Sunday Chronicles: The Thawing

Investment Piece: The Thawing

We got our power back. We have water. We are so so lucky.

And yet. This week has been so hard. Balancing the magic of snow (I have never seen that much! Or had it last more than a day!) with the systematic failures (no power and no clean water is no fun). I really thought that I was ready to write about it. To talk to you. To share. To get back to normal.

I’m writing this on Saturday- trying not to have a breakdown. I’ve been so tense. I’ve been so tired. I’ve been so stressed.

This site is going to get back to normal. But not today. I just don’t have it in me. And for that, I apologize. I want to tell our stories with fashion- but spending this week layering sweats and coats the only thing I can think about is washing my hair. I hate washing my hair.

If you’re so inclined, you can donate to Texas relief here. I’m hoping to have new content for you tomorrow.

In the meantime- stay warm, stay kind.

Wishing us all a week of ease and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Ways to Say “I Love You!”

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Happy Valentine’s, Lovers! I hope you’re being showered with love and affection and treats.

I have something to confess my loves: I am not a big fan of this day. No, it’s not a big “single movement” or “galentines ” (although I like that idea). I just don’t like the idea that someone is professing their love or pampering me because they “have to”. I’m not anti-love. I’m anti having to express it in a certain manner. Let me be clear: if you care about me and want to tell me, please do! Treat me! But please don’t do it because this is the day that you’re supposed to. I was a little bit scared to admit that–there’s nothing worse than being the woman who’s anti-Valentine’s day, but a friend of mine wrote this piece on not liking the holiday–and it made me bold. (I loved a lot of what she had to say!)

Here’s the thing lovers–I love love. I really do. I am for affection, and treats, and letting people know that you love them. I think there is so much love in our lives to be grateful for–from our friends to our families to the baristas who remember our names and exactly how we like our coffees. All of that is love –and should be celebrated. In fact, sometimes I think we forget how much love is in our lives. We concentrate on romantic love–which is amazing–and the big, grand gestures that can accompany it are fantastic. But the simple gestures that friends, family and sometimes strangers can show us are just as great. When I found this list of ways to say “I love you”, it hit me–because these non-grand gestures of love are often what make up our lives. And they are fantastic. And should be celebrated–not because a holiday says so, but because we are so lucky to have people in our lives who care how our days go.

If you love to celebrate Valentine’s–great! There’s nothing wrong with that. And if you’re not–great! There’s nothing wrong with that. I hope in whatever way, on whatever day you chose, you can take a minute to see the love in your life–and maybe let those people know you love them too. And not to get on my soapbox–but this is my soapbox–I hope you let yourself know that you love you too. I saw an essay about being the love of your own life (regardless of any other relationship) and of all the things I love, I love that. Ourselves will be with us forever–we will spend the most time with ourselves, we will grow old together, we will be forever tied together. Loving yourself isn’t always easy (that’s another therapy trip), but it is important and rewarding. So while we’re celebrating love–maybe let’s learn to love ourselves, develop a great relationship with ourselves, treat ourselves like we’re the loves of our lives, be the loves of our own lives. And if that involves treating ourselves to new shoes to pamper us? Well, everyone wins 🙂

I wish us all an abundance of love and amazing shoes this week! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Cheese Board

Investment Piece: Cheese Board

I’m no food blogger, though I like to think I’m a great home cook. And ironically I’m lactose intolerant, so I have to rely on goat and sheep’s cheese, but I love a good cheese board. Elegant. Easy. Customizable. One of my favorite things to do on Sunday is make a big cheese board, open a bottle of wine or bubbles, and snack all day. Today and next Sunday (Super Bowl and Valentine’s) are perfect for such activities. In fact, it’s most likely what I will be doing both Sunday’s!

There are “rules” and “guidelines” that you can follow when you’re making a cheese board, but I usually go with what sounds good to me. Cheese. Great crackers. Some protein. Some fruit. Whatever looks good.

I’ve made them incredibly simple:
Investment Piece: Cheese Board
And I called this dinner. Even with just the basics- crackers, cured meat, cheese, and wine it felt decadent.

To over the top:
Investment Piece: Cheese Board
Grilled sausage, mustards, preserves, fruit, crackers, cheeses, all the things.

Cheese boards are both the simplest thing to make and a stunning piece of art. A snack and an event of a meal. I love mixing various cheeses (there is such a great selection of bries and cheddars and blues that don’t have cow’s milk in them!), crackers (flavored and plain), olives, meats, chips, grapes, and more. If you make it big enough, it’s both lunch and dinner, and just perfect! I didn’t really get into cheese plates until a few years ago- now I’m making up for lost time. They are one of my favorite ways to share food (with my pod) and ways to feel like I’m treating myself.

