Sunday Chronicles: Should You Fake It?

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In an episode of Sex and the City, the ladies visit LA where Samantha tempts Carrie with fake Fendi bags- conveniently sold out of the trunk of a guy in the Valley. Bags that look exactly like the real thing but for half (or less than half) the price? It does sound tempting- but Carrie opts to hold out for the real thing; her thinking being that even if the bag fooled everyone she would know it was fake, and she didn’t want fake. And while getting a steal is tempting – I side with Carrie on this one.

Is this an essay to persuade you that you should always shell out the bucks for the designer bag? Nope. I do believe in quality, and love saving and buying some of my designer things- but think quality can be found at any price and you have to do what is best for you- and if a fake bag makes you happy I say go for it. What I’ve been thinking about all the other things in life we fake- and whether or not we deserve more than Valley-trunk fakeness.

To an extent, we live in a world of knock-off, fast fashion just being one of the culprits. And I’m just as guilty: I’ve staged photos to get “likes” on Instagrams, I color my hair but want my stylist to make it look as natural as possible, and I’ve spun events in my life so that to people everything sounds amazing. Is this bad? The hair color is for sure great, and I’m not a fan of spilling my secrets to strangers; there is a truth to the saying “Fake it till ya make it”. So, good right?

Maybe. But, what I’ve been thinking is that maybe we spend a little too much effort on how things look like on the outside, and completely ignore the inside. To put it another way, if the bag looks designer on the outside does it count if it’s cracked and peeling on the inside? Some of the best nights of my life have been messy: crying , laughing, holding onto people I love. Not one picture from those nights would pass anyone’s Instagram standards. And while spinning events can be great–how amazing is it to open up to the people with whom you can be honest? The ones who ask who you are and you can honestly say “Sad” or “Scared” or “Abnormally excited” and have that be ok? Aren’t all those experiences, messy as they can be, just if not more amazing than having things look perfect?

Does this mean that I’m going to stop having things look nice, coloring my hair, or spinning to certain people? Nope. But, just like Carrie, I think that even if I’m the only one who knows it–I don’t want fake. So I’m making an effort to be more real–even if it’s messy and scary– and I’m trusting that it will be just as beautiful as the fake.  I’d love to know–what’s your take on this?

 

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

Sunday Chronicles: When it’s not PERFECT

I’ve been redoing my closet- aka making a room into a closet. As well as deep cleaning and redoing parts of the house. Things have not been going to plan. It’s taking longer, it’s been hard to build shelves, things are in disarray. Yesterday a rolling rack I put together collapsed- sending party dresses flying and shoes falling on me head. I had no choice but- ask for help and admit that my house might not be perfect for a bit- and I’ll have to work around that. So I went back to thoughts and ways that help me- someone who hates asking for help and wants to be perfect- when things aren’t perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Chronicles: Making A Mess First

a close up of shoe boxes on a shelf above a hanging shelf

I’m finally- finally- turning a room in my house into a full closet for me. A long time wish/goal/want- and great for not only business but my clothes! At first, when the decision was made and I began to clear out and rearrange my closets and furniture, I truly thought the process would take a 1 day, maybe 2 at most. We’re currently 2 weeks into this- what I know will be worth it- redo (and yes, we’re redoing other rooms and I have multiple work and other obligations too) and it’s at the point where we’re a mess.

There are clothes I can’t get to, clothes I can’t see. Rooms I can’t walk in. There are days I’ve spent dirty and worried that even with a plan and a vision that I’ve done nothing but made a mess. And maybe I have. But here’s the thing: sometimes making a mess is the only way to move forward.

While that’s perhaps not a novel thought, as it seems that everyone a big change in my life happens- from moves to jobs to well, anything- it’s a lesson that feels new each time. My life is kind of a mess right now. Starting with my rooms and my closet and my house. It’s not that I can’t see how things will get better, but often when cleaning and rearranging, you do actually have to make a mess first. Science? Or just a fact that you have to get everything out then get it back in.

In the mess of all of this, I have started a new day job. *** I’m still dealing with family grief from a loss this summer. And, as we all say, am trying to keep up with our health and social lives and all the thing.If you tell me you never struggle with time management I’ll laugh! Especially at times like these- I have the feeling if I had a few days with absolutely NO other obligations or worries that the closet redo would be done so quickly and easily. But- how do you get a few days with NOTHING?

