With the wind at your back

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Photo by Ian Keefe on Unsplash

 

Do you ever have those days where you look at your to-do list and your whole being just yells no?

“#1: No….#2: Noooo….#3: That’s a no…#4: HELL NO….#5: Not today cuz no….”

I have those days, a LOT. I have days where I can barely do anything productive at all, and days where I have just enough energy to do the bare minimum, or days when certain categories seem fine but others not – so I’ll clean my entire house but won’t be able to look at the emails I have to reply to.

Some days I’m fine with this, with no guilt whatsoever. But most of the time I’ll have to wrestle with at least some guilt or frustration that I can’t just muster up the mojo to get all the things done. Especially when I have a few days like these in a row – I start to think “all this will never get done in time – I’ll never ever get to these gross things on my to-do list, ever”.

My first reaction is to try and force myself to do it. Sometimes a little bargaining works – “just do this one small thing AT LEAST – then you can at least say you did SOMETHING today”. But sometimes my desire to ignore my to-do list is like an elephant, and I’m trying to just pick up one leg and move it an inch forward with no luck.

Then my whole day is about this battle, and how I’m failing, and I’m such a lazy person, etc. etc.

But, around this time last year, I started making a big effort to cut out the guilt. And it’s been working out great. I still have to take a moment and talk myself through it, but I am so much better at letting things like this go now. I also trust more in a pattern I know that I have – where I can put things off for a long time, to a point where it seems like disaster is just around the corner, but then have one super productive day and wipe it all out in one sitting.

My sister and I have tried to remind each other of this cycle over the years – we’ll call the other person and we’ll be convinced that this is our life now and we’ll never get anything done ever again. The other will bring up how we always come through eventually with a super productive streak, and there is just no use in worrying. Thank god for sisters.

We’ve both gotten better at trusting this cycle, but we’ve never had a name for it. Then the other day Mary goes “I just have to wait for the wind to be at my back, yunno?”

It was the perfect way to describe it. Everyone is different, but I know that for us, we will just make ourselves miserable if we try to do things before we are ready. Of course we can meet deadlines and all that, but when it comes to that boring adulting stuff, or work stuff that doesn’t have a deadline but you want off your list, etc. – if we try to get all that done on a day where it feels like a battle, then we’re just wasting a day. Our bodies and minds are telling us it needs to rest, even if it seems to make no sense to us. Regardless of the reason, it’s best to (as my sister said) “just chill in the boat and have a margarita”. When the wind comes back, things will be SO much easier, and you’ll go so much farther with a lot less effort than if you tried to move yesterday.

And isn’t that just more efficient? I know that eventually I will have one of those days where I wake up just READY to kick some ass. And I always surprise myself on those days with how much I can get done and how many names I can take.

Today is not one of those days. But today, I’m trusting what my past has proved to me – that eventually I WILL make those doctor appointments, or write that blog post, or finally clean the shower… No use in trying to move mountains when it will just make me cranky.

Wanna have a margarita with me while I wait?

 

 

…and then she proposed…

I was watching TV, annoyed that I had to sit through commercials – because what is this, the 90s? – and a credit card commercial (I think) came on. A young black couple sat in a Chinese food restaurant. She looked nervous. He opened a fortune cookie. It was cute. She proposed. I was like, well that’s badass.

So back before we were ready, I had the idea. Aside from the fact that it would make me feel like a feminist badass, I also thought it would be really nice to take it off of Anthony’s shoulders. He stresses out A LOT about giving gifts every year for birthdays or Christmas – they have to be absolutely PERFECT. I knew that this would be so much pressure on him – so why not take it on myself?

Then one day, we talked about having kids. Usually these conversations go a little like this:

Him: Do you want kids?

Me: UGH. NO. I mean, probably. But in like, 10 – no, 20 – years maybe?

Him: Ugh I know right? We’ll probably have them, but I can’t imagine having them…

Me: Let’s stop talking about this.

Him: K!

But this time, he was like “Ya, I want kids.” And I was like “Ya, me too.” Then I realized we needed to get the show on the road and told him I wanted to be married for a few years before it all goes down. And we had this moment, celebrating our 4 year anniversary in Pismo Beach, where we were like – “Holy shit. We’re gonna get engaged soon.”

This happened in March. We both thought, without telling each other, that it would probably be sometime this summer. During our conversation in Pismo I threw out the idea of me proposing to make sure he didn’t react in a random way – of course he just shrugged, and apparently told people it was a toss up over who would propose first.

