Sunday Chronicles: Back to Normal

Investment Piece: Back to Normal

I’ve mentioned before how much I love my spin workouts and spin classes. With the pandemic, lockdowns, and trying to stay safe I haven’t really been able to indulge in one of my favorite things for months. Getting back to normal, or at least a part of it to me, involved getting back on a bike. Or so I thought.

Recently, meaning longer ago than I would like to admit, I bought myself a spin bike for home to use with various apps and online classes, to get back to normal and get back on a bike. The bike has been sitting, waiting to be assembled. I’ve gone on runs, completed other workouts, and had a lot of down time. I’ve missed spin class and been jealous of other people’s home bikes. And yet, the bike has stayed in its box.

If this is a part of getting back to normal for me, why can’t I bring myself to put it together? Are you resisting anything “normal” for you right now?

Investment Piece: I workout

I actually plan on making myself put the bike together today (it’s part of my fall “redo” of the house). And while I would love to tell you that between battling allergies and work and all the things, what’s been keeping me from putting together this “normal” piece for me is all of that, I know it’s a little bit more.

Honestly, I’m scared that it won’t be the same. The bike, the classes, the new normal. And loves, it won’t. It can’t. Even if it’s the best bike and the online classes are amazing, it won’t be the same as going to studios that I love with people I love. This bike will be getting back to normal, but it will be the new normal. And admitting that, even after all the months at home and adjustments and precautions, has been difficult for me.

I’m not going to lecture you on what you, or we as a country or group, should be doing about pandemic precautions. It shouldn’t be a touchy subject, but it is, and we all have various levels of comfort with various activities. For me, right now, the bike at home makes the most sense. But it also means accepting that normal right now is not the normal I knew.

New is fun! It’s exciting and shiny. But it can also be scary, unknown, and at times lonely. There are things that I loved about lockdown, and spending more time at home. But there are times when these times feel scary and unknown.
So I’ve left a bike I know I’ll love in the box. I do know I’ll love it. I plan on ripping the bandaid off today, putting it together, and I’m sure later on IG I’ll be posting about how much I love having a bike at home. And even, when things are the most back to normal, I know I will probably love having a bike at home for when I can’t make class, or when I need to workout on my own timeline. The happiness is certain.

However, there’s also a sadness and a little uncertainty. And I would be lying to you if I didn’t admit that, too. Maybe both the happiness and the sadness are part of getting back to normal. And maybe, instead of avoiding that, the truth is we’re lucky to be able to feel so much.
Is that normal?

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

Sunday Chronicles: VOTE!

Investment Piece: Be Ambitious

Beloveds, if you’re in the States you know that Election Day is 11/3, but voting has started! Several states have begun early voting, mail in voting, and absentee voting! It’s a great day to research the voting places in your district, to research your local and federal races, and to make your voting plan (if you haven’t already!). My state opens early voting on Tuesday, and my plan is to get in and cast my ballot ASAP.

Your voice is important. You matter. Your vote matters (otherwise no one would be trying to make it hard to vote). I’m not going to claim that voting is the only route to change- but I will say that change happens at the local levels (the mayor in Jaws was still the mayor in Jaws 2!) and that I believe in our duty to be involved. We know I love shoes, but what’s more important than those? Voting. Let’s make our voices heard.

See you at the polls!

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

Sunday Chronicles: Being Dumb

Investment Piece: Dumb

loves, I’m laid up with allergies and a sinus infection  there’s been a lot of tea and resting, and thinking. During the times that I can’t be “fashion”, what am I? During these times when all of our schedules have been off and we may not have been our best- does that make us who we are? I wrote this when I first started this blog; I was figuring out how to write, how to shoot, how to do this. Not to mention, what my voice and purpose were. I like to think we all have come a long way. But, there are still things that remain true: like we’re layered, that loving this concept of fashion says nothing about your intelligence, and that we’re all still growing.xo RA

Does loving fashion mean you’re dumb?

If you know me for five minutes you catch onto a few things- I love fashion, especially shoes, and I’m not ashamed of that fact.  Is this the only defining feature I have? Heavens no! Although, to be fair, it is an obvious one. To me this quality is one that goes with being tall and blonde– it’s who I am, I give no thought to it.

