Sunday Chronicles: Speeding Up

a woman in an exercise dress and sneakers running on a trail

Has anyone else felt aid things have sped up all of a sudden? And yes, the world is so much more open than it’s been in the past few years, and yes, I’m adjusting to that. And yes, this time of year is always packed-between birthdays, graduations, and the beginning of wedding season. Every day in May I know someone who’s birthday it is- and we’re talking about personal relationships, not just acquaintances. It’s a busy time of year and we all have a ton going on.

Yet, it feels that things are speeding up, above and beyond all the reasons listed above. Being busy and having plans is great, and yes, after a few years I’m excited to see my friends and do things.

But.

When things speed up, especially when they seem to speed up incredibly quickly, I can get a bit anxious. I want to do ALL the things, but I’m also one of those that needs alone time. I want to get my work done and grow, but I don’t want to do rushed work. In all honesty, I’m also still incredibly overtired, from being ill this January, from all the things, from speeding up. So, while I want all the plans and the growth, as things speed up, I’m trying to balance the speed with rest. Balance doing all the things with doing all the things well, spending time with everyone and making sure that it’s quality time.

Balance, especially when it involves finding the right speed can be difficult. Or it is for me.

In general, I think that we are all obsessed with speed. We like things fast, now, and hate waiting. My impatience feels that. And as speed is something that we can measure, speed – or how fast things are happening or others or how fast others can go- is an easy way to compare ourselves to others. And we know what they say about comparison (it’s the thief of joy).

I’m aware of all of this, and am also aware that when things speed up I put a lot of pressure on myself to do all the things. Which makes the balance much more difficult. So, these are a few things that I’m doing to make sure that I’m both speeding up and going at a pace that works for me:

-I’m scheduling down days. For me, I’m still needing more days off than I normally would and instead of judging that, I’m attempting to give myself what I need. This means there are times I say no to plans, times I rest instead of working out, and times when I occasionally ask for more time on projects.

-I’m trying to say “yes” to the plans that really excite me or serve a purpose. And while there are events that I can’t say “no” to, I’m attempting to be incredibly intentional with my schedule so that when I’m running around it’s fun- not a chore.

-I’m going with the flow as much as I can. Sometimes that means having to cancel. Sometimes that means saying yes at the last minute. Much of the time, it means listening to what I need, making sure I have buffer time, and trying to not feel guilty for any of it.

Both the speed and the balance are works in progress.

How are you dealing with things speeding up? Do you need to schedule down time or are you adjusting well? I would love to hear all your tips and how you do your schedule!

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

Mom’s Style

I’ve been posting this on my mom’s birthday for a few years now- it’s become tradition. Tomorrow is her big day (and today is Mother’s Day!). My mom and I are close, and yet different. However, as I get older I realize I’m more like her than I think, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Especially now, as some of us are apart from our families, I think about how the women in my life shaped me. I spent the past few years isolating with my mom- it wasn’t always easy, but I’m so grateful we did! Even though we spent the better part of the years not getting dressed up- I still learned about style from her over this past year. And yes, we’re getting dressed today! Hope whatever your relationship with moms are, today lands easy. Xo RA

InvestmentPiece: Mom's Style

Loves! It’s my Momma’s birthday! If you haven’t caught on, my mom and I are close, and I can’t begin to describe how much I love her, and how appreciative I am for all she does for me. Mom is a CPA and teaches accounting, she’s our CFO, and while that’s completely different from her creative daughter who thinks shoes are a necessity (I mean I need shoes, I occasionally want to eat); Mom’s style has influenced me and helped me become the fashionista I am today. So, what did I learn from Mom’s style? Glad you asked!

Stay True to Your Style

No matter the trend or what “you’re supposed” to do, sticking to what you love and what works for you is something to be admired–and makes you look stunning! Mom is a big fan of navy. She is known for her love of navy suits, shoes, and bags. There are years when navy is “in” and years when we’ve had to search for navy for Mom. That doesn’t matter to Mom, even when the styles she loves aren’t in she sticks to them. There’s a classic-ness in that, a commitment. That’s not to say Mom doesn’t try new things, but I’ve learned that you don’t need to be a slave to trends, that sticking to things you love is something to be commended, and when you find something that fits you–hang onto it!

Proper Undergarments Matter

Mom and I have had a lot of events recently and at everyone Mom has mentioned that she thinks I might need a slip. (Side note: I have slips, I’m not great at wearing them) Here’s the thing though: Mom may have a point. Lining, slips, proper garments: our clothes fit better when we make sure these things are taken care of. Proper fit is important (Mom is big on that too) and to ensure that the fit flows, proper undergarments help. (And let’s be honest, no one likes the look of lines!)

