Sunday Chronicles: Holiday Rituals

A woman in grey plaid pjs and a Santa shirt with Santa slippers on

Tis the time of year for many, many things, like kindness and joy- and rituals. I’ve been thinking a lot about rituals lately (defined as usually religious series of acts repeated with meaning attached), because with all of the things that are a part of this time of year come the rituals, or traditions- from your religious ceremonies to how and when you decorate your tree or house.

I’ve written about some of my thoughts on holiday traditions here, here, here, here, here.

It’s not that my traditions are changing- I’m still wearing plaid, wishing for snow, and excited to eat my momma’s beef stroganoff this Christmas Eve- but I’ve been thinking more about the rituals behind these traditions and the meaning they bring to what we (always) do. I took a class a few years ago based upon the premise that all human relationships were built on ritual (a series of repeated action) and spontaneous actions – together they build foundation, fun, and family. When applied to our holiday traditions, I can’t help but appreciate the ritual- the things we do passed down from generation to generation, and the ways we adjust them (aka being spontaneous). If you google the importance of rituals, you’ll get a ton of results that explain everything from how rituals tie us to our past and move us forward, how rituals heal, and how rituals build us up.

When you think about it, the holiday season comes at the ending of a year and is the beginning of another. Rituals bring us joy, temper our sorrow, and move us from one place to the next. And because we can tweak our rituals (there are things that we still do the exact same way we did when I was 3, and things we’ve changed), I like think to think that our rituals are living. And of course they’re magic.

So. If we can admit that rituals matter and move us, how do we honor them? How do we take these rituals that ground us and yet allow them to move us forward? If you’re like me, there are rituals you don’t want to change- I love family Christmas PJs and watching Miracle on 34th Street, and all the goodies! On the other hand, I love how my family holidays have grown up with my sister and I (we don’t have kids). I long to hold on and I want to leave room for change. Maybe that’s the magic of the ritual. It lets you do both.

This year we aren’t making big changes. We’re doing what we have done, and honoring what our rituals have grown into. When I know think about rituals, I think about both the past and the future- and I’m excited about both. This season is a season of rituals and traditions, past and future. May we find comfort and ways to honor all. I would love to hear your thoughts about rituals, your family traditions and how you’re feeling going into the season.

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

Sunday Chronicles: Gift Guides 2022

A woman in plaid shirt and black pants standing by a Christmas Tree

Every year I struggle with gift guides. Do I post them? Do I ignore them? It’s not that I don’t like gifts (I do!) and ironically I feel as if I’m a good to great gift giver (more on my gift giving philosophy in a moment), yet I don’t know that I’ve mastered gift guides. Or how and when to post them. Part of the gift thing is (for me- my gift giving philosophy) that gifts are personal. We all want to be seen and heard by the people in our lives, and gifts are a way to do that. As good as I am at shopping, ask me for general gift ideas for “him” or “for your uncle” and I freeze like a deer in headlights. But tell me your hubby loves craft cocktails and smoky flavors, or that your uncle loves the opera, bow ties, and to entertain. Tell me your aunt loves crochet and football and yet hates the color pink. Those are details that I can work with- those are details that make gifts personal and appreciated. That’s the kind of gift giving I love shopping for and wrapping!

(Note: Look, we all ask for money for gifts. I do- mainly as I know most people would rather give me a bit towards my huge shopping goals rather than splurge on one huge gift for me. And I think that’s thoughtful. I give gift cards to all service workers in my life (usually with cookies!) and I hope that’s thoughtful. This is not about disparaging those gifts. This is about personal and thoughtful gift guides that won’t suggest yet another impersonal tie, whiskey rock, tea towel, etc! Money is great! Gift Cards are great! I write yearly in defense of them, see here! This is moving us beyond those!)

So. If I’m only really great at doing specific gifts, or gifts for people who have specific tastes, and/or suggesting things that I would like, how do I go about gift guides? And do gift guides take away from any fashion or outfit conversation we have here? These are the questions I’ve been battling with since I started Investment Piece. This year? I think I finally have some answers that I love- and I hope you will too!

Starting this year I’m not doing gift guides on the blog. We’ll chat holiday dressing (of course!) and what I’m wearing through the season, but this is the post about gift guides (ironically without a true gift guide!). If you’re subscribed to our email list (and if you’re not I suggest you do! I’m updating our investment piece guide today!), every week (on Wednesdays) you’ll get an email with a specific gift guide (from Advent Calendars to hostess gifts to beauty to his and hers). I’m planning on being detailed (culling from research on not only what I would like but based upon people in my life and what they have asked for!), specific, and I hope helpful!

(Need more! For one on one suggestions or more details options feel free to email me at and we’ll go holiday shopping!Also, check the shopping apps, both ShopStyle and LTK for weekly updates. I will be posting gift guides there throughout the season!)