So imagine my surprise a few years ago at a dinner party I threw, with a delicious champagne risotto I’m still proud of, that a friend of mine turned to me and said, “I’m surprised you’re a good cook, I mean you like fashion”. Really? Liking one thing automatically prevents you from having another skill set?

Know me for ten or fifteen minutes you pick up on other things- I love sports (don’t call me when my teams are playing), I’m an insatiable reader, I love true crime, cooking, am religious about my workouts, and have a weird obsession with art theft.   Do any of these qualities ultimately define me? I think not–aren’t we all really complex, layered creatures? One quality cannot define a person–and if we have to make a fashion tie in, if I was one dimensional could I love both high end shoes and sweat pants? Probably not. And I do.

But let’s examine the real issue– if we can agree everyone can have more than one interest, does liking fashion make you dumb? Is fashion dumb? I, clearly, am going to say no. Argue what you like–clothes have power. Putting on a certain outfit, a certain pair of shoes–you move a certain way, you feel a certain way, it affects you. That isn’t dumb– that’s power. Also, look a Zac Posen dress, look at the draping, tell me that’s not art– not a superior craft. I will argue for days that shoes that are well made are easier to walk in, no matter how high the heel.  If there is that much skill and power in what you put on your body, how can it be dumb? How can an interest in that be dumb?

So, somewhat proudly, I tell you — no fashion doesn’t make you dumb. If anyone tells you other wise look them in the eyes and dare them to prove it to you.

Wishing us all a week of layered thoughts and amazing shoes!

xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Rituals

Investment Piece: Rituals

I’ve been thinking a lot about rituals recently. When I think of rituals, I can’t help but think of church (specifically Catholic Church, even though I was not raised Catholic), but really, we all have so many rituals. How we wake up, and our morning routines are rituals. Our evening routines are rituals. How we pray. How we mourn. (Again, the church thing). So much of what we do as humans can be based on rituals. And I don’t know about you, but with the pandemic my schedule and my rituals are off.

I can tell you what sets me up for my best days-my rituals. Naming at least 5 things I’m grateful for, a couple of goals for the day, at least one HUGE cup of coffee, a walk, a hard workout. But lately, these rituals have been all over the place. There are days I’m ready to go at 7a, and days I sleep into 9a. (Don’t get me started on my sleep schedule in the pandemic). I’ve been thinking about how I could set a morning ritual- but so far nothing has stuck.

If you’re in the States, you can agree that our rituals for mourning (the huge number of dead) and the loss of so much (life isn’t back to “normal”) have gone completely out the window. Which makes mourning, on both a personal and a national level difficult. It can make functioning difficult.

So, if on many levels, our rituals are being disrupted, what do we do?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Do we do our old rituals half way? Come up with new rituals? Wait till we can do what we need?
Maybe? I don’t know

This is what I’m doing.
I’m trying to stick to the rituals that work for me- which means making my mornings work no matter what time I wake up. It means sticking to my rituals even when it’s just me and it’s imperfect.
I’m adapting. I’m trying new things, new routines, new rituals. Some are working and sticking. Some are not.
I’m waiting. I’m hoping there will be normal, we can mourn and do our rituals together. I’m not stopping our lives, but I’m holding space.

How are you dealing with your routines and rituals right now? Are they different? What do they look like?
I would love to know and learn from you!

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

Sunday Chronicles: Behind

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles

I was raised by women who believe in being on time. In fact, not on time, early. 15 mins early is on time? More like 30. I was a straight A student in high school, and was also raised to be prepared.

Both lessons I’ve tried to take into my adult life as much as possible.

Loves, I am behind. Not a little behind. Not 5 mins late. Behind, as in there are days when I wonder at what point am I catching up and at what point am I starting over?

The reason I’m behind? More than one. Family issues came to the forefront. In the middle of cleaning out my closet, planning more than one shoot, keeping the editorial calendar current, collabs current, personal life up, back pain, etc, etc. The last few weeks have been filled with feelings of overwhelm. And the knowledge that I’m behind, and would rather be ahead.

I’m not sure how to get in front once we’re behind. Do you? The following is what I’ve been doing, and it does help, though I’m sure that there might be better techniques (and if you’ve got them I would love to hear them!)