When it’s done, I can’t wait to show you my closet. OR new closet space. Yes- I think making a specific space for anything that you need- from a closet to an office to a hobby room to a gym- is a brave thing and a must. (If we’re gonna thrive we need places for it!) But the process is messy. Daily I’m reminded that the way up is to make the mess, then clean it up. Make the mess then clean it up.

There are so many times and things in life that this applies to. And that is both uncomfortable and comforting. Usually when we make changes in life- from those we don’t want to those we do-there’s a mess made before we put ourselves back together. From breakups to moves to job changes to glow ups and everything in between, I’ve found this to be true. Has mess ever been easier to deal with? Not really.

That’s a thing I’m working on. Currently, I’m trusting that the mess I’m making will end up in the best (or maybe better!) of my plans. Because to clean or build we gotta be a little messy, right?

How do you deal with the mess that comes before a redo or a break through? Any tips are appreciated!

Wishing us all a week of cleaning up messes and amazing shoes! XO RA

*** Very much a side note, and probably a whole other article. I’ve always been embarrassed about having day jobs. Yet, as they say, Gucci doesn’t buy itself. I LOVE my fashion work- and think it’s part of my calling. I LOVE acting- and think it’s part of my calling. And yet. Those industries have never paid out on a regular basis for me. So I do other jobs too. Perhaps that keeps me young? Skill sets fresh? Whatever way, I’m working on accepting that day jobs are a part of this wonderful journey!***

Sunday Chronicles: Not sure what to say

Investment Piece; Basic Invite

Well. After a few years that have been unprecedented, this week added another world event that’s taken precedent over everything. And the attacks in Israel and Gaza should. I am not educated enough to know everything about this conflict- or even to have suggestions on how to fix it. All I know is: we all deserve a home, to be treated with dignity, and love. All I can hope is that somehow, we find a way to exist with each other and without hate. I don’t have answers but I can tell you, this isn’t a space for hate.

Yet- because of all this, talking about fashion hasn’t felt right the past few days. I haven’t been posting on social media much, I haven’t felt that style tips or sales or outfit posts have been the thing to chat about. (And we will. Life does have to go on- and fashion can be a form of resistance!) But, I have taken a step back this weekend, I’ve spent time with people and animals I love. I have baked bread and prayed. I have wanted my friends to know I’m with them, in this weird time. Because we are a business, we will be posting new tomorrow. This month we’ll chat more fashion Halloween costumes, fall outfits, sales and more. I just wanted you to know that while we will use fashion as a respite and an act of courage- that my heart is with everyone affected and with us all as we strive to find new ways to coexist and love.

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

Sunday Chronicles: Am I Too Old For This?

a woman in a white teeshirt, pink Chanel Boulce skirt, and white and black boots leans against a white trelice

As an actress, I’m sure that it’s no surprise to you that I’ve lied about my age at times. (Yep, the youngest you think I am- that’s it!) Age is an issue in our society. Especially as a woman. And I wish I could tell you that aging is not something that I worry about, that I just see aging as a privilege (because it is!), and I never let age affect any of my choices- fashion or otherwise.

But.

That wouldn’t be honest. The weird thing? I’m more confident the older I get. I’m more accepting of myself, I’m ok with my own needs and stating them, and while when I was younger there were things that I wore and did that I didn’t think twice about- there are things I would do and wear now with so much more confidence (which feels like I’m repeating myself- but maybe I’m so old I can’t think of another word!).

Here’s the thing. Youth is great, it does have that glow and it gives you an edge for some things. Age also can be great, and it has its own edge. I have loved being young and there are things I’m loving about being old. However.

I’m not 100% sure I know how to grow old graciously. Or dress for my age. Or not try too hard (another huge sin that would be another post). My mom and dad have both said that one of the weird things about aging is that you’re all your ages at once, from 17-70. They’re not the first to say that and I’m no where near 70. But I get it. Funny enough, if you were to ask me- from fashion to other choices- I would tell you to make the choice that makes you feel great, that you feel comfortable in, that brings you joy. I love IG and more accounts of “older” women, I love my own fashion sense, I have no issue with so many things.