To recap- sign up for our email lists and check my shopping apps. Email me for help. In general? Gifts should be so personal- that’s what makes them thoughtful, so if you’re seeing your people I know you’re doing a great job shopping for your people!

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

I am breaking this rule and linking to a general gift guide here! It is an affiliate link, which means though it does not affect the price for you, I may earn commission from it! Thank you for your support!


Sunday Chronicles: Back to Nature

a woman with brown and blonde hair, closeup

I’m trusting that you know me well enough by now to know that when I say back to nature, I’m not talking about camping. To put it in a line from one of my favorite movies, Troop Beverly Hills, my idea of roughing it is 10 people having to share a bathroom. (Though I do love nature!) The nature I’m getting back to? My natural hair color. Which you may have noticed. It’s a process- there are days I hate it, days I’m giving up and wanting to highlight the front or tone it a bit darker. But most of all, going back to nature (for me) is a journey about getting back to myself and then deciding where to go (at lest when it comes to my hair.

This is not the first time I’ve written about my hair, see here, here, and even here when I first wrote about going darker after I went platinum. (And being platinum was fun for a while! Then I felt that it make me look older and then my hair started to break- part of the reason I’m avoiding dye right now!) There may not be a lot of new thoughts in this essay about my hair color; but being in the processing of actively choosing to let my hair be, to let it go through the growth- even when I worry about the color or want it to hurry up- is forcing me to think about I approach a lot of change in my life.

a woman with a bun and red lipstick taking a selfie in a car

Mostly that I want change to be quick and painless. And change often has to take its time. I want my hair to be healthy, before I make a move on color I want to see what I’m working with- which all means that I have to let it grow. My hair can look still blonde to brown to sometimes red, depending on the light. My natural highlights come and go (or it feels that way), and for having naturally dark blonde hair (or at least at one point!), I really thought that the growing out would be seamless and blend easily. Sometimes it feels like that’s happening. And then, there are are days when I can see what feels like a hard line of opposing color and my instinct is to fix it, and urges to chuck it all and go in for an instant change. Yet, I know that long term those changes might not be what I want or need and if I want my end goal of healthy, beautiful hair (Even if I end up dying it once I grow it out) that I have to let it go back to nature.

There’s a good chance that this hair journey could be applied to many seasons in our live. To get what we want we have to grow through some things, be a bit uncomfortable, and trust that we look ok in the meantime. Does the end justify the means? I’m crossing my fingers so! But I am trusting that- and of course will call a professional if it doesn’t quite work out the way I want. I’m having to breathe through this change a lot (and maybe kick myself for being in the thick of it in the most hectic part of the year- but is there any good time for change?), but it’s also teaching me to breathe through a lot- and trust that my end will be worth it.

Have you ever grown out your hair color? Tips? Any way that you can soothe yourself through change?

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

Sunday Chronicles: Ghost Tour

a woman with cat eye makeup and skeleton earrings

A few weeks ago I mentioned that this year, and specifically this holiday season I wanted to be present and enjoy the season and the holiday we’re in- aka Halloween. You can read more about my thoughts here. Keeping true to my word, and wanting to enjoy Halloween and not skip to Christmas season, when a family friend suggested that we book a Ghost Tour and stay in a (allegedly) haunted hotel- I said yes. Even though I sometimes (often times) have to watch anything scary through my fingers or blanket or my sweatshirt.

Because it’s not like they would let us die, right?

a skeleton in a phone booth and the image of a woman in the glass

We didn’t die. (Spoiler alert! And if you’re curious or local we stayed at the Menger and went on a Sisters Grimm tour. Highly recommend both!) What we did do is have a lot of fun, learn quite a bit of history, and get into the spirit of the season.

a man dressed as a rough rider from 1890 in the lobby of a hotel

Our tour guide was not only charming- he dressed in costume, which you know I love- he was incredibly knowledgeable about every space we went into, every street we went on, and local history. While there were ghost tales that were a bit creepy, most of them were truly fascinating! And even had me looking for clues!

a window with bars on it. You may be able to see a ghost in it!

For Example, in the above picture you may be able to see the ghost of a woman in the window. I didn’t- though I did see something over a bed in the hotel I think that was just my over-active imagination!

The tour was so fun and the hotel was fantastic (not to mention the jewelry store in the hotel where I happed to find MANY things that were so gorgeous, the only scary thing was how I could afford them all!) Most of all, this ghost tour was such a joy in that we got to walk (and ride) part of a city that I hadn’t seen before, I got to learn a lot (like ask me about certain killings in San Antonio), and it was the perfect way to get into the Spooky spirit that isn’t just watching scary movies (aka Hocus Pocus) on my couch!