I’ve been honest
With clients, friends, family, whoever has asked. It’s not an easy thing to admit. That I’m behind. That I don’t think I can make that event, or deadline. That I need to push somethings back. That there’s a lot on my plate and I need some help. But. When I don’t admit it, the behind gets worse. And I’ve found that most people get it. My clients understand and need the extra time themselves! My friends and family understand I can’t make it, or pitch in and help. In fact, it’s made some of my relationships better to admit that I need a little help. Being behind as a good thing? Maybe.

Prioritize
I’m so behind there’s no way I’m getting everything done in a day. Or two. So, each day I’ve tried to limit my to-do list to 2 or 3 things I KNOW I can get done. I’m still aware of allllll the things, but actually getting things crossed off helps. And when I have too much to do I tend to do nothing. Weird? Maybe. But, true, for me at least.

Be OK with it
This may be the hardest thing. There are things I’m not getting done (though maybe I will at some point) and I’m behind. If I don’t like admitting it, I sure don’t like it. But. It’s where I am. The things that HAVE to happen, are happening. And I’m finding they all happen “on time”. And the things that may not get done? Maybe they don’t have to? I’m slowly and surely learning to be ok with that. It’s not easy, but it’s helping.

I would love to hear any and all tips you have about getting ahead once you’re behind!!

Wishing us all a week of not being behind and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Labor Day

Investment Piece: Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! If you’re in the states, I hope that you have time off (in all ways) and get to relax. If you’re not, I hope this weekend is full of amazing and relaxing moments. We here at Investment Piece are taking today and tomorrow off, we’ll be back Wednesday, Septemeber 9th with all new exciting content. From videos to new collabs, fall has so much I can’t wait to share with you! There are a ton of sales this weekend, and if you want to stay updated with my picks, please follow me on the LiketoKnowit app!

Happy Labor Day!
Xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Perfectionism and Mantras

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles

I did some more flashing back this week and came across one of the first Sunday Chronicles I wrote. It’s a subject I keep going back to: perfectionism, and how I deal with it. The story of my life, in other words. The reminder that some battles are constant both encouraged me and scares me. Spin class is one of the ways that I’ve always dealt with it–but right now I’m working out at home (which isn’t bad!), but it means I’m having to encourage myself. And that looks different. Weirdly, I’m saying all these things to myself. Not weirdly, they work!
Enjoy my first thoughts on the topic!
Wishing us all a week of onward and amazing shoes!
XO RA

Perfectionism and Mantras

I’m a perfectionist. Which means I hold myself to impossible standards, am hard on myself–and all those things you’ve heard–that perfectionists procrastinate, etc? Yes, those are true about me. In fact I’ve spent a vast majority of my life striving to be perfect–and not always being nice to myself in the process–and being even harder on myself when I was unable to be perfect. Sadly, I think that being perfect is something that doesn’t exist.

I still believe in perfect shoes and outfits–but that’s probably a different story.

Get to know me a little and you’ll find that I love to work out. And I love workouts, like Soul Cycle, where encouraging mantras are said and they uplift you–and you feel good. One of the favorite mantras–and one I’ve seen in several places this week so it’s on my mind–is “The Way You Do One Thing Is The Way You Do All Things”. Which is great when I’m in a dark spin class–because I can sprint and jump and climb and do it well. But what about the things that I do not do well? The things I flat out suck at? The list of my talents is long–but I fear it is out numbered by my flaws. I’m human (hard to accept)– and this means I’m messy and unfortunately for me, cannot do all things perfectly. So this phrase has never sat well with me.

However, a spin teacher I love (Angela Davis if you’re ever in LA) has begun to say, “You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be brave”.  Now this I can get behind. If I have to accept that I cannot be perfect–I get brave. Brave means taking risks, and trying, and doing your best. Brave I can do.

Another saying I love is “You have to have compassion for yourself, you cannot be brave every time, so when you can’t be kind to yourself”. Which is another way of saying “You have to give 100% of what you have right now, which will be different than tomorrow and different than yesterday, and that’s ok”. Let’s be honest–life can be hard, and even if we’re trying to be brave, we don’t always get there. I need to hear that it’s ok for me to try my hardest–and that my hardest will be different each day. This I can do.

