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: 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: Taking up Space

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In light of all the world events, protests, revolutions, and my wanting to be a better ally I’ve been thinking a lot about my voice. And how to best use it. The thing is: I’m not always comfortable speaking up or taking up space. I was raised to be “nice” and not “make trouble” and “please everyone”. But the fact is none of those things are really possible. Some trouble is good. I (and you) deserve to be heard. And nice isn’t always the best policy. So. I’m working on it. And while my thoughts here are from a few years ago, reflecting on how I can take up space this week helped me. Hope it helps you! XO RA

Sometimes topics come and hit you over the head, forcing you to pay attention to them. This week I was minding my own business, cruising the internet, when out of no where this article and this article kept popping up, on repeat. A sign? Maybe, maybe not; but when articles appear, I read them.

A note–I am one of those who have a hard time asking for the space I need (unless we are driving an then just try to sway into my lane–you have a horn coming). I believe in courtesy, compassion, and sharing-but a long line of waiting for others to recognize that I may need leg room/arm room/a seat has taught me that you have to take your space–others won’t give it to you. And yes, there are societal and gender issues at play; there are different types of space and different issues that surround each of them. I could write about them all but want you to not be reading till Monday! So, for today, let’s talk physical space–we can deal with other issues another day.

So space. We all need it– be it on a subway, an arm rest, on an airplane. So why do some of us have such a hard time asking for it? There are those who don’t–and yes, as a member of the former group I can be in awe, envy, and sometimes hate those who seem to take up all the space they need (and sometimes more) without a thought or care. Are those people inherently bad or selfish? I like to think not (yes, I could write about those who probably are). Some people just naturally take up space. I, personally, don’t–and it’s not that I don’t need it. I’m tall, I like to spread out as much as the next person, and know I deserve the sidewalk or public space as much as the next person. And it’s not that I don’t take space–it’s just that if others are taking up space (manspreaders, etc) or if the space is in debate (shared armrests), I tend to defer-not ask for space, let the other person have it.

So why? If I know I have a right to the space, why do I, and others like me, have a hard time asking for it? Maybe we expect people to notice what we need and give it to us–which has never worked for me. Maybe it’s years of training to be nice and not demand things–I’m a Southern woman, I know this. Maybe it’s a combination, maybe other issues come into play.  I don’t know.

I do know that I believe every single one of us deserves to take up all the space we need. And if people aren’t going to give it to us, we’re going to have to take it. Is this hard for me? Yes, but the good news is we can do hard things. So this week I’ve gone out of my way to take up the space I need. A guy at the movies had his legs spread wide, I willed myself to say “Excuse me” (not “I’m sorry”, another issue), and even though I had to say it twice, he moved. At the gym I stood my ground and held my space at the mirror while getting ready. Moon-landing accomplishments? No. But a start. This doesn’t mean my voice doesn’t shake sometimes, or I find it easy; but if other people are asking for the space they deserve, why shouldn’t I?

Here’s the secret guys, there is enough space for all of us. And if you aren’t getting what you need, you are going to have to ask for it. I’d love to know–is this something you struggle with? How do you deal with it?

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

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

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Happy Valentine’s Month 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: Chicken Enchiladas

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It’s football season and fall, the weather has finally turned, and I’m cooking. Being in the kitchen is one of those things that I didn’t start enjoying until my 30s-not that I didn’t feed myself before that, but with diet restrictions, and just the need to connect with myself/my family/food, I began to really enjoy cooking. I’ve been known to experiment with family recipes, recipes I need to make more diet friendly, and anything that sounds amazing. Also, there’s no better time than a Sunday to spend some time whipping up a meal, then eating it while vegging in front of the TV.

Today’s adventure? Making these enchiladas I did a few years ago.

I feel hesitant to call this a recipe – it was so easy and made on the fly. But Internet friends : it’s worth it. I’d love to know: what are you cooking?

Chicken Mushroom Enchiladas:

full disclosure- the mushrooms were added as they were on sale in one of those prepackaged deals (mushroom, onion, garlic, parsley). Feel free to use something else!

1package chicken breast tenders

1 package Mushrooms and onion (approximately 1.5 cup mushrooms sliced, 1 red onion, 3 tbs chopped garlic, chopped parsley)

1 package almond flour tortillas ( or if you don’t do Paleo, whatever you prefer)

1 .5 cups Califlower

5-8 Roasted Hatch chiles

1 cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

Method:

Heat oven to 400. On two separate cookie trays roast the chicken and then the mushroom mixture – both with Extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. (Ps I LOVE the smoked pepper from Williams Sonoma). Depending on your oven, slice size this can take anywhere from 35-55 minutes

Meanwhile: make the sauce. Steam the cauliflower (I use the microwave but however you like) then add that to a blender. I use kitchen shears to roughly chop the  chiles ( you can buy them roasted or if needed roast them off yourself- either the same method or use a gas burner on high, turn the chile over till blackened).  I started by using 4 chiles but added more. Blend together, adding salt and pepper to taste. If needed add 1/4 c water to the blender to make it smoother- and of course add as many chiles as you like!

When end the chicken and mushrooms are done put both into a mixer, add 1/2 of the goat cheese and let the mixer blend everything together for you (if needed this can be done by hand)

Grabbing a sheet cake pan and the tortillas you’re ready to fill! My tortillas were small so I made about 10- this of course will vary. Fill each tortilla with a couple of spoonfuls of filling (optional- a small amount of sauce), roll to close and set in pan.  When all tortillas are completed and in the pan pour desired amount of sauce on top. Put rest of cheese on top.  Heat in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes till warm through and cheese is melty.  Enjoy!

