do you think that’s okay?” To which he responded, “OH MY GOD THAT’S THE WORST THING EVER HOW COULD YOU. And also, that’s totally not terrible and yes – yes, you should take tomorrow off.” He’s a good egg, that one.

Anyway, alas, I could not take today off, but I did compromise: I have a couple of appointments planned, so I decided to just work from home and not bother with the whole “getting dressed and going to the office thing.” I’m working but taking it slow. I even went to a yoga class this morning. I think that’s a fair trade-off.

I am absolutely terrible at prioritizing my health, y’all, but then – that’s why I started this blog, really. It helps me to remember that this is a journey, and it’s nice to have somewhere to document that. I’m not a stay-at-home-mom, I don’t come from money, I have lots of bills and obligations and stress. I don’t eat entirely organic, I’m pretty fond of sugar (it’s the devil, I know – I get it), and let’s be real – I’m a wheezy mess when I run, and after a year of ill health, even the simplest yoga poses HURT. Like a bad word, people. Like a BAD WORD. I often feel like I don’t know where I fit into this shiny blogosphere that can seem very saturated with Whole 30 challenges and Lululemon. (Both of those things are great, by the way. But I’m a hot mess and broke – neither of them are happening for this gal anytime soon.)

And so it’s not easy to keep trying. It’s not easy to remember that no one’s perfect (regardless of what their blog or Instagram looks like), that it IS a journey, that any new habit needs work and time and patience with yourself. That practice is important. That I’m not always going to be great at something right out of the gate. That whatever I’m going to do, however much I love it most of the time, I’m definitely, really going to HATE that very same thing some of the time. It’s hard to remember that I’m ABSOLUTELY going to have pizza and ice cream and cheese, and I’m going to love it, and that’s no reason to feel shame. Because hi – those things are freakin’ wonderful.

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good

That yoga class this morning was great. I was able to get into poses I couldn’t even have dreamt of two weeks ago. And maybe next week, I’ll struggle again. But that’s okay, too. What’s not okay is giving up when I know in my heart that the payout will be worth it. Whenever it comes, it’ll be worth it.

So I guess I’ll stick with my smoothies (seriously, NutriBullet? Marry me.) and my yoga and my barre classes, and I’ll (maybe) learn to love (or at least deal with) every creak and groan and face-palm moment.

There’ll be a lot of them. I’m kind of a klutz.

Twenty-four hour recap

Who says there’s not enough time in a day?

So, between today and yesterday:

:: New England had more snow! MORE SNOW HELP US OH LORD. My TimeHop tells me that on this day in March of 2012, it was almost 60 degrees. When I woke up this morning, the “Real Feel” was 1. ONE. SHUT YOUR FOOL MOUTH, ACCUWEATHER. (But really, thank you for preparing me for the icy misery that lay ahead.)

:: HOWEVER, it was also super-sunny when I woke up this morning, just after 6am. I was almost tempted to actually get out of my bed. Lest you think I regularly wake up that early. Bless all of you morning folks. BLESS YOU.

:: Something else really sweet happened when I woke up this morning… Want to know what it was? MY STIFF NECK IS WHAT IT WAS. My peppy blog post about Kayla Itsines’ BBG program did not foreshadow the utter madness that would be my sore and aching upper back muscles two days after arms & abs. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where there’s that kind of time-release pain. It just seems deceitful.

:: Here’s the real doozy of this list: my apartment building was broken into! HOORAY! (Not really “hooray,” not “hooray” at all, in fact.) My neighbor caught him red-handed, and the guy jumped into his black Hummer (HIS BLACK HUMMER NO ONE WILL EVER NOTICE YOU IN THAT GOOD CHOICE) and sped off. The police say they have a good idea of who he is; in fact, they’d noticed the car pass them a few streets over right before the call was dispatched. …They noticed him. BECAUSE YOU NOTICE PEOPLE IN HUMMERS. I like to think that if I ever decided to break bad, I’d be much smarter about it. (Really though, I’d probably just trip all over myself and end up in jail after five disastrous minutes.)

But then, there’s always this:


So at the end of the day, things are just normal around here, really.

Getting a bikini body. (Maybe.)

So I hit reboot on this blog after a year-long battle with illness. I’ve had some lady problems, I’ve had some belly problems, and I’ve had a whole lot of stress problems.

I’m no stranger to chronic stress. I come from a warm, loving bunch of neurotics (sorry Mom and Dad), so I’d pretty confidently put my estimate at around 20+ years of being a Grade-A headcase. It’s had its ups and downs, for sure, but it’s never been more of a bummer than within the past six years, when I decided to start working in the nonprofit sector with urban youth. This work can be tough, and it’s become very clear that a) you really need coping strategies in life, and b) I have no coping strategies in life. GOOD TIMES.

Even now, on the other side of (most of) it, I’m still struggling with prioritizing my own health and happiness. And that’s important. (I’m also useless to the kids I work with if I’m burnt out and sick all the time. Right? Right.)

I was hanging out on Instagram one day recently (like you do), and I stumbled across Kayla Itsines’ feed. She’s a tiny, adorable youngin’ (aka: Not Past 30), so I was fully prepared to glance quickly and then move on. What caught my attention, though, was the sheer number of girls (women!) who seemed to be getting real results from her program. And these weren’t glossy, engineered testimonials – they were regular ladies posting all kinds of regular photos on their own Instagram accounts.


(You can see more on Kayla’s website.)

I cautiously clicked “follow” and figured I’d wait and see. And fast forward a few weeks, guys, because I’m sold.