Invest in Your Suit
Something Mom and I agree about whole heartedly? Your suit, be it an actual suit, jeans or yoga pants, is something to invest in. Mom, being an accountant, is a fan of actual suits and made it a point to invest in good ones each year. Now that she’s in a place where she’s good on suits, Mom is having fun filling her closet with tanks, tops and blouses (both classic and trendy) to wear with her suits. However, she’s always adamant that her suits are high quality, she checks seams and linings, that it’s where she spends her money. And loves, I agree–what you wear the most should be where you invest your money.

Don’t be Afraid to Accessorize

Mom is a more conservative dresser than I am, yes. However, Mom is not too conservative for a great accessory! I can’t remember a time when Mom didn’t leave the house without a scarf, jewelry, pins, or gloves. We do a high tea occasionally, and Mom is always on point with her hats (and gloves!). The lesson? You can always be playful, and the details are always a place to have fun!

While Mom and I may have different opinions about certain fashions, but my Mom has some amazing style, and I’m so grateful she taught me all she knows!

Have some champagne to celebrate!

XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: When it’s not PERFECT

Investment Piece, fashion blogger, Sunday Chronicles, Perfect, when it's not perfect, everyday editorial, CA, TX

Loves, Happy Weekend! As you may know, I can be a perfectionist. I hold myself to a high standard, which manifests itself in various ways. I can have a great work ethic and produce things that are amazing. I can be paralyzed by the fear that things won’t be perfect and procrastinate, making sure that the “product” won’t be perfect (but I’ll have an excuse!). I can pick myself apart. I can admire other people’s work. Like most other perfectionists, I can tell you that it’s a great thing to want to hold yourself to a standard of excellence, but can tell you perfectionism is also an insercurity and an attempt to protect yourself. So, it’s great and not great. And one of the hardest lessons is how to move forward, do work, and be happy when it’s (whatever it is) not perfect. Loves, nothing is ever perfect (and yes, that’s hard for me to say), so how do we handle this?

I believe that this is where many people would tell you it’s the effort that counts, that good enough is good, and as perfection is an unattainable standard you do your best and be happy. Yes, all of that is true. It is still stunning to me how hard that is for me to at times accept. So how do I handle it? Loves, if we’re in the trust tree I have to let you know that the answer is not always well. I can waste time, money, and self peace in an attempt to “perfect” a project. And what I can tell you is that those things are not always worth it. So my new methods?

Give Myself Time
I’m finding if I can do posts/projects/etc early, spend some time away from them and come back, I’m either a-ok with what’s happened or I can “fix” it in a more productive manner. It’s the break that lets me have some space, and somehow that helps. And those times when I don’t have the time for that? I let go as best I can.

Mind Shift: vulnerable is more likable
There is something in my head that says that being perfect is the way to be liked (as broad as that can mean). It’s taking a lot of work, and a lot of more work, to discover that the best, real moments are the ones when I’m vulnerable. Does that mean that I don’t do my best? No. But it means I’m trying to not kill myself when I don’t have all the answers or something isn’t 180%. An acting coach of mine once told me that the audience wants to love you for all the things you’re embarrassed to show them. While this may not relate to every situation, I think it is true. Our humanness is raw and not perfect, but it’s beautiful.

Ask a loved one
When it’s hard for me to see that our humanness is beautiful I’m learning to ask someone I trust for their opinion. Often, their critique is not half as bad as my own. We could chat a whole other Chronicles on how hard it can be to ask for help, but I find another’s perspective is often what I need to end my manic pursuit of “perfect”.

Loves, this list is by no means complete, and it is by no means easy. It’s a process, and I’m learning. I’m striving to see that perfect is a great goal, but when I laser eye it, I miss so much. I’m learning that good is beautiful, and failures can be fun. I’m trying to be honest in my struggles and in my strive for perfection, be happy with great.

Are you a perfectionist? How do you deal with it?

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

Sunday Chronicles: Rest

Investment Piece, fashion blogger, pjs, bed, pj dressing, Zara, CA, TX

Does anyone else have an issue with rest? I don’t necessarily mean falling asleep (though that’s an issue too), but the actual resting. The funny thing is that I know that rest is an important part of any creative endeavor, and always needed. Join a gym? Start training? They will tell you the importance of rest days, that rest actually helps you become stronger, more fit, and helps you achieve your goals faster. I know all of this. So, why do I have problems resting?