Which, by the way, I just LOVE. So much more exciting, in my mind.

So a couple weeks later, I’m hanging out with my sister and some friends and talking about what I would want to do. When I thought of what Anthony would want, I immediately thought of his family. He would want them involved somehow. So I thought maybe I could have them come out and surprise him over the summer. Then I realized they were already coming out for a show of his in late April. My sister was like, “Just do it then.” I was like “Ummdkajfhweihgwirjglkwgjm;wldg huh?”

But that made the most sense. It was SO fast, but also – what are we waiting for? And I’m soooo glad I didn’t plan something farther out because it is SO hard to keep that shit a secret – I just wanted to get it over with!

So I made a plan – then called his mom, his dad and sister, and my mom. They were all thrilled and we made a plan for the parents to come to Santa Barbara the day after the show. It was a really emotional day, actually – talking to everyone about it and planning it and having it become real – no going back after that.

There were a lot of logistical issues, some I won’t bore you with, others I’ll mention because they might be helpful to someone who might be thinking of doing the same thing. But I have to say, with all of the complexities and planning and things that could of gone wrong (even though the proposal was so simple!) – I was SO damn lucky. Fate LOVED me the whole time.

So one issue was his ring. I wanted something shiny to hold up when I got down on one knee (I wanted to do the whole thang ya’ll). But I didn’t know his ring size, and I didn’t know what kind of ring he would like. I googled the first issue – and let me tell you, the internet doesn’t talk much about chicks proposing. Except this one study that said it’s a BAD IDEA AND DON’T DO IT. Anyways, people were like, “measure his finger while he’s sleeping!” or “go to a jeweler and joke around and have him try on some!” – those weren’t going to work without completely giving away the surprise.

So – I just made a call. I picked one that I thought would look beautiful on him, and picked the size of my friend’s husband’s ring. It was $20, so no big deal if it didn’t even fit on his finger.

Fast forward to the day of. I had been SO good you guys. Usually I tell people I meet in the bathroom line what’s going on in my personal life, but I had kept this a secret from all of our friends, save a couple of mine who live far away. YAY ME. I also wasn’t acting like a total crazy person, even though I was SO nervous the entire afternoon leading up to it.

I suggested that we head to the beach early to take some pictures and watch the sunset before meeting his parents for dinner. And my guy is so sweet. He was like, “Okay, I guess I’ll need to look nice then.” When I suggested that I drive instead of taking the usual Lyft (so I could make a detour to the proposal spot) he kept asking why, since parking at the restaurant/beach was so insane. I just said because, and he just let it go and let me do whatever I wanted. I love this man.

I realized we had to get gas and nervously texted my sister who was hiding at the proposal spot, camera ready. I felt like I could probably barf on my shoes. I’m getting nervous even thinking about it now! As we drove, he loudly rapped Kendrick Lamar lyrics and thought it was a great idea when I suggested (totally casually) that we stop by that lookout point he had taken me to years ago, above the beach on the cliff. Apparently that was not my smoothest moment and he started to think something was up. It didn’t help things when he asked me what we should listen to and I suggested our song. But I knew he would love that so it was worth it.

The sun was golden and perfect and Santa Barbara was looking its very best that evening. I pulled over at the lookout spot and nervously grabbed the ring out of my purse, putting it on my finger and hiding it from him as we walked to the cliff edge. I was totally shaking at this point, wanting so badly to just rip the band-aid off.

I (think I) told him that I was so glad he moved here and that we met in such a beautiful place, and that I was so happy and proud of the little life we made together. I (think I) told him that I usually get scared of big things like kids and marriage, but he makes it all seem doable, and better yet, fun. That I have a hard time trusting and being vulnerable but he makes it easy, and better yet, the most rewarding thing in the world. I wanted to spend the rest of my life having as much fun as I’ve had in the last four years. And then I knelt down and held up the ring, and said “Will you marry me?” (I think – I was so nervous I may have blacked out a little).

He was immediately on the ground with me, all reassurance and love and happiness. I was shaking and we stood up and I hugged him and just shook and sort of sobbed? But not really crying yet, just shaking and electricity and relief and vulnerability literally pulsing through me. I just held onto him and was so glad it was over.