The next two weekends seem ripe for putting out food and relaxing with football or rom-coms on the couch. Bubbles. Wine. And of course, loved ones (even over FaceTime) and the day is complete. The only change? I may include this baked feta.

What are you eating for Super Bowl and Valentine’s?

Wishing us all a week of treats and amazing shoes!
Xo RA

Investment Piece: Cheese Board

Sunday Chronicles: By the Seat of my Pants

Investment Piece: By the Seat of my Pants

Do you plan out what you’re going to wear or do you fly by the seat of your pants and put together outfits on the day of?

I do a little of both, and I love these different methods for various reasons. When I plan out an outfit in advance, I love the anticipation of it- knowing when I’ll get to wear it, making it perfect before hand, and the playing that can come from tweaking an outfit before hand. Throwing something together the morning of, on the other hand, has led to some of my favorite go-to outfits, patterns I would not have thought to mix, and a sense of whimsy that is hard to plan. I try to do a little bit of each- plan ahead and fly by the seat of my pants each week.

In the before, I tried to do my schedule (everything from work to social to posts to workouts) the same way, balancing structure and being free. There were days that leaned more one way or another, but I strived to do both each week. I have no idea if it’s the holidays or the new year, but I’ve lately been struggling to get on a schedule, meaning I’m only flying by the seat of my pants. And it’s killing me.

There are days when I’m running so hard to get the things that HAVE to be done done that I can’t even set up, wrap my mind around, plan for the next day. I can do free time, and can wing a lot, but when last minute and winging it are my only “plans” it exhausts me. It’s not that I don’t know how to get out of this “by the seat of my pants” cycle I’ve gotten myself into- sit down, make a schedule, adjust it as I need, and stick to it. But when you’re deep in a cycle it can be hard to do that- and when I get exhausted I sometimes can’t see all the things. This week, in the middle of my (large) closet, I announced that I had nothing to wear — so that’s how I can get.

If I love freedom and the times that I can do it by the seat of my pants, how can it drain me so much? (And yes, when I go too far in other direction- too much structure– I can get the same exhaustion)

My answer is balance, and this week that is my goal. To make myself sit down and do a schedule (that includes some wing it moments). Get things on the calendar. Plan. Let myself think not just a day in advance, but days. And I’m going to trust that when I get myself on that schedule, that there will still be moments when I fly by the seat of my pants–but that it will return to fun kind of flying and not the panicked kind.

What are you working towards this week? How’s your schedule? Do you love flying by the seat of your pants?

I want to hear about all of it!

Wishing us all a week of plans and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Clean Slate

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles

We’ve made it to the first long weekend of the year!

(I, too, am waiting on my prize for that!)

There are so many options –
A. Take the weekend and rest. Burrow down (my cat is good at that) and just let things pass.
B. Go wild (within constrictions of the panny, etc)
C. Call it a clean slate.

I’m choosing C (with a side of A). This year, I’ve been easing – slowly. Calmly. I know what I want to do, but have yet to really think it through, write out my goals, or anything that signifies a clean slate. Have I been working towards goals? Of course. Changing things? You bet. But it’s felt “unofficial”.

So. This weekend I’m taking the time. To make my lists. To clean things. To set myself up. To wipe the slate clean.

I know, I know. The new year was technically over a week ago. But who says that we can’t start over at any time? Why not use the time we have to restart?

It doesn’t have to be over the top. Big. Bold.
But I’m taking this time to really start over.
Think about what I want and how to get there
Start new habits. Break old ones.
Make things fresh- from my outfits on down.
Lists. Goals. All the things.
Write them down and get them going.

(And yes. Spending some time in bed with a good book and trying to get rid of these allergies!)

Does it matter if it’s the first or the 15th? I don’t think so (every moment is a new chance and all that). And who’s to say that easing in doesn’t make the lists and goals and habits even better?

I’ll let you know how it goes 😉
I would love to know- how are you spending this weekend?

Wishing us all a clean week and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Setting the Tone

Investment Piece: Setting the Tone

If you managed to catch up over the winter break I’m incredibly jealous. I had all sorts of plans and goals, and while I got things done, I’m still behind.

January is seen as a fresh start. And I love that! From setting my goals to taking stock to making lists, this a month I really relish. Usually, I love really taking my time in January (setting the tone if you will), really grounding myself, writing out my goals, and setting my year in motion.

This year has started a bit different, and this week has been a lot. On top of that, I’ve been under the weather, which has made everything a bit more difficult. One of my goals? Work on my time management- which has been hard when my energy levels are consistently zapped and little things are taking forever. Nothing is horrid, but since I’ve usually written goals, made plans, and set myself on a schedule after the holidays, it feels disconcerning to not have all that done.
And while I know I’ll get caught up- I’ll sit down, really think about what I want, write my goals, and start working towards them. I’ll get caught up. (If you’re in the same boat is me, you will too!)