So. Why is there this occasional voice in my head warning, worrying, and get worked up about being too old- to wear certain outfits. Example:

a crop turtleneck with a pleated leather skirt and black boots
I love this take on a shirt and pleated skirt. You could absolutely play with the length of the shirt- or layer a cardigan or blazer over. Yet. And I hate asking this- but am I too old for outfits like this?

I love this outfit. In my 20s I wouldn’t have worn it as I was so self conscious. And even being older- knowing the crop doesn’t HAVE to be that short, and that the waist of the skirt (if high enough) can cover a lot, I would love to wear something like this. Am I too old? Would I be judged for doing so? Would be seen as yet another woman desperately trying to cling to youth?

This is what I think constantly and at the same time I hate thinking it. And I have no answers. I’ve asked friends who told me that it would be fine to wear, I would tell friends and you that it’s fine to wear- so why do I worry about being too old?

And while this blog (and post) are so fashion focused, it’s not just fashion where I worry about being too old. It’s the beginning (early or not) of the holiday season. And I love holidays. From Halloween costumes to cooking at Thanksgiving to believing in Santa (his whole purpose is magic and presents- what’s not to believe?!), I enjoy the magic and the holiday feelings that come this time of year. Then. I’m not a mom, I’m a VERY fun Auntie. Am I too old to get into things the way I do?

IF I am too old for all of this- from holidays to outfits, what’s the answer? Do we grow smaller? Give up parts of ourselves? Or is this all a worry that we only think of- remember no one else judges us like we do! I truly have no idea. This isn’t some place where I have big thoughts because, really and truly, I’m figuring this out as I go along- usually day by day.

I want to be the kind of confident that wears what I feel good in and brings me joy, and gives myself fully to experiences. I’m still battling the voice in my head that says I’m too old for certain things (and I think the hard thing is that I do think some things are too young for me– which may also be a completely different post!).

Do you deal with this voice in your head- do you worry about being too old? How do you deal with it? And do we think I should wear this outfit? I want to hear your thoughts!!

Wishing us a week of ageless confidence and amazing shoes!! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles : It’s Spooky Season

A woman in  a black Halloween Graphic shirt with white knit pants and black slingback with red devil horns headband

It’s October 1st- which means it’s the beginning of Spooky Season:
-Hocus Pocus (at least for me) is now the go-to movie
-Halloween becomes the focus. There are many thought pieces about what Halloween is a the best: including but not limited to: it’s about community, you don’t have to spend time with your family if you don’t want, there are so many ways to celebrate. For me Spooky Season means Fashion Halloween (starts tomorrow!) which is the ultimate marriage of my loves of acting and fashion. I can’t wait to share my costumes with you.
-Planning costumes is also what makes spooky season special to me. I love the costumes – wearing them, seeing the kids in them, all of the costumes. Please tell me all about your costumes or let me know if you need help with yours!
-Fall treats! If you love the candies or not, it’s time for ciders and pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice, apple and pear everything.

And let’s be honest, Spooky Season is just a hop, skip and barely a jump into the HOLIDAY season. In fact, I’ve already seen holiday decorations out in store. (While I wasn’t surprised, it still feels way too early). I also love the holiday season, this year I have some specific goals for Spooky Season. All can be summed up by saying I want to slow down and enjoy it. This weekend – while at an event with my sister, wine tasting with my family- I felt myself rushing through things. Worrying about pics. Thinking about the next thing. At this time of year, I feel that we never have to worry. The next thing is coming. We’re going to be busy. Rushing through any thing- from our fave scary movie to pics to tasty treats robs no one but ourselves.

SO this spooky season, I want to enjoy it. I want to slow down. Be present. Enjoy. Savor. This is the season to really focus on what’s in front of us- be it Halloween, or pumpkin, or witches, or just enjoying the fall-from sweaters to hay. Holiday season will come. While it’s here, let’s focus on the spooky (whatever that means to you!).

If you need me, I’ll be in an elaborate costume, or in a graphic tee, sipping apple cider, watching Hocus Pocus every chance I get, and savoring the moment. How are you spending Spooky Season?

