Sunday Chronicles: Letting Go

I went to write about letting go this week. Quelle Surprise- letting go is still something I struggle with! And it turns out I’ve written about it more than once (do I have issues letting go about writing about letting go? I guess so!) Instead of repeat myself- or beat myself up for not letting go soon enough I’m re-reading this and reminding myself as long as I am trying, it’s progress!

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A wise friend once said to me,” We do things until we can’t do them anymore”. She was referring to me beating myself up about not being able to make a choice- but on many levels she’s right. Every one of us hangs on to different things : ideas, people, things- and we hang on till we simply can’t anymore. There are so many different situations and so many different breaking points- but can we agree that the human truth is that is hard to let go of some things? Ideas, feelings, dreams, people, sweaters from 7th grade- any and all of these can be held onto for years.

And I’m the worst. Call it stubborn, call it loyal- but I can have a hard time letting go of things I love. Maybe it’s that the devil you know is better, fear of the unknown (are those the same? ), fear of loss, fear that nothing better will come along- there are times when we can all hold too strong and too long to things because of these and a host of other reasons. I have no answers for ideas, people, dreams- but clothes I can help with!

Here’s the thing about holding onto things for to long- and let’s be specific things you should let go of, there are tons of things you should hold onto forever, but that’s another post-if you hold onto the wrong things for too long, you’re not making space for new, better things. True in life, true in your closet. Is letting go easy? Not always, but some times you have to ask yourself – do I need this sweater from 7th grade? Or do I want new and exciting things?

I clean out my closet regularly but have found myself hanging onto things for that one day, or if I ever need whatever. I’m probably one of the only fashion bloggers to tell you that hanging on to some things out of nostalgia is aok (really), but some times you have to to let go. So this time -I did. All those things I’ve been on the fence on, the things I never wear- I’m getting rid of them. I got to the point where I coudn’t hang on anymore, and I’m finally ready to make room for new things (like fall Valentino boots!). And can I tell you? It feels fabulous!

I’d love to know: what’s your method for letting go of thing?

Wishing us all a week of making space for the good things to come, and of course 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: Seasons

a woman in a brown faux leather top and pants with a gold belt and black peep toe pumps by a fence and a white brick wall

To Everything: Turn, Turn, Turn
There is a season: Turn, Turn, Turn

My mom loved that song by the Byrds when I was a kid- and would sing it to us often. (And yes, it comes from a Bible verse!) As an adult I often sing this (or say it- singing isn’t in my list of talents) to myself to remind myself that seasons in life are normal. And needed. As another saying goes- nothing blooms all the time, so seasons of growth, of rest, and then of blooming are all a part of it. True of life, true of fashion (even as “reasonless” options get advertised to us).

A combination of life and fashion? I can often tell different seasons of my life by my go-to outfits. For example, there was a time in my life when a bunch of my schedule was going to the gym then changing into a form of lounge wear for errands. Then my location and schedule changed and the in-between outfits were cut as I would go from gym to home or gym to my day. Seasons where I have been in jeans a ton. Seasons where I would only wear dresses (true story as a young kid I would ONLY wear dresses, leotards or shorts. I don’t think I wore jeans will I was 10!)

We’ve been in a liminal season, with the pandemic and being at home more. And the changes that we all have been through- perhaps still going through- have changed not only our lives but a lot of how we’re dressing. Perhaps that (the pandemic, and honestly the recent actors strike) has me thinking about seasons. How we weather them, how they’re needed and not to be feared- and how to move from one season to the next.

I think it’s very easy (and tempting) to believe that seasons aren’t needed- or to rush them. Part of this (I believe) is that seasons take time. No matter what your “bloom” is- it takes time. And a part of it is the season of rest. Not creating. Then creating -blooming- takes its own time. We don’t live in a society that gives time. We want things instantly. Social media has led us to think we can only show highlights and finished products- or perhaps I should say that social media doesn’t reward any season that isn’t “blooming”. So most of us (me, it’s me!) feel like we should always be blooming (and maybe beat ourselves up when we don’t. Again -it’s me!)