Perhaps it’s that I feel like I have so much to do that taking any time off is putting me behind. Or perhaps it’s that I worry that rest isn’t productive, even though I know it is. How do you convince yourself that rest is important and how do you let yourself rest?

I’ve been thinking about rest a lot recently, probably because I’m at a point where I need some. Lately I’ve been transitioning from one (day) job to some new opportunities, trying to recover from some health set backs, and keep on top of everything. From feeling burnt out to overtired to knowing I need some time off, I’ve been there in the past few weeks. And yet, simply taking a few days off has felt completely undoable.

Yet, because I know I need rest- because I know rest would behoove my creative process, my fashion, and what we’re building here- rest has been hard for me to give me. I’ve let myself sleep in (which is so weird when you’re not young!), I’ve let myself play around all day, I’ve let myself nap and lay down. And yet- I still worry about all that I have to do- so my rest isn’t feeling restful.

In all honesty, I’m looking for suggestions. How do you let yourself rest? How do you let go of all the things you should be doing and just relax? Social media will make self care seem like it’s all face masks and rose, but when you need rest, how do you get it? Especially when you need more than a face mask and a glass of rose?

I’ve been taking it a day at a time, not looking too far ahead as that’s overwhelming right now. I’m doing what I can, letting myself have some down time each day, and attempting to be easy on myself when I do all that I can do. I’m trusting that little by little the rest will come- and I may even break down and take a few days completely off. But anything you can recommend I’m all ears!

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

Happy Easter and Passover!

close up of a chic hat with black and white polka dotted bunny ears

Beloveds! This weekend is both the beginning of Passover and Easter. If you’re celebrating, I hope that your celebrations are full of people (and food you love!). If you’re not celebrating, I hope that this weekend is restful- and still full of things you love. I’m taking the day to be with family and celebrate the holiday- we’ll be back tomorrow with fresh fashion!

Happy Holidays!
XOXO
RA

Sunday Chronicles: Reset Inspiration

I went to write about a reset this weekend. In all honesty? I’m burnt out (not due to the blog or fashion but being completely wiped leads me to being VERY uninspired and behind), and that on top of worldly events (war, pandemic, etc. I know we’re supposed to be over it all but what if we’re not?), and I’m currently trying to stay afloat. In a perfect world, we could all have some time off, some time to reset. However, in the world we’re in we’re often resetting on the go. How do we do it? What do we need to completely reset? I looked back at this post- and I’ve been doing the same things- movies, rest, some favorite foods, cat snuggles. I’m hoping that we’ll get to a point where I feel like myself again. In the meantime, I’m still looking for reset inspiration- and open to any and all ideas!

Xo RA
Investment Piece, fashion, blogger, high fashion, fashion stories,

I’m going to call myself out on something I’m probably not supposed to:

Lately, I’ve been un-inspired.

Part of it has been my schedule. I’ve been a little overbooked, a little tired, and a little in need of time off. Forcing the issue: trying to plan shoots, outfits, doing the admin, all the things, has left me feeling really depleted.

The weird thing? I’m really excited about some of the things in the works. Outfits/shoots/collabs. There is so much good stuff coming!

So, where has my inspiration gone?

I’ve been battling massive headaches with the weather changes, and that could be a part. This month has just felt heavy in some ways, and that could be it.

But, I’ve made the decision that instead of forcing the inspiration this weekend, I would let it find me. So I took time off (could you tell?). I went to the movies (twice! A Star is Born for the second time and First Man-see them both!) I avoided social media. I vegged out. And by Sunday evening, I’m hoping that things are back to normal–that I’m inspired/working/excited.

My question for you, my loves, what do you do when you’re not inspired? How do work through when you’re depleted? Is there anything you would like to see on site? Are there any questions you have for me?

Comments and emails and DMs are all open! Tell me all about it!

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

Sunday Chronicles: Effortless

Investment Piece: Effortless

There is a myth, or ideal really, that most American women–especially those who love fashion adhere to; that being “French”, or effortless is something to aspire to being. That somehow to be able to throw on anything and have it look perfect,to have your hair fall perfectly everyday; that it is possible to not really try and that you will look perfect and things will work out. And here’s the thing–this is true sometimes. We all have days where our hair is somehow perfect, and no matter what we put on it looks great, our careers and relationships just seem to click and flow; and everything requires minimal effort. I do love effortless days–they make everything seem easy and doable.

