About that article...

I’ve gotten a lot of messages about my recently-published article on Kveller; mostly very kind, some very judgmental and downright hurtful. One lady suggested that I should have gotten a dog versus having a kid. So that was nice.

But all messages are welcome, and being judgmental is ok. Everyone judges because living life is about making decisions; and to decide, you have to make a judgment. This isn’t a philosophy blog, but look: if I put myself out there, I have no right to expect people not to judge.  

I do think the article headline is slightly misleading, albeit good click bait. Several people reacted to the headline, but maybe didn't take the time to read the words. If they had, they would have understood that I do not regret having a child, but sometimes I feel that way. And those feelings come when the mundane tasks of raising a toddler overwhelm. Someone brought up a great point: if we loved mundane tasks, it would be worrisome; if we loved mundane tasks, we’d be robots.

Another interesting question was, would you ever want Elliot to see that article? This question gave me pause, because I would never want him to feel unwanted or unloved. But, if he turns into a thoughtful young man (which is the goal), he will know me and realize that this text isn't about not loving him. He might even be puzzled that I ever felt this way, because he’ll only know me as his super-amazing, kick-ass mom, who’s got his back no matter what ;-) 

Most importantly, I want Elliot to know that I’m not afraid to tell the truth. I want him to know this so he’s not afraid to tell the truth. There are many kinds of writers, but I want to be one who writes courageously and unapologetically. 

And on another, perhaps more relevant note—isn’t it a good thing for our sons know how freaking-hard it is to raise a child? Wouldn’t knowing this make them better men, partners and spouses?

I should think so.

What's with all the running?

The one thing that inspired me to become a “real runner” is a podcast called, “Run, Selfie, Repeat.” It’s put together by a very cool millennial, named Kelly Roberts. After a terrible family tragedy, she was struggling with life and decided to take up running. Her blog and podcast are about “life with a side of running,” and I’ll tell you this: I’d hire Kelly as my shrink if I didn’t already have one.

Kelly often reflects on how running mirrors the issues we face in our everyday lives, which is something I can totally relate to. 

When I’m on a run, I feel overwhelmed. I get panicky because I’m struggling, mentally and physically. My instinct is to either stop or run faster. Why?! Why not just slow TF down? I’m sure you’re all thinking, “Duh,” but for me, this was an epiphany.

I also feel vulnerable and self-conscious when I run. Jesus, I look like a hobbling, pregnant toad. Why are my thighs so…thigh-looking? Damn b*tch, you’re slow. Look at the real runners that just lapped your pushing-40 ass. These thoughts aren’t about running—they’re about how I feel about ME. They reflect my everyday insecurities and situations that make me feel VULNERABLE; running just happened to shed light on them. But how can you feel better when you’re not aware of why you’re feeling badly? Whoomp, there it is. Go on a run, folks.

So, after I finish running, I never miss an opportunity to brag about it on Facebook. I like affirmation. Maybe too much? Wait, that wasn’t a question. While I love (repeat, LOVE) the runner’s high (and that’s endorphins, people) and the feeling of accomplishment, affirmation is kind of the icing on the cake. Not gonna lie. But is seeking affirmation too often ok? Not sure.

Last week was an awesome running week because I hit three miles for the first time. Ever. “So why not four this week?” I wondered. I need to work on being patient because I didn’t just wake up one morning and knock out three miles; I had to work up to it.  I had to build endurance and get over the I’m-gonna-f*cking-die-@-1.5 miles mental block.  This took time. In fact, it took me a few years of starting and stopping. So for now—in this moment—it’s important to celebrate that three miles, take a step back and realize, this is enough: You are enough.

And this brings me to my last precious pearl: life requires maintenance, and so does running. If you aren’t consistent, you will slip. It’s basic. Like if you don’t brush your teeth often enough, they’ll turn yellow. If you stop and start running like I did, you probably won’t get anywhere.