 

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

 

Sunday Chronicles: Ready for Football

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Fall is coming and I love it for many reasons–the cooler weather, the holidays, and football. You may have caught on that I’m a big football fan, I was raised on it and come from a long line of men and women who love football and have made watching it an almost religious experience. However, there are times when being a female football fan isn’t easy.

Even if you’re not a football fan you can’t help but notice that both the NFL and the College system have issues with domestic abuse, rape, and the handling of the men who commit these crimes. Being a female who believes that there is no excuse for this behavior and someone who is a huge fan of the sport it often leaves me in a difficult position. I don’t have answers. I’m a Cowboys fan and I hate that we signed Greg Hardy. Jerry Jones wouldn’t take my calls about that issue. Recently in my college team’s conference a young man with a known history of violence transferred to a school where he subsequently raped a young woman–I believe the coach and school should be held accountable. But I love the sport. As much I want the men who commit crimes off the field–I love watching the game. It is a hard line to balance that I sometimes struggle with–and again I don’t know that I handle well. My thoughts below are not meant to diminish the seriousness of the issues with women in the NFL or a sign that I ignore them. I simply don’t have the words. Here and here are articles about the situation if you care to read. I’m also well aware of some of the race/kneeling issues in the sport. I don’t know that it’s my place to speak (and there are so many people who can speak on those issues better than I can), but I think people using their platform is amazing. And we should all be on the side of equality.
Now to things I can speak to.
More than once I’ve said I love juxatipositons. And I do. I’m an artist, fashionista, and a football fan. My turn-ons involve both opera and action movies. I think that we’re all complicated and no interest makes you dumb. Not only does this mantra apply to fashion but to football. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is as a woman to tell people you love football and have people assume that you’re saying that to be attractive to a guy (not true). Or that you really don’t know what you’re talking about–ask me my opinion on the 4-3 defense. Or that you use football as social time–ask me questions or try to have a deep conversation during a game and see how well that works for you. Or that most of the gear for women involves sequins and pink–yes, NFL I’m looking at you, and yes it’s getting better, but I’m a fan, not a Barbie. So yes, I am passionate about it. But that doesn’t mean I will shove it down your throats (I swear, even though I’m so excited for this season!)

I can tell you that if you want football rantings following me on twitter @adeliciamorris is a place to get them. And that every Friday my college team (TCU) has “Go Purple Friday” and every Friday on my instagram I will be sharing my purple. Most of the time it looks like this:
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as I sometimes interpret the day as “wear amazing purple shoes day”!
I do hope that if you celebrate the season or not that the following weeks go your way (unless you’re rooting against my teams) and again I promise not to make this page football central.

Hope this week brings amazing beginnings and even better shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Happy Father’s Day!

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It’s Father’s Day! My dad is an engineer but has never questioned or withheld his support from his daughter who only ever wanted to dance, act, and be in fashion. He’s also the man who taught me to love football–which is a huge part of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.  I hope the fathers in your life are as supportive of you!

On the other hand, relationships with our parents, and parent figures can be tough. I hope if this is a hard day for you that you’re spending the day in a way that feels right to you.

Wishing us all a week of love and amazing shoes! xo RA

Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Traditions!

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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: Living in Chaos

It’s not Sunday, so it must seem odd to read a Sunday Chronicle. Right? However, for me, this entire summer has been odd. I’ve literally been living in chaos. From helping my mom deal with my grandma’s apt (boxes) to moving all my homes (boxes) to settling into temporary digs to breaking my toe this week (yes, ouch!). It’s been chaos. And some chaos is great! A lot of chaos, is overwhelming. With clothes and things spread out, I’ve been out of wack, and I’m not going to lie, this venture of ours has been hard to shoot. Living in chaos takes it toll. So, I couldn’t help but look back at this and remind myself that chaos is nothing that I haven’t conquered before.

The good news? The boxes are almost dealt with (for now). Next week there’s all new content, and it’s amazing. This weekend all looks from Instagram will be updated and shoppable here, on Shopstyle, and on Pintrest. Have I beaten chaos?

For the moment, it feels like it. In the meantime: a look back at living in chaos.

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I’m moving (more on that in a coming post) and am completely overwhelmed –if nothing else because my apartment is currently filled with boxes, furniture, and varying stacks of items to take, sell or store. This makes my little Type-A, really organized, neat heart anxious. Let’s be honest–moving and packing are draining, and I have a hard time relaxing when things aren’t in their place.

This isn’t to say I’m used to everything going swimmingly all the time. I’m no stranger to bad days (both hair and personal), outfits that don’t work (even with prior planning), and the general mess that life can bring. And I’m a control freak (in the best way!)–and I’ve always used keeping things neat (and my work outs) to feel like I had some sort of power over what was happening in life. So living in a state of constant unrest is not just super settling. So what do?

There is no right answer right? Or if you know one please share! What I know is I’ve been working on keeping my sanity – my schedule, my to-do list, my priorities. My things might be in boxes but that’s no reason to stop functioning as myself; as much as I can I’ve been doing what I need to do for self care- workouts, seating aside time for relaxation and friends, etc.

Let’s be honest, I wish life wasn’t complicated. I wish here were times and situations that didn’t make us uncomfortable. I wish things were always smooth. But. the uncomfortable and unsmooth times allow us to grow. They prepare us, make us strong, make us better. And if that’s the endgame, a few weeks with boxes is nothing, right? Right. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Wishing us all a week of good change, no boxes, and amazing shoes! 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