I’m back! Sorry for the sporadic posting. Lots of family visiting over the past few weeks. To celebrate my return, I made a video. That’s right – real audiovisual interaction! Enjoy!
I’m not proud of the fact that it’s been 8 days since my last post, but I do have a good excuse. My new mother and sister-in-law were visiting from New Jersey the past few days, forcing me to blissfully leave my usual station in front of the computer, excessively checking Facebook. It was a wonderful visit, especially since it almost didn’t happen. See, my new sister Kim has had a rough past couple of years. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, which has landed her in the hospital so many times it’s almost the status quo, and brought upon multiple surgeries, one of which was to reroute her intestines out the side of her stomach, and attached to a bag that catches all her digested food. Just last week, Kim was in the hospital with Pancreatitis, yet another problem caused by the disease. We thought for sure the LA trip would be canceled, but Kim being the fighter that she is, insisted that this not stop her from doing what she had planned to do. Lucky for all of us, the doctor gave her the green light, and we had a wonderful time.
As I have watched Kim go through hardship after hardship, I can’t help but ask myself how I would handle this situation. Constant stays in the hospital, surgeries, prolonged visits to public bathrooms (or bushes, depending on the circumstances) and plastic bags attached to my stomach… I’m embarrassed to admit it, but for the sake of my point, I must: I think it’s safe to say that I would be a massive wreck, constantly asking “Why me?” But not Kim. I literally have never heard her complain about what life has brought her. Not once. In fact, she almost manages to make it look cool – she becomes BFF with all her doctors, compassionately nicknamed her external intestine nub “Peach,” bought fab new one piece bathing suits, and has adopted her new required lowfat diet with such grace, I find myself wanting to follow in her footsteps. There’s something about the way she approaches the day-to-day that makes it feel like her obstacles are just as trivial as the rest of our stupid problems. Oh – and did I mention she is only 17?
From left: Victoria’s Secret Retro One-Piece $125, Spiegel Metallic Print One-Piece $49, J. Crew Petals One-Piece $59.99
One of our favorite activities to do together is shop. Just like all the girls her age, Kim loves to experiment with fashion, and adopt new styles for new school years. This Fall, it’s what she calls the “LA Look” – skinny jeans, plaid shirts, fedoras, and wayfarers. We were like kids in a candy store at The Grove, looking for all the pieces that would make a statement on the first day of her senior year, but still work with Peach. Most of us girls can wear shirts that sit close to the body or bikinis without giving it a second thought, but Kim is working with a different set of rules- nothing tight fitting or stomach baring, but yet, nothing that makes her look pregnant. Like a torpedo, Kim barreled through the stores, piling things on her arm that she knew would work with what she’s got. In the dressing room, one thing after another looked completely bangarang on her. Oversized plaid flannels, empire waist bohemian tops, a snap-up sweatshirt with oversized collar… she rocked it so hard, one would never even notice that she’s working with a “fashion obstacle.” This girl doesn’t even know the meaning of obstacle.
I’m convinced that one of the main factors that gets Kim through the hard days is her Fire essence. She is a walking example of the Pleasure Seeker archetype, and she uses it to her full advantage. Whether it’s becoming best friends with all her nurses and doctors, constantly making everyone around her laugh, soaking up all the attention, or dreaming up ideas for the tattoo she’s determined to get the minute she turns 18, Kim is always implementing the Fire philosophy: if it’s not fun, don’t do it… and if you must do it, then make it fun!
Pacsun Tee $17.50
I am reminded of a t-shirt she picked up off a table full of different graphic tees – it was bright pink with the face of a tiger on it. It was perfect for Kim – the girl who’s so ferocious, nothing can stop her from living the life she wants. Not a disease, or her new “best friend” Peach. The next time I think the world is coming to an end because my jeans are fitting a little tight or I’m “sick of everything in my closet”, I’m going to think of Kim, and how she manages to overcome every massive curve ball her young life has thrown her, without ever missing a beat.