So I’m trying, I’m being brave. I ramble –and I know there is no fashion tie in. Although, we could say that you should try that outfit you’ve been thinking of, and if it doesn’t work–it’s ok.

My hope for us this week is that we can all be brave, and when we can’t be as brave that we can have compassion towards ourselves. Oh–and I wish for us amazing shoes!

Happy Sunday!

xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Structure

Investment Piece: Back on the Grind

There is so much going on right now. In the world. Probably in your world.
Even though we are spending more time at home I often feel like I’m busier than ever. And yet, still days when I have no time and get nothing done. A paradox, I know.

Among all the things right now, one thing I’m really struggling with is structure.

I can be bad at time management in the best of times, over and under estimating how long it will take to do something. I’ve been known to procrastinate. Working from home, like I have for years, has always had its challenges. But, in the before, I was always able to manage. Have a schedule, that if it was loose, I could stick to. My days had rhythm and were a mix of work and relaxation. I had structure.

Now, I feel like that’s all gone out the window.

Working at home, living at work, having no where to go, it’s taken a toll on my schedule. On my structure. And some of that has been great! I feel like I’m finally learning how what I want in a home and a schedule, what really makes a day great, and how to motivate myself.
But.
Some has been hard. With a schedule that can be all over the place, it has been difficult to work on some days. Things are hard to start, stick to, and little things seem to eat up my time. I’m at home more but haven’t had a true, full day off in months.
The good days are really good, but the bad days are really bad.

A friend of mine recently shared that she had started am/pm rituals for herself. They sound great-turning off her phone at 8pm, an early morning walk. I’ve been meaning to add those kind of structures to my day, but nothing has stuck yet.

I know that this post is a bit more down that I usually write. Even when I don’t have the answers (which can be often), I try to stay upbeat. And I hope that is coming through! Even on the days when I feel like I’m flailing there are good things.

But I know I do better with a little bit of structure. And I’m not 10000% sure how to create that for myself right now.

What are you doing? What’s your daily schedule? Are you able to stick to it right now?
I would love any tips you have to share!

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

Sunday Chronicles: How Are You Sleeping?

Investment Piece: how are you sleeping?

How are you sleeping right now? Sleep and me? We’ve never had the easiest relationship. My mom will tell you that I started sleeping a straight 12 hrs at about a month old– but it was the 12 hours between 3a and 3p.

While that was eventually worked out, I’ve always had a hard time going to sleep, staying asleep, and was never a good napper. So, now that the world is a little crazy, sleep comes and goes for me. I seem to have no middle. There are nights when I am wiped by 9:30 and I crawl into bed in whatever I have on. There are nights when I can’t seem to sleep and it’s 2a and I’m watching “The Golden Girls”.

In fact, my entire schedule seems to be that way- days when I can stick to it, days when everything goes out the window. And my fashion too. Days when I’m dressed and look cute. Days when I’m in a combo of pjs and workout pants.

(It’s another post, but yes I’m trying to set rituals and schedules- if you have any tips, I’m all ears!)

Suffice to say, there are days when I’m exhausted and am constantly looking for ways to sleep better, and to look more chic while I do it. I came across this article, The Allure of the Nap Dress by Rachel Syme. She details the Nap dress (yes, there’s a dress called the nap dress) and the company that makes it; but most importantly the allure of sleep that wearing a dress like a nap dress can bring. (Aka the romance and sleepiness of it). I was intrigued.

By no means is THE Nap dress the only nap dress, though I have also been stalked by that one. Nap dresses (for me) bring to mind the Sleeper dresses (like this one), pj dressing (which we know I’m a fan of, see here for starters), and the ardent hope that dressing for bed all the time would make me sleep better.

Since I’ve been thinking about “nap dresses” (and yes, all of a sudden everyone calling all their dresses nap dresses has started. Or at least, I’ve started noticing it), nap dresses have been popping up everywhere I look. Vintage ones. New ones. One’s from Target and ones from Neimans. Dresses that you could just nap in and dresses made for napping.

What story is told when we dress for a nap during the day? This week, we’re looking into it. From new dresses to vintage ones, I’m taking a look at dresses that will make me look chic and hopefully make me sleep better. Im excited to have you join me!

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