The Bikini Body Guide program asks you to devote 28 minutes, three times per week, to its sessions. Each session consists of two circuits that you’ll repeat twice, each for 7 minutes. While it’s still too early for my own “transformation,” I’m feeling better already, after just a week. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m not even doing the workouts entirely faithfully yet; an unfortunate effect of last year’s Unpleasant Stuff is that my body is incredibly stiff and tense, and while I’d been attending barre and pilates classes somewhat regularly before the holiday, I am still super out-of-shape and huffing and puffing all over the place. The greatest thing about doing your “research” via IG and social media is that you have access to real, honest reviews, and the experiences of people at every level – so I knew that there were women out there just doing the best they could, and they were still seeing results. Everytime I’ve done these workouts, I’ve told myself to just get through what I can – and pushing myself through even the truncated version is making a world of difference already.

I don’t know if I’ll end up with a “bikini body” at the end of this, but I’ll keep y’all posted. I know it’ll keep making me feel stronger and help manage that unhealthy stress, either way, and I think that’s absolutely its biggest value.

In re-reading this, I’m realizing that it totally sounds like an advertisement. …It’s not. I’m so not that smooth. I really did just happen upon Kayla on Instagram and like the look of her program. For what’s it worth, I don’t think it’s perfect, and I’m currently one sore and aching human. So. Your mileage may vary, I’m not a doctor, blah blah blah. Check it out for yourself – that’s the beauty of social media!

Wishlist Wednesday: Sleep and other things that sparkle

It’s the first installment of Wishlist Wednesday! …Which is, honestly, a self-indulgent feature where I talk about some of the things on my Amazon.com wishlist that I’m doing a little bit of drooling over.

So without further ado, here are six things I’m really loving this week! 


1. Madewell Skinny Skinny Jeans – I have been dying for a pair of Madewell jeans for years. Years. They’re expensive, though, and so I’ve never actually pulled the trigger. Over the past six months, I’ve really been making an effort to build my wardrobe and focus on quality, rather than quantity; it really hit me that – ultimately – I was spending just as much on low-quality items that weren’t even making it through an entire season (let alone seeing me into a second or third) as I would be if I focused on purchasing higher-quality pieces that would – you know – actually NOT fall apart. Anyway, so maybe these are in my future. BUT I did happen to stop by Gap this morning and see these new beauties, soooooo…

2. Jack the Mini Monster – Okay. Are you guys familiar with Monster Factory? ‘Cos seriously, YA NEED TO BE. (Any Gilmore Girls fans in the house? No? Okay, then.) I stumbled across these guys on Instagram months ago, and I’ve been in love ever since. My birthday is coming up, and I’m hoping this little dude ends up heading my way. If not, I may just have to do it up myself. SO CUTE.

3. DVF Glitterati iPhone case – I don’t typically do expensive phone cases (okay, never. Like, I have never done that), but this one is amaaaaazinggggg. Plus, it’s currently 50% off – 60% if you like black better than sand. And sales make everything even more amazing.

4. Embolden Opportunity Coat – I have some ModCloth merchandise credit that I’ve been holding onto for ages now, and I’m thinking this might be what I finally spend it on. New England has been a cold, gray, snowy mess for weeks, and I’m definitely dreaming of Springtime – this is fitting right into those daydreams. Plus, I’d look like the Gorton’s fisherman, so that’s a major score, too.

5. PrimeEffects Sweet Dreams Sleep Mask – Guys, I am the worst sleeper ever. Ever. I’m sensitive to noise, light, air and probably things like oxygen and existence. (SIGH.) I’ve referred to myself as a “sleep freak,” and I stand by that statement. The Dude doesn’t always find early sleepy-time as exciting as I do, so I’d love to give this a try when he’s got the living room light on and the cats decide opening our bedroom door sounds like the most fun thing ever.

6. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an absolutely incredible human, and she has the most beautiful writing style. I just finished “Americanah,” and I’m eager to try another of her novels. I’ve heard great things about this one. In the meantime, have you seen her TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story“? Brilliant.

Is anyone reading? If you are, tell me what’s on your list! 😉

In which I feel grateful for (not-so-)small things

1. I just nominated a former student for a $10,000 award from the Colin Higgins Foundation. This young man brings such love and light to each of his various communities, and I’m thankful to have been part one of those. I got a little misty writing it out, I won’t lie. It’s pretty awesome that my job lets me interact with such promising and very special young people.

2. I saw my therapist this morning, a woman who I think is just one of the sweetest, sparkliest humans on this planet, and it was just the tweak I needed. She reminds me that it’s okay to ask for help and that it’s okay to listen to advice – but that it’s also completely necessary to listen to my own heart and my own body. (Thank you, ma’am, I will sign that check happily.)

3. I’ve been on the hunt for affordable, comfortable and reliable black boots since October, and it’s been a struggle. (Apparently, the pirate-wench look is really in style. Whoa, with the buckles and flaps.) Jean at Extra Petite raved about these BP “Transit” boots, which finally went on sale a couple of weeks ago at Nordstrom. I’ve had them for three days, and I’ve already worn them as many times. (I really needed black boots.) The shaft is super fitted, which is a problem I’ve never experienced before, but they’re really sleek-looking and quiet when I’m walking on the hardwood floors in my office (score!). I’m more than happy to forego thick socks in favor of knee-highs to be able to rock these.

4. This silly bean. Always.

jasper-sillytable(He’s a total Mama’s boy, and I think we’re both okay with that.)

Happy Friday, friends!