Every summer, whether I invite it or not, a camping trip always seems to make its way onto my itinerary, as it did this past weekend at the lovely Lake Cachuma, near Santa Barbara. I might not be able to rightfully call myself the camping “type” per se, unless we’re talking about camping by Troop Beverly Hills standards… but nonetheless I do love camping. After all, it’s the luxurious vacay of the recession. Throw in a beautiful lake, a great group of people, good campfire cooking equipment, and a jar of Nutella, and there’s nothing “rough” about it. Well… almost.
Even though there’s hardly a mirror in sight throughout the whole weekend, we’d be lying if we said that stops us from caring just a littttttle bit about what we look like. Who doesn’t love to have a little fun with the lumberjack/woodsman/girl scout persona that we take on when roasting marshmallows around the campfire? It seems that what works for camping style wise has never changed, and likely never will. We’re talking about function, warmth, comfort, and ruggedness. I gotta admit it’s fun to channel a little earth and wood in an exaggerated way for a weekend in the woods. The key is sturdy, staple garments that will take you all the way through, and fit in a single duffel. This Polyvore set says it all…
Take special note of the Nutella, Mag Lite (in the largest size it comes in – we’re talkin’ NYPD caliber), Carrera sunnies, and straw hat. All very necessary. If you’ve got plans to spend a weekend in the wild anytime soon, here are a few more Must Brings for good measure:
L’Oreal Skin Genesis Cleansing Towelettes – These things come in handy when you don’t feel like walking the 100 yards to the bathrooms right before bed, and who remembers to bring a fluffy hand towel for drying? No need for water at all with these wipes.
Java Monster Mean Bean coffee drink – In spite of the scary can and Monster name, these drinks taste every bit as good as your morning iced latte from Starbucks AND they have a surprisingly low calorie count – 200 in the whole massive can. You may want to stock the cooler with a few extras, so your camping mates aren’t stalking you for sips, as I did this weekend.
Olive Leaf Paper Soap – The past 3 or so times I’ve been camping, the bathrooms have water but never seem to have soap. I don’t want their gross soap anyway – soap leaves are the bomb!
Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo – Who says you have to have greasy hair when you camp? Use this stuff and you’ll barely need to wash it at the end of the weekend. Well, let’s not go that far.
Three Thieves Individual Wine Boxes – Not only are these things “Wine Snob Approved,” but they got us kicked out of a NJ golf course once, which means they’re doing their job. They sell them at Whole Foods.
Oh, and by the way: I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but try adding peanut butter to your s’more. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it…
As tired, achy, dirty, and sick of the red meat + bread diet as I was by the end of the weekend, I couldn’t help but look forward to the next trip. Hey, camping is fun, man! But you know what would make it even more fun? One of these…
This 252˚Living Area is still in the design process, but promises to come complete with bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and office. Office!!! Maybe that would mean I wouldn’t have to give up blogging in the wild. “Do you guys have, like, WiFi on these campgrounds?” A girl can dream.
Here’s my problem: I have a reeeeeeally hard time getting myself to work out. While I have gotten into a nice groove at YogaWorks in Westwood, and have found a killer 3.8 mile running route around the Brentwood Country Club, sometimes the adrenaline rush/meditation of it just isn’t enough to get me to actually do it. As I sit here now to write this, I am blowing off the run I intended to do this mornig. Of course, we all know how great it feels when you’ve completed the challenge and can reward yourself with a cold shower and morning coffee beverage of your choice, but that still doesn’t seem to be enough. When all else fails, there is one last thing we can turn to to get our bodies off the computer and out to raise our heart rates – fashion!