I also got to dress to theme, which we know I love!

a woman in a black leather dress in a bathroom mirror

I can’t believe that Halloween is basically a week away (I have so many cute outfits to wear! And I want to watch so many movies!) How are you getting in the spirit of Halloween? Are you jumping ahead to the Winter Holidays? I would love to hear all about it!

Wishing us all a week of friendly ghosts and amazing shoes!

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 still mainly 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!

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: Introverts, Communications, and Hangovers

Investment Piece: Sunday Chronicles
Introverts, Communication, and Hangovers

After a week of being sick, I’m right in the middle of a weekend full of a family wedding- along with all of the gatherings that go along with the weddings. It’s both so exciting to see everyone, and a bit stressful. I did spend time in bed this week, but I’m not sure that being sick counts as alone time. As I’m navigating this weekend, I’m trying to make sure I get what I need (time alone for moments, workouts to get out stress) and communicating clearly to those around me- a job in and of itself. It reminds me that we are all a little bit different (even if we’re blood related) and that taking care of ourselves is important -for avoiding all kinds of hangovers!

There’s a great chance, by now, that you’re aware (or have a theory) on whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. And maybe you have an understanding of how that affects your communication, and how introverts can get hangovers from too much interaction. I’m a fan of deeper understanding, and being aware of how you’re wired, and the best ways to communicate for you. We all have a love language (trendy doesn’t mean it’s not true), and there are ways for each of us to be our best selves.

This is not a post to promote any sort of label, push you to fully embrace your “vert-ness” (I may have just made that word up), or help you demand to be surrounded by people who only speak your love language. Also, this is not a post to disagree with your vert-ness, argue we should all get all communication, and that all this is bunk. This is a post about a week in which I was reminded that these labels about our “vert-ness” are not finite, we’re all on a spectrum, all communicate differently, and that introvert hangovers are a real thing. And all of that is aok.

I’m an introvert. I need time alone, and after being around people a lot I need to recharge. The twist? I’m a performer; I can be “on” with the best of them, give a good show, and I like that part of me. Also? For an introvert, I’m extroverted. Yes, I need time alone, not a fan of too much peopling, but I can chat people up and network. It’s a spectrum, and there is no right or wrong way to be an introvert. We all get that.

What I forgot this week? That when I forget to balance the different sides of my introvert personality the people hangovers are real. I spent too much time go-go-going and being with people the past few weeks, and had to give myself a lot of down time to recover. What also hit me? When I (or anyone) chats about their need for alone time (or space) it’s not always the way that someone else communicates. What does all that mean? I (and you?) have to be clear about what we need, take care of ourselves, and nurse a hangover that comes from interaction the same way we would a “real” hangover. We may also have to be active listeners when people tell us about their needs.

And the thing? That’s all ok. If everything is a spectrum, then even taking care of ourselves is a process that isn’t always a finite thing. Right? So, this week, I’m focused on letting myself be “on” and letting myself be “down”, telling people clearly what I need, avoiding hangovers, and really trying to hear people when they tell me their needs. What about you?

Wishing us all a week of no-hangovers and amazing shoes! XO RA

Sunday Chronicles: Spooky Season

Shadow of a woman dressed as Maleficent with horns on her head and holding a raven

October is it’s own kind of magic, and not just Halloween. The crispness in the air, the endings and the beginnings, the beginning of the holiday season.
There is that aspect- I know that this is the month that time seems to speed up, we start chatting about the holidays (I have already seen Christmas trees out in stores), I’m supposed to start talking about holiday gifts, and a lot of us will breeze right over Halloween (or dress up and have their tree up!) and go right into the HOLIDAY season.

Yet, the older I get the more I want to enjoy the season I’m in. Right now, that means spooky season. I want to enjoy the changing of the seasons, the pumpkins, the scary movies (or really just watching all the Hocus Pocus), the costumes (have I mentioned how much I love Fashion Halloween?), and just enjoying October.

So, if I’m not rushing into the next season, what does it mean to really be present in spooky season (besides the obvious)?
For me, it means a few things:
-spending time in the cool weather. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s just starting to be cool where I am (and it still heats up in the afternoon!). So wearing a sweater, or jacket when I can means something
-fall and Halloween decorations. The more I don’t want to rush the seasons (really, I won’t put up Christmas till December, will try to take in November as much as I can), this means that this weekend I’m putting out pumpkins. And skeletons. Wreaths full of fall flowers and motifs. Planning costumes and getting out boots
-curating my social media and consumption. I’m not the best Horror Movie Watcher (Though I do love some horror, I’m more a thriller gal, very much a Hocus Pocus gal, have the Peanuts Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown on repeat), but I love to watch shows, movies, and listen to songs (Monster Watch) that match the season
-participate in fall activities. I’m not running to orchards or pumpkin patches. But I am making sure that I go out and do what fall means to me. Yes, some of it is basic. But, aren’t we all a little basic? I’m loving carving pumpkin parties, tailgates, and am so excited to hand out candy on Halloween (I also do a Hocus Pocus watch and make butternut squash soup!) Though if you want to ask me to apple of pumpkin pick with you I won’t say no!