So this weekend, I’m running my first 5k—yikes! My goals are to stop with the negative self-talk and turn the hobbling, pregnant toad into visions of a swift, strong unicornForte et gratum.

Have an awesome week, y’all!

 

 

Regroup on redefining success

One time at a wedding, a lady ranted to me about the seven long, arduous years she’s been working on her book. I remember thinking to myself:

  1. That won’t be me
  2. I don’t ever want to talk to another writer again
  3. Screw the host for thinking that seating the two, single writers together was a good idea

First of all, that is me. It’s been seven years for me too, and still no book deal.

Secondly, not talking with other writers is something I regret. Initially I thought it was smart so I wouldn't be discouraged (wedding lady’s rant); I also feared other writers would be competitive with me. Because of that figure skating thing I used to do, I don’t want to compete, don’t like to compete and am afraid of competition.

However, over the past few months, I started to connect with some amazing writers and editors through Kveller. No, Kveller is not my blog (would be cool): it’s a legit online magazine that compensates its writers for their contributions, me included—yippee!

Connecting with the Kveller writers has inspired me. Working with them and writing with them gives me a sense of community, and makes me feel fulfilled. It’s awesome to get feedback and kudos from other writers, and it’s helpful to exchange ideas, from topics to write about to avoiding nicely-wrapped-up, perfectly constructed endings.

Sarah (editor) has also helped me tap into another voice; a more casual, conversational one. Working in marketing, I always look for the most concise way to relay a message, but I now realize that this made me rigid in my own writing. So, I’m trying to embrace a little fluff.

What’s the point of this blog post? Not sure. But it feels like I’ve identified another success-pyramid.

Awww, sh*t. that’s a nicely-wrapped-up ending, isn’t it?

(Stay tuned for my next blog post about being the most awkward runner in the world!)

person-woman-apple-hotel.jpg

Redefining success

Unfulfilled ambition is an undercurrent of unhappiness, even in moments of pure contentment. It clouds and devalues everything: An awesome job, getting married, becoming a mom; being a good daughter, friend and human.

The inability to reach the summit of your success-pyramid feels like failure, and the thought of redirecting your climb towards something else seems like an excuse for defeat.

For the past 8 years, I imagined reaching my summit would mean becoming a published author. You know, like an author whose books are in Barnes and Noble and available on iTunes for download. In my mind, anything short of—or different than that—didn’t count.

All along, I knew this was bullshit. I knew that success wasn’t a vertical path, and that its definition can be ever-changing. But I couldn’t internalize this.

Well recently, something in my mind shifted: It literally happened last Sunday night, and I can’t tell you how or why.

But there is one phrase that started to surface, and persist.

“I am my father’s daughter.”

I’m not sure what this means entirely, but I think it means allowing yourself to experience success on different levels; having more than one raison d'être.

That’s how my dad was before he got sick. A world-ranked tennis player, turned college professor, turned entrepreneur: He was someone who climbed towards several summits, never restricting himself to just one.

And even after he got sick, even after 4+ open heart surgeries and several strokes, he still tries to climb. His summits included relearning to walk (twice), speak, read and navigate life with a limp and a lame left arm… meeting his grandson, Elliot.

The second time he relearned to walk, I remember him grimacing and repeating under his breath, “I can do anything.”

A fashion blog?

I don't know if it's okay to write about fashion anymore. Am I just contributing to the normalization of the utterly abnormal? Or, does life, pop culture and fun nonsense still have to go on in some way?

(This isn't a rhetorical question)

The other day, I reread Susan Sontag's Note's on "Camp," which made me think that writing about fashion is still okay.

Based on "Notes," fashion " underlies and gives rise to a certain taste;" it's a quick-hit vehicle through which culture is displayed. This is important because "taste" indicates mindset, which indicates behavior, which determines action.

Fashion is also representative of societal tendencies; the most obvious being, conformity.