Wishing us all a week of enjoying the season and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Routines

I wrote this about a year ago. At the time I was in desperate need of some structure. I found a system that worked (mostly for me). Then. life. A new day (side) gig. Changes in home life and work life. And I find myself again needing some structure. Needing a way to get myself on a routine- as it turns out keeping me on a routine is part of my self care. Here are still my thoughts on it:

a woman in white shorts and a white blazer in front of a stone wall

What’s that saying? Danger can hurt you but routine can kill you? Something like that. And I get it- we don’t want our routines to be a rut. Ruts, more than routines, I think are what can kill us. But- what if instead of a routine, you’re in chaos (aka no routine and nothing to anchor you). Isn’t that the most dangerous of all?

And, for a while, it feels as if chaos is where I’ve been, so I’m yearning for routine.

It started in the middle of lockdown. I’m an introvert, and have always worked from home. Yet, with no schedule (like my gym classes) to really anchor me, I become a bit all over the place. There were nights when I would stay up so late (not doing anything but watching reruns), and then nights when I went to bed at 8pm. Days when I would get a ton of deadlines met and days when the most productive thing I would do is have coffee. I get it- we were all (and still are) going through things and dealing as we could.

But. What I’ve learned about myself? I need routine, a schedule, something to anchor me. I need to know what days I’m shooting and which I’m writing, when my workouts are, and (for sanity) to have a “regular” bedtime.

(of course with a routine it makes the days when you deviate from it SPECIAL. But you have to have the routine first!)

So, starting this week I’m getting myself back on a routine. I’m actually excited about it- as I feel as if a routine will help me thrive, and not just survive. Naturally, we all need different structure, but how I’m going about it is I’m giving myself some guidelines, with the understanding that sometimes they will be broken, but with the intent to stick to them 98% of the time. What am I doing? Bedtimes (by 10), workouts (booked and the ones at home given a time), scheduling days for all my activities: cleaning, laundry, shooting, admin, etc. It’s not to suck the fun out of anything, though it does feel a bit like the 2 weeks before school when my mom would make us get back on a school routine instead of a summer one, but to help me be my best self. Therefore, able to have more fun.

And I’m adult enough to know doing what’s best for me is fun! (And yet not adult enough that I think this decision warrants something new!)

What are your routines? Do you find that you need them? Or are you ok just playing it by ear all the time? I would love to know about it!

Wishing us all a week of what’s best for us and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Grandparents Day

Investment Piece: Grandparents Day
My parental (Grandma) and maternal (Mimi) grandmothers

I know that some of these “holidays” aren’t really big deals. See “red wine day” (not that I didn’t celebrate), “French fry day”, “pancake day”, etc, etc, etc. However, as someone who was lucky enough to be close to her grandparents, and miss them now that they’re gone, Grandparents Day for me is actually something I’m into this year.

My maternal grandmother, my Mimi, was a bit like my nanny growing up. She drove us to school and picked us up (making sure she was first in the pick-up line), made dinner, used to pay me $1 to eat a taco at dinner (instead of just queso. I also got paid $1 not to tell my mom we watched soap operas with her!). Mimi taught me about mixing patterns, red lipstick, the wonders of Vaseline as a night cream, and her infamous pecan pie recipe.

My paternal grandmother, my Grandma, taught me to quilt, make hand pies, made the best toast (I know, completely random. She also made so many amazing things- but I often miss her toast!). Grandma taught me to indulge my artistic side, laugh when you can, and indulge while keeping to your schedule.

My Papa (paternal grandfather, not pictured!) was a bear of a man (to others) but to me was the person who would tell me to give his neck some love. He worked/owned a construction company but my most vivid memories of him are watching sports (silently) on his lap/chest with his miniature poodle (Cheerie, who wore bows and had her nails painted). Papa taught me about juxatipositons, home repair, and boundaries with compromise.

I know that families are complex and relationships are hardly ever linear. No matter you’re feelings on holidays like Grandparents Day, I hope that you’ve been lucky enough to have the love of a great grandparent. And if not, that in your adult life you’ve made a chosen family that provides you with that kind of love. I adore you, and would even wait in line to pick you up.

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

After Labor Day Do We Wear White?

