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

Sunday Chronicles: Woman In Gold

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In another life I would have been an art thief– or an art investigator, insurance agent, etc.  I am simply fascinated by the value we place on art (it makes the living worthwhile) and the act of stealing art–and the act of recovering that stolen art. My interest began a few years ago when my mom and I began reading novels and non-fiction books about the subject–and I’m just hooked. The Gardner Museum Heist, Nazi theft of art, Monuments Men–all the stories are just spellbinding. So of course I fell in love with the story of Maria Altman who fought the Austrian government to reclaim the portrait of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, painted by Gustav Klimt and stolen by the Nazis.

The movie got lukewarm reviews–but I loved it. I think what happened during WWII was horrific,  but these are stories that we need to tell over and over again. The Holocaust was not only a mass murder of a people; it was a theft of people’s culture, homes, memories and was orchestrated by the Nazi government. I have jewelry, dishes, artwork in my home that are made special because those things belonged to my grandparents or were family heirlooms. I can’t imagine those items being stolen from off of my walls or off of my tables because of my religion. As much as the stories of the Nazis stealing from people can be down right upsetting, I found comfort in the justice that Marie Altman’s story contains. Art does make life bearable. While we can have debates about who owns what and museum’s roles in the care of art, in this particular case (and others like it) I don’t think that anyone can argue that the surviving families of the Holocaust, or those whose possessions were stolen by Nazis, should have their belongings returned.

So see the movie! Tell me what you think! I also read the book (pictured above)–it goes into way more detail, and also made me long to go to the opera in Vienna (I have shoes that would look great there). Also, because any excuse to shop, the Neue Galerie in New York (where Adele’s portrait now hangs) is selling this specialty lipstick set inspired by the painting. Of course I bought one and of course I love it!

Wishing you a week of amazing art, some history lessons, and of course fabulous fashion!

xo

RA

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Sunday Chronicles: Reset

Investment Piece: How to Holiday: Red and Sparkle

We aren’t waiting anymore, which always feels good.
And now that we’re not, we can take stock: of the new month, the holidays, where we are, where we’re going. 2020 hasn’t been the easiest of years-the pandemic and how that has affected all parts of our lives, among other things. Now we’ve made it to the holiday season, and while it is beginning to feel hopeful, it’s also felt like this year has been a lot.

How I’m dealing with it all (the end of waiting, the start of the end of the year, the hope and the fear) is a reset. I’m taking time today to take stock. What is it that I want to get done in the rest of the year? What is the foundation I want to set for 2021? What do I want to act like? And most importantly, what do I want to wear?

My reset today is contemplating all of that, making plans, resting, and using this break to set up the rest of the year for all that I want it to be. How are you spending today? Are you resetting?
What is it we want from the rest of this year and how can we get it done?

I’ll let you know where my reset gets me!

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

Sunday Chronicles: Go Vote

Investment Piece: Go Vote

This is an image I post on my personal Facebook page every election to make the point that change happens on the local level. That it’s in your best interest to care about what’s happening in your community. And this image is just funny!

I almost didn’t post it here, I resisted doing this post. If you’re in the States (or watching from abroad), you know Tuesday is Election Day. You may have already voted, you may be tired of election emails and flyers and calls, you may be feeling a lot (from outrage to exhaustion), you may be doing a lot (voter outreach), or may be worried you’re not doing enough. I am all of that too. This is a place for fashion, and if it’s a place of respite for you I don’t want to take that away from you. I promise not to lecture, or try to sway your vote, but as small a platform as this may be, I felt I had to say something.

Voting matters. Policy matters. We all try to be apolitical, but the reality is that politics and policy affect our lives–so when given a chance, we should vote for the world we want, the policies that would help the collective we.

The mission of Investment Piece is to tell stories using fashion. I firmly believe that fashion and stories matter. That art and beauty matter. That all of us (all our neighbors) matter. There could even be an argument made that art and beauty and each other are the only things that do matter.
I love my job. I love coming up with outfits and telling stories and showcasing other people’s stories here. It feels me with joy, and I know I’m lucky to do something that I love.

I want more joy (and art and stability and all the good things) for all of us. It won’t solve everything, but voting is my way of getting us more joy. Joy starts at a local level, and voting should start there, too.

Vote, research, vote for all the things and joy and hope that you want for the collective we. Here, we’ll be back to fashion soon, I promise. Thank you for indulging me on this message. I hope it wasn’t too much!

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