I can tell you without a fake eyelash blink that the unanimous staples of the current "taste," according to 99.9% of upper class, white fashion bloggers are:

  • Booties
  • David Yurman bangles
  • Ripped jeans
  • Flat iron curls
  • Skinny everything

There are no trend deviations, unless you have a penchant for emo, grunge or the fat acceptance movement. And the lack of deviations receives affirmation in the form of likes, follows, regrams and affiliate network associations.

So what?

Well, conformity is very attractive, and right now this doesn't sit well with me.

We have Ivanka Fucking Trump creating visions of Camelot inside the White House. She's a fashion and lifestyle icon, who has 2.8 million followers on Instagram.

Her influencing ability means a lot for fashion forward women, and even more for "Women Who Work."

Ivanka promotes a distorted brand of feminism wrapped up in social media-perfect imagery with a big fat bow of entitlement on top.

Side note: I read her book, "The Trump Card," and she honestly believes her success is solely rooted in her hard work and discipline. Even without Sugar Vladdy, she'd still be where she is. Bahaha!

Look, if she weren't the First Daughter, I wouldn't give a flying F. But she is, and and this makes her the poster girl for the American wife and mother. And this sucks for the rest of us working women who don't look like this.

But back to point.

In an time when the "certain taste" is defined by conformity and perverted ideals, fashion bloggers have a responsibility to write mindfully.

I'm not sure what this means, but I think it means this: we can blog about lip gloss and faux fur, but we also have to tell other stories.

So I guess, this is what I'm going to try to do.

 

 

 

My 2017 New Year's resolutions

Perception is reality.

 

A seemingly innocuous phrase that we've tossed around carelessly because we could.

It's a phrase that allowed us the convenience of justifying injustices; condemning when condemnation wasn't warranted, and praising when praise wasn't deserved. It's allowed us to substitute the truth because we were either resistant to it or too lazy to fact check.

As we move into the new year and closer to the inauguration, we also move closer to the threat of perception overtaking truth; more than it already has.

And what perception? A narcissistic, delusional one.

The lies and hateful language that granted the Donald this election could soon become our truths. And when these truths give a green light to racism, prejudice and misogyny, that is frankly terrifying.

No one knows what to expect, but seeing random and scary-unqualified people appointed to the highest offices in the land gives more than a pause for concern.

These are strange, strange times.

Often, I'm not sure what to do. I can rant on Facebook, volunteer at Planned Parenthood and march on Washington. But I think doing something goes deeper. I think we have to change certain fundamentals about ourselves.

We got here because of habit. We're careless because it's easy. And we rely on perception because it's easy. I'm guilty of it. Everyone is.

Dumb, thoughtless remarks come out of my mouth everyday, and I've decided that I don't want to - and can't - be like that anymore. I don't want to add more muddle to the swamp.

So I guess my 2017 resolution is to change my habits: to shut up, listen, find out the facts, and ultimately stop relying on my perception as the truth.

Habits are hard to break, so let me know how I'm doing along the way.

Happy New Year :-)

Fashion Friday: Winter Florals

Let's be clear: Florals resemble 70s-style wallpaper and hotel curtains. HOWEVER, subtle florals - when properly accessorized - are totally doable. Here are three tips to wearing a floral pattern that doesn't look ridic:

1. Ditch the domineering. If the dress engulfs you like Ursula the sea-witch, move on. How will you know if you've met Ursula? Look in the mirror, and make sure your pretty face is still the focus.

2. Beware of brights. The busy nature of florals (love a good pun), coupled with vibrant colors, can overwhelm your look. Opt for subtle or monochromatic patterns.

3. Solidify with solids. When finishing your look with accessories and outer- layers, be sure to pick solid, basic colors that don't counteract with your florals.