But, even though I trust that, why am I so uneasy about being behind now?

For me, I think it’s a fear about setting the tone. We live in a society that prizes productivity and shuns rest (ironic as rest is a part of productivity, but that’s another conversation), and I think there’s a part of me worried that a slower than normal start (and a bad week) are setting the tone for a bad year. Super weird if you think about 2020 (or super explains the worry!) I know that even if I were ahead and written out all my goals and all the things, that not everything could have been accomplished this week. We’re given 52 weeks, not 1 for many reasons.
Beyond that, I know that rest and giving myself time, meeting myself where I am, and taking care of myself is part of my goals, and sets a healthy tone for the year.
Yet. I’m still uneasy with it.

However, all we can do us what we can do, and all we can do is take care of ourselves. Right?
My plan for the week? Carve out some time to work on my goals. Set a schedule. Rest. Work. Maybe even find time to play. I hope that the tone I set will take care of me all year long. And that if doesn’t, I can find it easy to adjust.

What about you? Are you a tone setter? How do you feel about the tone you’re setting right now? Any tips?

Wishing us all a week of great tones and amazing shoes!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: OOO Messages

Investment Piece, fashion blogger, dresses, spring cleaning, high fashion, CA TX

There comes a time in every holiday season where people just call it. No more work is going to get done, no one’s responding, so the OOO (out of office) emails go up and we all move strictly into holiday mode.
Maybe it’s the fact that we need a little cheer.
Maybe it’s all the snow on the East Coast.
Maybe we’re all just ready for this year to be over.

But I’ve noticed that the OOO are already up. People are already switching out of work mode. And it makes sense! This week is a big holiday week. This year has been rough and we’re all ready to start fresh.

I’m finding myself dividing projects into categories- the ones I need to finish this week and the ones I’ll put down and pick back up in January. There’s the end of the year thoughts about what to keep and what to get rid of, about things to do and not do.
Mostly, there’s a need for rest, which sounds so weird as we’ve been home so much more often than in any year past! But yes, rest.

Though I’m thinking of all of that, this isn’t my OOO. Yet. We have new posts coming Monday (tomorrow) and Wednesday. And of course, throughout the next few weeks you can shop sales with me by following me in the LiketoKnowit and ShopStyle Apps (@racheladelica!) Also, there are shoppable pictures in the menu here! But once Friday hits, we’ll be quite here. I’ll be posting some sales picks. And maybe some New Years thoughts, but from 12/25-1/3, we’ll be manly OOO.

Is it a bit preemptive to be thinking about OOO when I won’t be till the end of the week?
I’m not sure. I’m excited about what I’m sharing with you Monday and Wednesday, but am also exited for some days off to rest!

When are you putting your OOO up?
Wishing us all a week of winter cheer and amazing shoes!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Stress

Investment Piece: Holiday Stress

It’s the holiday season! Which means lots of magic and special moments. And it can also mean a lot of stress. There can be endless to-do lists, the house cleaning and decorating, the gift giving, and in the before all the events- parties, etc. Then on top of that, there are all the expectations and the desires to make things perfect. This is such a wonderful time of the year. And this is such a stressful time of the year.

I’ll be honest, I thought that this year might not be as stressful. Due to the pandemic (which yes, is stressful by itself), we’re at home and a lot of the events and “bigness” of the holiday season are naturally cut out. My family is choosing to do things much more laid back, and my friends are doing the same. While, even in the before, I would have told you that a holiday is not measured by how much you get done or the “perfect” way things are done (which let’s be honest, is not a thing), I especially thought that this year could be a respite of holiday stress.

Yet, I’m stressed. Holiday stress. I’m still feeling pressure to be perfect-in how I decorate, the small things I’m doing for others, in work, in everything. Right now nothing feels like it’s enough. Maybe it’s because I thought it would be so easy that things are so stressful? Or maybe I thought that because things were simple this year I could make them “perfect”, therefore putting more pressure on myself?

I’m not sure. We got the tree and lights up this weekend–and they look great! But I worried that we were late. I’m “behind” at work and feeling all sorts of pressure- I have a plan and things will get done, but I’ve been beating myself up about not being ahead or doing more.

In every aspect of my life I’ve been adding pressure and worried that things aren’t enough. I’m not going anywhere, there are no parties, and I’m not even exchanging a ton of gifts. But I’m feeling holiday stress.