If you’re anything like me, your usual running/hiking/yoga attire consists of whatever sports bra you bought when you just turned the age where you would need a sports bra, an old t-shirt, and some shorts that barely even fit right. I mean, you’re just going to sweat in it, so who cares – right? Wrong! I have found that caring about what you wear when you exercise, or at least having something to be excited about when you put it on, provides a surprisingly strong incentive. I started to figure this out when J. Crew came out with their line of yoga clothes – all with the perfect fit, consistency, style, and color choices (unfortunately that line seems to have disappeared, but luckily I sort of stocked up with some staples – see slate leggings in picture).
I also recently discovered the Lululemon store here in Brentwood, and have found their selection to be most pleasing! With an array of styles to fit your varying exercise needs, and sizes in the 2-4-6-8 variety (including LONG lengths in their pants – hallelujah!) instead of S-M-L, they make you question whether you will ever explore another brand for your athletic gear. The best part is the durable, 4-way stretch fabrics that come in styles so fashionable, I wonder if I should be working them into my regular wardrobe (see neon tank in picture). I’m not quite there, but all you Woods out there – implement. This collection might take you a little while since each basic piece runs between about $40-70, but just do one at a time, and it will last you forever. My favorites are all the tank tops, and the Wunder Under Crop leggings, which come in reversibles!
Lululemon Move Tank in Party Dots, $52; Wunder Under Reversible Crop Leggings in Royale/Black $58
Next up on the roster of obsessions comes a line that I’ve been drooling over since it debuted in 2005. When Stella McCartney teamed up with Adidas, it brought a whole new meaning to athletic attire. Unfortunately, it’s not for those of us with light wallets, BUT every season a wide selection of pieces from the line make their way to places like Marshalls, Century 21, Loehman’s, etc. The other selling point is the fact that many of these pieces could definitely be mistaken for out-of-the-gym wear. Either way – with these things in your closet, there’s no way you’re going to keep blowing off your workouts. Think of it as an investment in your health.
Stella McCartney for Adidas Run Jacket in Clouds, $220; Women’s Run Performance Tights $120; Adidas Women’s AdiZero XT Trail Running Shoes, $85 (How could you not dominate the trails with these shoes?)
Stella McCartney for Adidas Tennis Performance Dress, $130; American Apparel Nylon Pack Cloth Gym Bag, $17
One of my favorite things to do with athletics is to layer the tops so what’s underneath shows in a statementy way. Take for example the tennis dress above – while it doesn’t need anything to amp it up, wear a gray strappy sports bra underneath (try the nylon Champion ones at Target), and you have more of a styled look. BTW – how can they even call this a tennis dress? More like tennis followed by cocktails with friends, throwing a black leather motorcycle jacket over it. I love the retro nylon gym bag – at least I have one affordable thing in the bunch.
Let’s face it – we all need to do something to help keep the heart rate up. I figure if you’re going to rock that trail, why not think of it as a runway? Oh – and your runway wouldn’t be complete without some tunes to strut to. Try adding these to your playlist:
“Walkin’ on the Moon” – The Dream feat. Kanye West
“Rock That Body” – Black Eyed Peas
“Good Girls Go Bad” – Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester
“Kidda – Under the Sun” – Fatboy Slim
“In For the Kill” – La Roux
Is it just me or is this summer flying by faster than ever? But let’s not get whiny about it – there’s still plenty of time to wear all our favorite must haves, and maybe even add a few more pieces before it’s time to start drooling over that black leather motorcycle jacket and corresponding Frye boots you…we… ok I have been coveting for Fall since before this fabulous recession landed me in Brokeville. I’m excited to share with you the rest of my Must Haves for summer, all of which will take you well into Fall and can totally be done on the cheap, if not already inexpensive by nature – gotta love it.
Mini Cross Body Bag
When the cross body bag initially made its comeback, I was bored with it. But on a whim, I bought this Tano one at my fave Northfield boutique, Sisters Ugly, and now my life is enriched. Not only are they adorable and effortless, but the main draw lays in their brilliant functionality. There’s something so freeing about filling it with nothing more than my phone, lipgloss, credit cards, license, and cash and walking out the door… with both hands free for my Starbucks venti iced Zen tea, and soon-to-be-acquired shopping bags!