On the other hand, the great Tom Ford has said “Dressing well is a form of good manners”. I’m not saying to dress well and being effortless are mutually exclusive–but as much as we strive for effortless, let’s be honest–we all experience the other side of the coin too. We all have days where we have to think about what we wear, try on many options–put effort into our clothes. We have days where we have to spend time on hair and make-up, maybe put in extra effort into our relationships and career because it is needed. Is this effort a bad thing? Hopefully it pays off– and let’s be honest , there are times when putting in the effort is fun, it feels good to try sometimes.

I often long for effortless. It’s a dream to have every outfit be a hit, hair that always falls into place, things that come without too much hard work. Yet, I find I often have to put in effort. I can try (too hard at times) and there are still outfits that didn’t work, bad hair days, and things that came with intense amounts of effort.

Are these the only two options–putting in effort or being effortless? Are there the types of people who have to try and those who don’t? I don’t have all the answers–I know, that bums me out too. I do think that all of us are both of these types though. I believe that we are all capable of effortless days–and all have days where effort is required. Here’s the big epiphany- I don’t think that one is better than the other. Days where everything from your t-shirt to hair to relationship and career just work are amazing and you should cherish them. Days where you have to think and try for your outfit, lipstick, conversations and meetings are also amazing and you should cherish them.

And some days are in the middle- a mix of effort and effortlessness and those might be the most special of all.

Maybe effort and effortless are two sides of the same coin; maybe we need one to appreciate the other. Maybe aspiring to effortless is something you should do; maybe trying, even trying too hard occasionally, is something you should do too. All I know is that both can feel good–and that both kinds of days can be good. So this is my wish for us all: great days this week–whether that means you have to put effort into your hair or not and of course, amazing shoes.

xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Change

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles Change

There’s a saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, but the jist is that none of us are incredibly comfortable with change. Yet, all of us, if asked, wouldn’t want to be in the EXACT same place in 5 years. Meaning that we all want change, at least on some level.

And yes. I can’t think of anything that rings more true. We all want certain things: be it business, personal, or any combination thereof, most of us want to be moving forward and achieving something. Does that mean that change is easy, even when it’s something we really want? No. I’m stubborn. I admit it. I also am one of those people that have a hard time with sudden change, and change in general. (Loves, I promise I’m working on it.) So, this isn’t a post about how to deal with change, or all of my tips. That would be the blind leading the blind. In fact, if you have great tips about how to deal with change, I would love to hear them!!

What I can tell you about change is that it’s for the good. Even when it feels scary. And yes, I have to tell myself that almost daily. Change, be it fast or slow, is the natural order of things, takes us where we need to be, and if we can stop fighting it (again, talking to me), can be fun. This picture? From way back when I first started Investment Piece. I had no clue what I was doing, just that I knew I had a passion for fashion and storytelling and that there had to be a way to combine the two. Loves, we’re all grateful that things changed from that time. (Believe me)

Today is the first day of spring. And we like to call it the season of renewal and rebirth, and while it is, those are other words for change. I know I have big goals, and want to be in a different place at end of the season. Which means I have to change. Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but change can be hard for me. In fact, this past week in the US we changed our clocks (spring forward) and as a little reminder about how well I deal with change, my sleep schedule has been a mess! The change has really been hard for me to adjust to- but I’m getting there. I’m also getting there with all of the changes I want to make, even when change is difficult for me.

Here’s what I’m doing:
I’m reminding myself that change happens with or without my say so, so I might as well change in the way I want to grow.
To take things slow, there’s no need to 180 overnight.
And finally, be excited that change means that things get better. The proof? My old posts.

I would love to know your tips for dealing with change!

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

Cinderella Shoes: A Blog Birthday

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In honor of the release of Disney’s Live Action “Cinderella” I thought I would share some of my favorite “Cinderella” feeling shoes.

From top: Brian Atwood, Marc Jacobs and appropriately named “Cinderella”.

Happy weekend and may your shoes take you magical places!

Above was my first blog post, on this day 7 years ago. (Complete sidebar: I can’t believe it’s been 7! years. It feels like yesterday and at the same time feels like we’ve always been here- in all the best ways!)

I didn’t know what I was doing, even though I had taken classes and tried to prep myself (know how I always tell you I’m back at tech? It used to be MUCH! worse). There’s a chance I still don’t know what I’m doing- I feel like I’m still learning, though I will say that I have a much more firm grasp on what my vision is (telling our stories through fashion). People will tell you that the blog is dead- but I can’t tell you how much I still love this little corner of the internet that we share, and the community we’re building- and I love that we’re still growing.

Because it’s the blog’s birthday I thought we should celebrate, and while yes- that does mean fantastic shoes (so put some on and have a fun drink for me!), I’d also like to share some lessons that I’ve learned over these past 7(!) years!