As a creative and a human I know we need different seasons. I know that we need rest and inspiration and blooming-spring, summer, fall and winter. Yet-I can’t help but feel pressured to always be blooming. Perhaps these feelings have come to a head because I do feel like the past for years for me have been seasons of rest, of laying low- not of blooming. I have been painfully aware of that. And while I feel I might be ready to bloom again- there is a bit of fear and pressure around it.

Other seasons in my life have happened a bit naturally. This season I’m hyperaware, and yet also a bit unsure of what lays ahead. In the midst of that feeling that my body, my outfit, my pictures, my creativity must be 10000% perfect while changing, while coming out (still being in) an off season is –something I don’t know is comfortable and I don’t know how to spin as always blooming. Do you feel this way too? Is it really just me?

Knowing that seasons take their time, and change, and are all a part of it- singing the song to myself- helps. Being honest, even when it’s not social media shiny, helps. And having a bit of faith that all of our next seasons will get us where we need to be (because of course they will!) helps. What helps you when you’re feeling a season shift?

Any tips you have about seasons and how to navigate them are always appreciated!

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

Sunday Chronicles : It’s All in the Seams

This post is originally from a few years ago (there are times when it shocks me that I’ve been doing this for years!); but this is something that I’ve been thinking about recently. Not necessarily French seams, though yes, but the idea that things take time. The idea that something that is well made, and worth the time and effort, is better than something that is ready quickly, but made to fall apart. The idea that somethings, both French seams and ideas are meant to last.  Also, what fashion means to me, why I care about quality and what I can do to explain my views with you (more of all of that to come!).

And then, I remembered I wrote about this before: so I give you again, It’s all in the seams!
Enjoy!
XO RA

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Yesterday my mom and I got to talking about couture, really the magic of couture is seaming, lining, and fit. French seams, where you essentially double sew the seam so it’s encased, are the trademark of couture- they’re difficult, time consuming , and look amazing. The seams are part of what make couture fit so well, last so long, and look stunning. So they’re worth it. In fact the trick to catching couture – and real designer bags and shoes- check the insides

It got me thinking about what is worth it. We live in a world that demands everything instaneously- relationships, careers, material goods. Everything is expected to come quickly, it can be considered failure for things to take time. But here’s the thing about rushing things – quickly made seams fall apart. I can do a quick seam- but it won’t last, and probably won’t look good. And when you want something to last- and look good- you have to take the time to do the little things, whether that’s French seams or letting a relationship or career take its time. It’s a process, but rush the process and the inside falls out.

I would rather have a closet full of French seams- bags and shoes that last- things that are beautifully made than a closet full of seams that fall apart. I understand that this means I will spend more, and things will take time to accumulate. I’m okay with it. In fact, I’d like to build a life full of relationships that last, a good career, and moments that matter- those things take time as well. But, when I look at the French seams – it’s worth it.

Happy Sunday! Wishing us all a week of great seams and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: The Pause

a woman in a vintage slip and leather pants sits on the floor

For some of us in the States, tomorrow is the first Holiday of the new year (MLK Day). For others, you may have the day off due to the arctic blast that’s taking over the country! In many ways, after the first full weeks of January and getting our bearings, it’s our first pause.

A pause according to the dictionary: a temporary stop in action or speech.

Here the pause is a chance to take a bit of stock in how we’re beginning our year, what we want; and adjust if necessary.

I am not always good that the pause. Often, I find myself rushing – through everything from work to drinks to food to driving. It’s taken me a while to appreciate a great pause, but the older I get the more I love them. A pause can bring a lot of good- dramatic tension, time to think, time to plan, time to really take our time. While I used to think that getting everything done would be best for everything, I’m coming to think that really taking our time, pausing when needed is best.

So? What can we do with this pause? Rest. Take stock of the goals we set. Perhaps set some new ones. Make progress. Think about the plan for progress. Take a minute for ourselves- however that looks.

It may seem a bit silly that there is a pause this soon into the year, but I think that maybe this is when we need a pause the most. New Year energy has us rush into everything, we’re supposed to be new and different and better right away. A pause might be just what we need, so that we can rest and assess and then really become new and better.