I really am just concentrating on enjoying the moments, without rushing ahead. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my Halloween costumes- and my plans for holiday shopping. That’s what spooky season means to me! What does spooky season mean to you? And how are you celebrating?

I would love to hear about it!
Wishing us all a week of spooky and amazing shoes! XO RA

What to do when you HATE the trend

I originally wrote this post a few years ago. I pull it out now and again, because I can’t stop thinking about this topic. Again we’re finding ourselves at a time when trends are going to be presented. We’re in the middle of a transition to a new season. We’re being told what’s trendy, what we should buy, and the looks that we HAVE to have. And loves, I’m not mad at any of that. I love seeing new interpretations and getting to explore new sides of ourselves through fashion. The flip side of that? What if we hate it all. What if the trends for fall or next spring are just awful and wrong for us? Next week I’ll be sharing what 2021 Fall trends I’m excited about (and also what trends you can buy vintage!). I know that trends can have this negative connotation. But I really think if we can think of them as the fashion being offered to us- to do what we need to- they seem more appealing.
With that I feel a little bit better. I hope you do you!

Wishing us all a week of good trends and amazing shoes!


NY Fashion week has come and gone, and we’ve been presented with what’s on trend for now, and for the Fall. Which is great, right? Hopefully you’ve been inspired and are excited about what will be/is offered to you, and you have ideas and plans on how to wear it (or you’re excited to see how we wear it here!) But loves, let’s be honest with each other. There’s a chance, and there are times, when you just HATE a trend. Maybe you try it and it’s just not flattering on you. Maybe it brings back bad memories. Maybe you just hate it so much you can’t bring yourself to try it or think about it. I get it. I know, I’m in fashion and supposed to encourage you to try new things. Which I think you should. But not everything is for everyone.

Loves, I’ve struggled with this part all week. A part of me is torn–I feel as if I’m supposed to encourage you to try new things. Maybe the right piece, the right time, the right color will change your mind on a trend. Maybe. Trying different versions of a trend is also valid. Maybe you hate cold shoulder, but you love a certain off-the-shoulder. Maybe. Classics may be your thing and you don’t want to vary out, but one dress could change your mind. Maybe. I think all these avenues are great-again, I’m for us all trying things. But loves, sometimes things don’t work. And that’s valid too. Trends are simply that, a passing fancy, and if you don’t like it, it’s ok. A new trend will come about, or classics are always in style.
There are trends that I don’t like; and my personal view is that fashion is supposed to be a fun way to express yourself–not a list of things you HAVE to wear.

So, at the end of the day my biggest advice is, if you don’t love it, don’t wear it. That simple. Love what you wear, wear what makes you feel good!


Sunday Chronicles: Not Going to Plan

Investment Piece: Green Envy

I’ve had one of those weeks. Well, not one of THOSE weeks, but one of those weeks that did not go to plan. At all. In any way. Which can be incredibly frustrating, and leave you feeling behind or worse. But, there are times when things are not going to plan, when it can be a gift. Right? At least that’s the mindset I’m going with.

This past week I had plans, and ways that I thought things would go. As the saying goes, “Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans”. I’ve found it to be true over and over again. This week I came down with what could only be described as part vaxx reaction/part allergies. I ran fever, chills, sore throat, dibilatating headache. My car was in the shop, which was both a pain to deal with and then had to budge for that unexpected expense. I had to cancel my plans, I had to rearrange my schedule, I had to take time for me. And while there were times that having to put all my plans on hold was upsetting, there are times when things not going to plan was the best thing to happen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I think about things (mindset) and how I roll with the punches. Being a planner, I can sometimes get a little (a lot) upset when things don’t go according to my plan. Trusting that I’m always in the right place at the right time, that things will always work out for the best, and that the unplanned can be gift doesn’t always come naturally. I work at it. I’m getting better at it.

Because, the thing is, not going to plan is a gift. Sometimes it means that we get something so much more amazing than what we had planned. I had to rearrange things this week. I missed some things that I was looking forward to. And, I felt behind as I didn’t do my plan. But you know what? I got to rest. I got to really look at some things and I got the chance to do some self care. Work worked out, and while there are things I’m playing catch up on, I’m full of new ideas and in a place where I’m rested enough to get more done.

There are times when our plans won’t get us where we want to be, and we have to trust that things not going to plan will. I’m working on it. How about you?

Wishing us all a week of great events (planned or not) 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!