 

BCBG Kaleidoscope Long-Sleeve A-Line Dress ($78) Maurice's faux fur vest with large collar and knit back ($41.40) J. Crew Signature Leggings ($34.50) Vince Camuto 'Peera' Cutout Bootie ($129.90) Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM ($1,260) Target Rose Gold Teardrop Necklace; similar Ralph Lauren Rose Palais Pave Teardrop Pendant Necklace ($48) Fossil Idealist Black Leather Watch ($115)

 

Super simple skin care

Of course I'm a sucker for gimmicks and pretty packaging, but I'm also a sucker for results. And the truth is, you don't need to pay a lot of money for great skin care; just pay attention to the ingredients and the reviews on beautypedia. Even though I am not a scientist (I can't even balance a chemical equation), here are a few things I pay attention to when shopping for skin care products:

Oils Avoid essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus, rose, lemon peels, etc. Emollient oils are good, like coconut, jojoba oil, almond and argan.

Alchohol Avoid SD alcohol, denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.  Strangely, a lot of very expensive brands have one of these listed as the first or second ingredient. Why? No idea, but these kinds of alcohols break down the skin barrier and dry your skin.

Fatty alcohols like cetyl, stearyl or cetereayl are good for dry skin, and are beneficial in small amounts.

SPF Don't buy a day cream without it.

Synthetic colors Anything with FD&C or D&C means artificial colors, which are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources. These are banned by the EU because synthetic colors are suspected to be human carcinogens. Bad.

Morning

1. Splash cold water on my face
2. Apply Paula's Choice RESIST Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50 all over face

3. Apply Olay Regenerist Luminous Dark Circle Correcting Hydraswirl Eye Cream under and around eyes

Evening
2. Alternate nights between:
a. Prescription .05% Tretinoin cream, which you'll need to get from your dermatologist (insurance pays!)
3. Moisturize with Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer
My current skin care products

Fashion Friday: The presentation at work

On Wednesday, I had to give a presentation at work. NBD, it was only 30 minute; and I showed videos, which minimized any potential weirdness that might have otherwise come out of my mouth. So even though I wasn't center stage for the entire time, I still put thought into what I was going to wear. Here are some of the things I think about when picking the"perfect" outfit for the work preso:

1. Be comfortable. Nobody wants to worry about protruding body parts (like the FUPA); it leads to wedgie-picking and sporadic pantyhose adjustments that are just awkward. Dress in something that feels good and doesn't distract you from your important task at-hand.

2. Be neutral. You are the statement-maker; not your outfit. Don't try to win points by looking sexy (or like a hooker): it's not the time or place. This means, leave your M.A.C. Russian Red lipstick at home, and tread light on the eyeliner. Don't even think about fake lashes.

3. Be yourself. Don't shy away from adding your personality to you look. You can do this by accessorizing and choosing colors that evoke your goal mood and tone. It's hard to go wrong by being yourself, but cat sweaters are wrong. Sorry.

4. Mind your audience. I work in a very corporate environment, which is why I chose monochromatic shades for my outfit.  You can absolutely retain your individuality and  look the part: they're not mutually exclusive.

'Katrina' Riding Boot by Franco Sarto black leather ($179.95)
'Aiden' Pendant Necklace by Kendra Scott Gold Gunmetal ($80)
BP. Stone Stud Earrings gold/black ($10)

My top 3 favorite trends of fall/winter 2016

1. Blanket scarves

It doesn't have to be a perfect square to be considered a blanket scarf; just something cozy and super-duper warm. Opt for a traditional, primary-colored plaid, or something a little more femme. I got my first blanket scarf at Rowe Boutique in the Short North. This soft, woolen blend has so many different hues, making it easy to pair with unexpected colors (like my maroon jeans from Target that Leslie hates).

2. Ponchos

I thought I would look like a tent in a poncho, but it turns out that shorties can also sport this boho-chic trend. If you're under 5'5", I'd recommend looking for cropped styles like the Tasseled Cowl Neck Poncho ($64) from Tigertree.

3. Knit cardigans
For a lazy person like me, this is the perfect wear-to-work essential. Pair with with a pop-color or a chambray shirt for effortless style that doesn't look sloppy. Check out the Haven Cardigan ($54) from Vernacular (locations in Grandview, Worthington and German Village).