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He said I was really cute and that this was perfect and then said “Are we the most subversive couple or WHAT?!” and we high-fived. Then I told him I didn’t even know what I just said because I was so nervous – and then proceeded to tell him everything I WANTED to say, but maybe forgot to say?
He said, “Ya, you already said that, baby.”

So yay me, I guess?

By the way, the ring fit, and he loved it.

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My sister came strolling up – “I just happened to be in the neighborhood!” – and gave him sour skittles. Then she took some pictures of us right after, and we all headed to dinner. We were early, because apparently proposing is so uncomfortable that I do it in lightning speed. And I could hardly talk to anyone for about 10 minutes as my body recovered from what apparently was quite the physical as well as emotional ordeal. Once I had champagne, and realized it was over and I could just relax, I came back to life.

My parents also came to dinner, and we had such a special night. My mom gave me her mother’s wedding band, which was so special for so many reasons – I might do a separate post explaining that – but we were all crying and the night was even more amazing than I could have imagined. Anthony’s sister FaceTimed with us and sent a gift ahead of time, and our parents bought dinner and champagne – it was the best time ever.

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We got home to our apartment and talked about the whole thing, staring at our rings. We texted friends. I said I was surprised he didn’t cry more when I proposed – I was expecting a lot more water works from him. Although, he did cry when I said I knew he would want his parents there to celebrate with us. And after a couple beers, and putting on the playlist we used to listen to when we were first dating, it happened – he started crying and it all hit him – and I was like YESSSS! I won’t be the only one with a crazy emotional roller coaster happening tonight!

It was truly the best night ever. I can’t believe how easy he makes things. How the hard things are rewarding with him. How everything seems to be exactly the way it should be – but even better. I get to be with my best friend, and laugh my ass off everyday that I’m with him. I couldn’t be luckier.

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10 Steps to Discover Your Personal Style

Do you have a person in your life that just has it so together when it comes to style? Where you see them and you’re like – how do you look so polished, like you just went shopping yesterday – but EVERY DAY?

I have a couple of people. Girls at work who I wish were celebrities so I could pin their outfits and have them as style icons… and my bff who is just as obsessive as me about clothes, but has cracked some code lately that I haven’t.

She did the whole Kon Mari thing and purged her closet when the book first came out, and discovered that minimalism is her JAM. Not only when it comes to her house, but her style too. She now has this chic-ass closet with all neutral colors, soft knits, flawless dresses – so grown up, so sexy – and so her. She throws whatever on and it’s always amazing. And she feels amazing about her closet and loves everything in it.

So, I did the whole purging and reorganizing thing, and got pretty good at it. I can get pretty scrappy when it comes to being minimal and getting rid of things I don’t need. But I still feel a little…at sea. I look at other people’s wardrobes and it’s so clear and identifiable – that’s they’re style. You could go shopping for them and know what they would like in an instant. And they seem so comfortable in what they’re in all the time.

So I did some research, brainstormed, and came up with some tips and tricks that I hope will help you as much as they helped me if you’re looking to narrow down your personal style. After completing all these steps, I’m starting to see more and more clearly what my style is and what makes me feel the best, plus discover some realizations I never thought about before.

 

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1. Start brainstorming with style icons, Pinterest boards, and your closet MVPs

Start by simply looking for what you like. Make a Pinterest board of outfits you like, or update one you already have. What is catching your eye? What is making you say ooh and aah?

Who are your style icons? Search for pins of musicians, models, and bloggers that you would pretty much date – and add your favorite outfits of theirs to your board. You can also think of style icons who aren’t celebrities – coworkers, friends, imaginary personas in your head… what would they wear? Pin that stuff.

Tip: I found it helpful to look for style icons outside of the typical cast of white and very thin celebrities that usually come to mind. Even if you completely relate to their body type, branch out – I found that it makes me feel so much more confident about being different and dressing however I want, despite the status quo.

Use your own closet for inspiration as well. Put everything you absolutely love without question at one end of your closet, all together. Now browse through those pieces and see what they all might have in common, or the story they’re telling. Use that to influence your Pinterest board, too.

Tip: I have a thousand Pinterest boards, which might not be your thing – but consider using multiple boards for style inspiration if you’re trying to narrow down what you like (you can always make them secret if you don’t want the world seeing it). I have a winter style board, a summer style board, and a My Style board. Super original, I know. But I find it really helpful to just throw whatever speaks to me on the summer/winter boards, and be much more picky with the My Style board. My problem in the past was getting distracted by things I thought were cool, but then losing sight of what I wanted to wear in real life. So maybe going into this exercise, create a new board where you can start fresh, if you’ve been a style pinner in the past.