From Left: Marc By Marc Jacobs $188, Paradox $70, Botkier $425, Kate Spade $195
It’s safe to say my obsession with these tees has definitely gotten out of hand. Like, enough already – time to move on. But I can’t! One might think that great t-shirts are a dime a dozen, but not for me. There are certain factors that simply must apply in order for me to be reaching for a tee day after day. First and foremost, it must be long. I never understood where clothing companies get their measurements for women’s t-shirts – remember the baby tee? It’s like that never went away. The longer, the better in my book – leaves room for shrinkage, and adds a little drama with draping and/or bunching at the bottom, not to mention the option to wear it with leggings or skinny jeans. These tees are unisex and a tri-blend of cotton, poly, and rayon, making them the perfect length and consistency. My favorite part is the slighty-deeper-than-the-average-v-neck v-neck, which adds the perfect amount of drama and sexiness – something us Fires simply must have in a t-shirt. If that’s not your thing, they do come in a crew neck as well. Much to my delight, they just added a few new colors like cranberry, and light green!
American Apparel Unisex Tri-Blend V-Neck Tees $22
Nowadays, it’s getting harder and harder to think of a time, other than the 80′s, that the most popular nail colors were just pinks and reds. Over the past few years, more and more options have been added to the roster of acceptable nail colors – from black, to orange, to gray, to blue, and now neons. At this point, nail color is pretty much just no holds barred and I LOVE IT! No matter your mood, there’s a nail polish to match. Even mismatched nails with multiple shades on each hand had made its way in. I’m loving the OPI/Paige Denim collaboration brights, Essie neons, and all the Sephora by OPI colors. It looks like fall is bringing the Matte nail polish trend, which I’m not sure how I feel about since I love me a fresh shiny top coat (the very best is Seche Vite Dry Fast – hands down). But we’ll have to see… In the meantime, grab whatever shade inspires you and use it as your statement de jour!
From Left (All around $8): Sephora by OPI Metro Chic, Essie Greenport, OPI No Room for the Blues, Essie Funky Limelight
This one might be a little obvious as it’s always been one of the most popular summer staples, but the white jean is an oh-so-important summer must have. There’s just something so crisp and flattering about fresh white denim, especially this season’s skinny distressed versions. And that “no white after Labor Day” rule? Eh. Let’s face it – the heat stays with us well into October all across the country, making it hard to get into the cozy football game mood until the leaves are officially falling. When September is upon us, just ditch the floaty summer tanks in favor of your more structured deep hued tops, throw a scarf or cardigan over, and keep rockin’ the white denim!
Mine are J. Crew Matchstick (in Tall – thanks for getting it, J. Crew!), and Joe’s Muse (love the gold hardware).
From left: 7 For All Mankind Bootcut $169, Gap Always Skinny Destructed $69.50, Hudson Signature Bootcut $165, J. Crew Matchstick $78
One shopping trip this spring lead me to Forever 21 where I walked out with a bag full of rock star inspired jewelry, and I’ve been obsessively adding to the collection ever since. This completely transformed my wardrobe! Any blah outfit instantly becomes livelier, smarter, and more daring when you add a stack of sparkly bangles or a hard edged black beaded necklace. Of course, this look might be more inspiring to the Fires and Waters out there, but my list of must haves would not be honest if it did not include this. The best part is, for every $3,000 Lanvin stunner out there, there’s a $7 version just waiting to be mistaken for the real thing at Forever 21, H&M, Topshop, or Urban Outfitters. I enlisted the help of Polyvore to show you some of my favorite steals (well, some are steals, and all are under $100).
Click on the image to see the deeeeets.
And that concludes my Top 10 Summer Must Haves, at least for now. What are your favorite wardrobe staples right now? Spill it!