How I am spending the pause? Resting. It’s cold here so a fire and reading are on my schedule. Of course, shopping sales (I’ll be posting my picks here tomorrow and of course you can shop along with me in the apps!) I’ll sleep in a bit, work out a bit, eat something yummy, and plan out my week/rest of the month. I may stay in sweats the whole time!

Do you get tomorrow off? Are you taking a pause? And how are you spending it?

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

Sunday Chronicles: Daring to Suck

Investment Piece: Setting the Tone

It’s the time of year when (most of us) set goals, think about what we want from the year, and make plans to go after it. In other words, make resolutions. There are much better sources on how to make and keep your resolutions, and how to deal with all of the things that come up while trying to change your habits. As I’m right in there with you, I don’t know that I am in any authoritative position to dole out advice.

But. The past few years have been – difficult in some ways to say the least. And I know that there are goals that I am determined to make progress on this year- and things I’m determined to get back to. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals and resolutions, and how to best achieve them and I have 2 main thoughts that are helping me.

First: Astrologically and Seasonally the “new year” doesn’t start till March/Spring/Aries Season. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t start changing our habits or going after our goals. It’s a bit of grace to tell ourselves that now, in this first week of January, we don’t have to go all or nothing. We don’t have to get it all done today. If the new year is still a bit away, we can make changes now to enter that season as our best selves- but we don’t have to kill ourselves to change over night.

This thought is helping me when things seem overwhelming or change seems too big. I remind myself that I have time- and that what matters is progress, even if it’s slow and tiny.

Second: I’m reminding myself that it is brave and change only comes when you dare to suck. Daring to suck may sound a little weird. It’s a saying that one of my acting coaches used all the time, and I’ve been hearing lately, meaning that to get good at anything- anything!- you have to be bad at it first. Any change (habit, goal you’re after, skill, etc) usually doesn’t come easily. To do something new well there is almost a guarantee that you will fail at it first. Most of us quit when we fail- it’s hard and brave to not be good at something and keep going till you get good at something.

One of my goals this year is to get back in shape. Cliche, I know. And not a discussion on anyone’s body. Personally, I love a great workout and my body looking a certain way, and this year between illness and injury I haven’t been able to do the physical things I like in the way I like them. Loves, it sucks to not be able to run/spin/dance the way I once could. It’s discouraging to be a bit more out of shape than I would like. Yet, every time I get on the treadmill or bike or sign up for a class, I remind myself that it’s ok to suck at all of that. That each time I do those things I’m getting better; and that sucking at something is a natural place to start. This mindset is keeping me going- and helping me get better. How’s that for ironic?

How are you sticking to your resolutions? Are you daring to suck? Do you believe in that? I would love to hear any and everything you got!

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

Sunday Chronicles: Letting Go

a close up selfie of a woman in red lipstick and the head of a giant nutcracker

Perhaps it’s just me, but we’re at the time in the holiday season where I’m simply letting things go. That doesn’t mean that I’m not celebrating, not in the spirit, not crossing things off my to-do list. I am doing all of that, and am excited about being with my friends and family in the coming weeks and doing all of the holiday things! What it does mean is that I’m taking all of those big expectations and “shoulds” and all the stress that comes from wanting to make this “the best holiday ever” and I’m just letting go.

Historically, letting go isn’t something that comes easily to me. I care a lot- especially at this time of year. And when I care I tend to worry and over think and fixate (all things I’m working on!). I realize that this is a time of year when we often take on more than we can chew- over commit, over expect, and over do; and it’s not that I have answers for how to stop any of these behaviors.And I too have all these things I want to do and make and have perfect.

But. We’re less than 10 days away from Christmas. It’s not that you can’t get more things done in this time-it’s just that we’re getting to a time when we are going to have to let things be how they are. The decorations look how they look. Our plans are what they are. The gifts will be what they are (and if nothing else gift cards will be given). My letting go is more accepting this and being happy with what we have, rather than fighting and over stressing to do the things that just won’t be done.