If you, as my friend, came to me I would remind you that you are enough, that whatever gets done is enough, that perfect is not a thing, and the best moments are often unplanned and a little silly.
Why is it so hard to say that to ourselves (or myself)?

Because I know that’s true. This season has been full of laid back and special moments that will make this time during a pandemic amazing. There is good here and there is joy. I don’t know how to get rid of the stress, I’ve been working through my to-do list and I’m hoping that helps. I’m reminding myself (more than once daily) that the perfect I’m chasing is a myth and that I can relax (Champagne helps with this). I’m reaching out to friends. And I’m choosing to do things that bring joy.

Let’s see if it works.

Do you have holiday stress? How are you dealing with it? Do you have any tips for dealing with stress?
I’m all ears!

Wishing us all a week of respite and amazing shoes!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Traditions!

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I recently looked over this list of holiday traditions that I wrote about. Other than the events (Which from parties to the ballet are virtual this year), my list remains largely unchanged. And I’m happy! From eating to pjs to wishing for snow, I love my traditions and I can’t wait to dive right into them. What I’m adding this year? The tradition of grace- there’s so much changing, and we’re adapting. There are good days and bad. I’m not productive then I am. Grace is the thing I bet we all need most this year. And the faith that whatever we get done (or don’t), it’s enough. It’s something I’m adding to my list of things to do this year!

Traditions. They seem to be something that we cling to (maybe), enjoy, and are prominent at this time of year. If you think about what you enjoy at this time of year, most likely it can be traced back to a tradition. Me? I love traditions, especially holiday traditions. There’s something comforting about them, and if we let them, I’ve found that we can let them grow with us. There are things that I did as a child that I still love to do, and there are traditions that started a few years ago, and I love adding them to my list. No matter what or how you celebrate this is a season of tradition and family- and one of my favorites!
A few of my favorite traditions include:
1. Wishing for snow and collecting snow globes. Living between two places not known for their snow I’m obsessed. I love the fake snow that abounds and my goal is to one day see a ton of snow.
2. Decorations – I love all the holiday lights, trees, fake snow- all of it!
3. My sister, mom, and I get matching pjs for a gift on Christmas Eve- even though we’re no longer young it still makes waking up on Christmas special.
4. Traditional meals- not just the holiday meal but my mom’s Wassal (hot drink), her beef stroganoff on Christmas Eve, cookies, my Grandma’s Dr Pepper meatballs- it’s a season of eating.
5. Events like the Nutcracker. I love the ballet and as many times as I’ve seen it I just love the costumes, and dances. Related- this season I will watch “Miracle on 34th Street” about 1000 times.

I’d love to know – what are some of your traditions? What are you looking forward to?

Wishing us all joy and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Behind

Investment Piece: Let's get in formation

We’re headed right into the holiday season. And in a year that’s been different, with much more time at home, and a holiday season that should be pared down, you would think that I might be on top of things. Ahead of things even.

Alas, I am behind. Holiday behind. Ever since my area began “Stay at Home” orders back in March, I feel as if my schedule, preparedness, and even dressing goes in cycles. It’s as if I can have 3 or 4 days of great work, outfits, and productivity. And then 3 or 4 days where I’m not completely worthless (we never are), but everything from outfits to crossing items off my do-to list is just more difficult. I’ve managed, hopefully well, but on top of that now is the holiday season.

This holiday season should be great! It has to be laid back, you have the perfect excuse not to do anything you don’t want to, and it’s a chance to start smaller traditions or cut out traditions you hate. Have chicken or steak instead of turkey. Eat pie all day! Whatever makes you happy.

(Another story is how one of my best Thanksgivings was spent alone! Low Key Holidays are amazing)

And while I’m not traveling, there are no big parties, and my family is working on paring down and being laid back, I’m still somehow behind. On work-from calendars and posts to too many little things to mention. At life- from bills and planing to holiday cards and the like. On personal things- doing my nails (which just makes me feel better) has been on my to-do list for weeks. Is that the most important thing? Nope, but is it telling that a task that brings me joy I just can’t make time for? I hope not.

If I were writing advice to you, I would say that this is a holiday season to focus on what makes you happy. That the cards and the calendars and all those things either get done or they don’t, and that the important thing is taking care of you. Why can’t I take that advice? Probably a completely different post.

Maybe, as this is the holiday season where we all slow down, we can agree not to be behind. That behind is something we’re making up in our heads. That whatever gets put up or sent out is the best and that if we spent days in pjs eating chocolate that it’s a valid celebration.

I’m trying to think like that. And trying to get things done.
How are you dealing with this holiday season? Are you behind? Are you somehow getting things done? How are you feeling about it all?

Any tips or commiserating welcome!

Wishing us all a week of productivity and amazing shoes!
Xo RA