 

2. Kon Mari the shit out of that board

This was Em’s idea (the bff). Like I mentioned, my boards can get distracting sometimes – I’ll put a pic of a runway model on there because the color combination inspired me, but I would never wear the outfit. Use this board, your “This Is My Style and I Figured It Out and It’s Awesome” board, to only pin things that you would LOVE to wear.

To help with this, ask yourself these questions as you pin or scroll through and clean up the board:

  • Do I love this? Like, really love this?
  • Would I put this outfit on and feel good in it?
  • Would I buy this?

Come back to this board as you go through the rest of the steps and keep tweaking it based on the answers and realizations you might come to.

 

3. Find your wardrobe color palette

I found this step super helpful. It might sound kind of random at first, but it really helps! Look at your current closet, including shoes, bags, and accessories. What colors keep popping up? What colors are rare? If you took my advice and put everything you love at one end of your closet, which colors are there? Which colors are at the other end – with things that you might really like, but maybe you hardly wear them?

Here’s an example of what I came up with for my wardrobe:

  • Main colors: navy, pink (peach, blush, salmon), cognac, grey, black
  • Neutral colors: black, cognac, grey
  • Accent colors: jewel tones – purple, red, green

This is helpful for future shopping trips for anything – makeup, clothes, jewelry, bags – because you can look at your palette and say, “Will this piece go with my main colors?” If the answer is yes, THAT SHIT WILL MATCH EVERYTHING. We are on our way to giving you a closet where everything works together, and putting together outfits is easy.

 

4. Define your key pieces

What do you wear all the time? Are there some weeks where you feel like you have a uniform? Mine is jeans, brown ankle boots, top, scarf, cardigan. When I’m not feeling creative, I rely on these pieces to make me feel cute anyway.

Here are my key pieces:

  • cognac ankle boots
  • cropped dark grey moto jacket
  • ripped skinny jeans
  • scarves
  • patterned tops
  • loose-fitting neutral tee
  • casual dresses
  • brown leather heels
  • Henley tops

Use this list as a wishlist for items you might want to consider splurging on when you have the chance – investing in these pieces will make you feel much more put together. Then you can try out other trends at cheaper prices, while your staples will last you forever.

 

5. Find the key words that define your style

Who do you want to be? Don’t think about who you should be. Do you want to be a bohemian goddess? Do you want to be a bad ass CEO? Do you want to be a rock star? What do you want your style to say about you?

This may seem kind of silly, but it’s so helpful – you need to have a persona in your mind to move toward. One of mine is very weird, but it puts a clear image of a persona in my head (for whatever reason) – “The Cool Girl”. I know. But when I look at a top and think, “Is this what The Cool Girl would wear?” it becomes clear instantly. The style that comes to mind is torn jeans, casual tees, chic ankle boots, interesting tops, simple jewelry, dresses that are simple but make a statement – sexy but laid back. The Modcloth Girl, or The Coachella Girl, or The Professional Classy Chick, would have a totally different style.

So here are my key words:  “cool girl”/edgy, bohemian, girly, casual, simple

 

6. Think about your lifestyle

Do you work from home, but have a ton of heels and pencil skirts? No wonder you have nothing to wear. Start with being realistic about where you are in your life right now. You need a closet full of clothes that make sense for your life. Not Beyonce’s, or Elizabeth Warren’s, or Serena Williams’. Look at the proportion of time you typically spend in certain categories and try and get your closet to match that. If you never go to the Grammy’s, then you probably don’t need 5 ballgowns. If you teach yoga for a living, invest in awesome and cute active wear, and stop loading up your closet with blazers and blouses you’ll never wear.

Here’s mine:

Lifestyle: work, casual weekend, working out, going out

Most is work, but it’s very casual – every so often I want cute work out gear and a killer let’s-go-dancing outfit, but I don’t need to invest a lot in that category.

Tip: Use your key pieces that you outlined in number 4 to help with this one, plus the favorite things in your closet that you keep reaching for again and again.

 

7. Now you’re ready to really polish that Pinterest board

After thinking about your dream style and closet, and matching that to your real life, you’re ready to go back to that Pinterest board and create a final curated and crafted mood board of your personal style. Hopefully things are starting to come into focus a little bit – but remember, it’s a process!