I feel like this is a yearly battle. At least for me. This time of year brings out so many wants and it’s so easy to get swept into how “we should do it” and how “it could be perfect”. Every year I claim I won’t let things overwhelm and stress me- and yet, about this time every year I’m having to face that things won’t go according to the biggest plans. The thing is- maybe they’ll go better?

Movies, songs, all the things will tell us that simple is better (and I will say we simplified our decorations this year and they are still stunning!) and the important thing is being with who you love (it is!) but it can be hard to accept that. So how do we?

I’m still figuring it out. Like letting go, it’s a process for me. My steps?
-I’m doing what I can. Sometimes that’s a lot, sometimes it’s not. And when I can’t meet my own high standards, I remind myself that they people who love me will love what I’m doing.
-Done is better than perfect. Hard to swallow, but often I keep trying to make things perfect when they could just be done. I also take this moment to remind myself that I am the only one who will notice the “imperfections” I see.
-I’m making plans for the new year- from dinners with friends to shopping to notes, instead of trying to cram everything in now and giving people the stressed version of me I’m moving what I can to the new year and am getting excited about those things.

Being happy with how things are and letting the holiday be what it will be- not easy at all. Yet, I think it’s a part of having a happy holiday season. So, how do you let go? How do you make this season happy and stress free?

Wishing us all a week of happy and stress free celebrations and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Gift Guide-Ing

I hope that the above inspires you in your gift buying this year! Below I’m linking these exact gifts AND some things that I love! If you need help with shopping- I would love to help you come up with personal gift ideas for that special someone!

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

Note: This post does contain affiliate links. While that does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from them. Thank you for your support!

Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Traditions!

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I recently looked over this list of holiday traditions that I wrote about. 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: Taking Time

A woman n a floral dress setting a table

This week (especially if you’re in the US) truly marks the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving. A TON of sales. Black Friday. Christmas Tree lightings (everywhere!). It’s both the most joyful time of the year- and a stressful time of the year.

Because with the holidays- and the joy and the celebrating, comes to-do lists and hectic travel and high expectations. It can also bring grief (especially if you’ve lost something or someone this year, as well as unmet expectations can cause grief- and that’s a hard grief to admit). The holidays can also bring activities and over scheduled calendar. So, with all the things that the holidays bring, how can we take time?
For ourselves, to truly be with family, to really sit and enjoy?

I’m not sure I have ALL of the answers (and I hate it when that happens!) but I can let you know what I’m doing in the coming weeks to make sure that I take the time- for everything I need!

– To-do lists. Yes, I’m a stickler for lists, as they help stay on task (and there’s a great feeling that comes from marking things off!). From chores to shopping to presents- I’ll be making lists and checking them off!
-Scheduling. Writing in Ink my workouts, time alone, time with family, etc. My workouts keep me a bit sane, I’m prioritizing those, but as an introvert I also know that I need time alone- so I’m scheduling that too! Parties and dinners and holiday schedules also go on my calendar, but I also like planning my shopping, etc. It not only helps me stay organized but lets me know when I’m behind- or conversely lets me know when I’m on time and can relax me!
-Turning off my phone. Not all the time, and not for the total of every event. But there are times when I think I’m just “taking pictures” or “answering a quick work email” and then I find myself lost on social media, scrolling- all of the bad habits that we all have. For multiple reasons I can’t just turn off my phone indefinitely, but I try (for at least part of every event) to really put my phone done and be present. Perhaps that’s not turning it off- but in these times it counts!
-Letting Go. This one is really hard for me. Even in the best of times, we can’t get it all done, make all parties (etc) or be perfect. A lot of this season, I think, is letting go. As those high expectations and worry about fitting it all in can take away from all the joy and the magic of the season. While letting go is something I struggle with, it’s never something I regret. So- I try extra hard at this time of year to let go at this time of year so I can make time for the things that actually matter.

How do you take time at the holiday season? For you, for your loved ones, for all that we have to do? I would love to hear all your tips!

Wishing us all a week of extra time (and pie) and amazing shoes! XO RA