-Your dreams will change. Grow. I think the best thing is to grow with them. Sometimes that means taking breaks, sometimes it means non-stop work, but at the end it should be worth it. This part (even the work) should be fun. Even when I’m frustrated with tech or what I want to say or the myriad of other things (this is still a job) I’m so grateful I get to do this. Fashion is fun to me, and I hope that comes through in my stories.

-Your path will take its own time. Especially with “influencers” (I have feelings about that word) there is always someone new or with more followers or reaches goals before you. I would be lying if there were times when I wasn’t envious of what others are doing- but I have to remind myself that their path is not mine. All I can do is the best I can, telling the stories how I know (growing and changing of course) and trust. It’s so cheesy to say but I do really believe that what’s for you is for you- it may take time and work- but it’s out there.

-Sometimes our stories are difficult to tell. I really think that fashion is how we tell our stories. And yet, there have been things that have been hard to talk about here (like how sick I was recently. I just didn’t want to post nonstop stories of me in sweats on the couch!). Sometimes, our stories are what we’re trying to be and not what we are. It can make fashion both endlessly fascinating, yet it can also leave you feeling like you have to keep up appearances. (And yes, social media and all the things are part of it.) Boundaries have been hard for me (not just here, but in general), but having a job that’s about sharing has lead me to firm up my boundaries. Not that I don’t love sharing with you! But not every story is for sharing- and that’s ok too.

I’ll be honest, this blog birthday kind of crept up on me. As you know, I’ve been sick and while I’m finally feeling as if I’m getting back to myself, there are still things to catch up on (clearly). In the coming weeks be on the look out for a birthday give-away, and more fantastic shoes.

Thank you for being a part of my journey. I’m so grateful for you, I hope that this week is full of magic and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Is Fashion Frivolous?

Investment Piece: How to Star Gaze

With everything that’s happening in the world, it’s difficult not to question what we’re doing here. And I don’t just mean here- in my tiny little corner of the internet- but in general. Here. This rings especially true for those of us who’s pursuits are more of the creative kind. As I think about the suffering and the potential for destruction that’s happening around the world, I can’t help but wonder- is fashion frivolous? Should we be putting our energy into something else?

I don’t make light of anything that’s happening. It’s heartbreaking and important and everyone in the Ukraine and in war’s path needs and deserves our support and care. Those heavy things deserve our attention and our care (even when doing so is hard). And yet- I can’t bring myself to tell you that fashion is frivolous, that it doesn’t matter.

Yes, maybe now is not the time to be shopping thoughtlessly; perhaps our outfits aren’t the foremost things in our minds. But. While there is not a magic outfit that could bring about world peace (how I wish there were), I still firmly believe that fashion is simply a means with which we tell our stories. And now, more than ever, our stories matter.

Investment Piece: Blue Christmas

I think it’s easy (and a bit lazy) to call fashion frivolous. In some instances, fashion is a luxury, it can be a hobby, and fashion is easy to look down upon as it doesn’t offer any solutions to heavy problems. Yet. Fashion is a trade, a skill, an art. The men and women who make textiles and craft our garments are skilled workers who provide us with at the least a form of shelter and at most, storytelling material.

Even when things are hard and heavy, even perhaps when we aren’t always paying attention to what we’re wearing, our fashion tells our story- from uniforms to support to statements. And our stories matter. The story that we’re telling now may be heavy, but it may also be hopeful. Maybe it’s a story of support for people who are suffering, maybe what you wear lets someone know you’re an ally. Perhaps what you wear tells the story of survival, getting through the day, the story of revolution.

And maybe, by telling our stories we give others the permission to tell theirs.

There are a lot of stories out there right now. Stories that deserve our attention and our help and our reverence. Some of those stories are being today with fashion. So, how can we call fashion frivolous?

(I’m not even getting into how fashion can be a release, can make you feel good, can give you something to look forward to.Fashion can also be joyful, and even in hard ship joy is necessary and sacred. This is a mulit-layered topic, but I think it starts with the understanding that fashion is meaningful.)

I know right now we’re all aware of the world and its suffering, I am and I don’t want to make light of any of it. It’s not the time for carefree frolic of any kind. But, even though there is no magic peace outfit, maybe our fashion (and the support of those who make it) is a part of the solution and not some distraction? (Though if you need a distraction right now there is nothing wrong with that!)

I don’t concede that fashion is frivolous because fashion is a part of who we are, and we all matter.

Wishing us all a week of peace, hope, and amazing shoes. Slava Ukraini!
XO RA