Labor Day is this weekend, so I’m once again asking: after Moday (Labor Day) will you wear white? (Especially white pants?)

Loves, I still struggle with this question. It’s a yearly debate for me: Do we wear White After Labor Day? This was first written/posted years ago, but I don’t know that I have any new answers. One new thing: this year I may dare to wear white pants, or all white after tomorrow. We’ll see! I would love to get your take: After Labor Day, do we wear white?

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I’m from the South and it’s a pretty hard and fast rule that you don’t wear white after Labor Day. It’s so ingrained in us that a few years ago at a football game a guy friend of mine–who is not into fashion–saw a woman wearing white pants and made a comment that she shouldn’t be doing that, as it was after Labor Day. In fact, starting Monday, my mom puts away all her linen items–citing the fact that it’s a summer fabric. And I get it–I’ve clearly been excited and ready for fall. There is something to be said for dressing for the season.

However, after living in California I came to realize that the white rule isn’t necessarily followed everywhere. You could argue that in CA it feels like summer longer, although it can be in the 100s till October in TX. Even the fashion elite –Vogue, etc– have relaxed their thinking and you can search for articles today like “How to Wear Your White Jeans Through Fall”. So who do we listen to–our Southern Moms or those who say we can wear white?

Honestly, I fall in the middle here. Don’t worry Mom–after Monday I won’t wear (a ton of) white pants (winter white is a whole other story though!) but I won’t be rushing to my fall/winter wardrobe. The fact of the matter is it will still be hot on Tuesday. And while I won’t be wearing white pants, white will still most likely pop into my outfits as an accent or piece–skirt, top, etc–but not the whole look. I no longer judge those who wear white after Monday–fashion is so diverse and if you like your outfit I’m a fan of you rocking it! (Also I love it when you’re daring) But I will say I’m looking forward to our gradual shift to fall clothing! Have I mentioned I have some amazing boots to show you??

I’d love to know–what’s your stance on white after Labor Day?

Hope you’re have a great holiday weekend! XO RA

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Sunday Chronicles: The Things We Didn’t Get To

a woman in a light blue and red strapless dress in the middle of the road

Each season I attempt to make a “bucket list” of things I want to do, as well as a wishlist of all the things I want to buy (and wear and shoot). Even with the best of intentions, I’ve never had a year where I’ve been able to do everything on my list(s). Maybe it’s me and I aim too high- or as I like to think, the time and the days just get away some times.

Especially this year, my lists have a lot left on them. Between my aunt’s death, then being sick, it feels as if the past month or so has been a time of regrouping/resting rather than making progress. And months like that happen. But as the seasons prepare to change (though I’m under no illusion that it will magically get cooler after Labor Day. You could count on one hand the number of days we’ve had this summer under 100 degrees!) how do we reconcile the things we didn’t get to?

Perhaps that sounds a bit dramatic. As I previously stated, it’s not like Labor Day is an official “switch”. There is still time to be in the water and buy amazing summer(ish) styles (maybe even on sale!). Yet, the fact is there are things I won’t get to, things to let go of- some of which are simply as my attention has moved onto other things. And some things I’m genuinely sad to have not gotten to or bought. Seasonal transitions can be a lot of things, but one of them is a bit melancholy. There is a bit of sadness in all the things we didn’t get to, or saying goodbye to great times.

(Fun fact: I can be a bit sentimental so maybe I do get a bit attached!)

The other thing about a new season coming? The things we didn’t get to give way to the things we want to do now. Often how I make peace with what I missed out on is getting excited about all the things I want to do in the coming season. Or all the things I want to wear, sometimes they’re the same thing. Another way I handle the thigns I didn’t get to? Shopping end of season sales (because so much can be worn in more than one season!) and starting my experience list for the next year. Many times it just means that I realize what I want to prioritize (aka next summer I am determined to spend more time in the water!) or what doesn’t really matter (maybe I don’t need every swimsuit). That combined with the excitement of new boots (or new ways to wear the boots I have!) and the things I didn’t get to don’t sting as much. There are always things I’m sad I missed out on, but these methods help me.

What do you do with all the things you didn’t get to this season? How do you deal with it?

Wishing us all a week of crossed off to-dos and amazing shoes! XO RA