Weed out anything that doesn’t fit with the work you did above, and take a scroll through – this is what you’re going for.

 

8. Take action

Alright. Let’s take a look at that other side of your closet. Now, some stuff may be things you love, but wear more sparingly – these could be tops or dresses in one of your accent colors that are great for one of your lifestyle categories. But look through what you have and make some tough choices. Would you pin that sweater to your board? Is what you’re seeing lining up with your key words? Would your style icons borrow clothes from this closet and pretend to forget to give it back?

 

9. Use your new shopping weapon

Use your new style board as your guide when you go shopping from now on. Take a scroll through before you head out on a spree, or use it when you are on the fence about something in the dressing room (“but it’s only seven dollars….”).

I use Pinterest for shopping all the time. I have my trusty “My Style” board now, plus I like to have a separate board as a shopping list so I won’t forget to look for wish list items (I know, I’m a Pinterest board hoarder). I did a post a loooooong time ago about how I use Pinterest as my closet’s bff – you can check it out here.

Remember, less is more – we’re not going for a TON of pieces that scream your style, but slowly collecting a curated closet that has just enough – and makes you smile when you see it.

 

10. Rinse and repeat

Come back to your style board every so often and reevaluate – especially after life changes like getting a new job, weight gain/loss, having kids, after the latest Kon Mari binge, etc.

 

I hope some of this was helpful! I also created this fun worksheet that combines a lot of these steps into one page that you can use to brainstorm, hang in your closet, or just kill time at work. :) (Here is a similar one from Unfancy that I love!)

 

Download My Style Worksheet

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Life Lessons from Laguna Beach

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It started when I was about 16, watching Laguna Beach and noticing how Kristin Cavallari seemed to be about 20 years older than everyone else. Sure, everyone pretty much hated her. But I think it was because she was on to something – and no one knew what it was.

While on one of our frequent phone dates, my sister (who was in college at the time), cracked the code for me. Kristin didn’t care what everyone else thought – at least not nearly as much as a 17 year old typically does.

Here’s what she does that we found so revolutionary:

  • She leaves the room/party/conversation when she’s not having a good time anymore
  • She is honest about what she wants and doesn’t want and doesn’t apologize for it
  • She is confident – in how she looks (cuz duh, but still), and that she will still find friends, or another boyfriend, or someone who will want to spend time with her if everyone else hates her
  • She takes as fact that her idea of a good time and opinions of other people are totally valid

…and everyone hates her. She’s the mean girl. She’s the bitch. She’s self involved and selfish. And okay, she is a popular white blonde 17 year old who is rich AF so I get it. You can hate her. But she doesn’t care. And that’s kind of – why you hate her.

Why doesn’t she care? Why isn’t she freaking out about what everyone is going to think if she leaves this party early because it’s lame and people are being idiots and she would rather be home alone watching TV? How can she just leave and not feel bad?

What we’re all thinking is – I would never be able to leave and not stress over it.

Maybe you never watched Laguna Beach circa 2005 (I’m sorry that happened to you) and maybe you leave parties and don’t give a shit and that’s awesome. But the majority of the people I know didn’t know what this sorcery was, especially at 16 – and some still don’t leave parties even if they are basically in hell at age 30 because they don’t want to risk making a couple of acquaintances feel bad.

And let me get something out of the way real quick before we move on – Kristin Cavallari was acting like a bunch of dudes act all the time. Everyone had a passionate hatred for her on that show because she’s a woman who doesn’t care what you think. That just goes against everything everyone has ever been taught in our society from day 1. If you’re a woman, you DEFINITELY care what everyone thinks, to the point of literally harming yourself in all sorts of ways. Men experience societal pressure too – but I would argue that women are particularly hated when they decide to say fuck off to their set of guidelines. I just read Shrill by Lindy West and in that book you will find a ton of evidence to this point – being a woman who is loud, contrary, and I unapologetic will result in mankind’s worst behavior coming at you from the underbelly of everything shitty. (I recommend the book, by the way – it wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be, but she is a feminist bad ass and makes you think of things you may not have before).

The point is – Kristin and Lindy are hated. But they are also revolutionary and we want what they have. Or at least a lot of people I know do, and I do, too. I want a life completely based on my terms – doing what I want to do and surrounding myself with people I enjoy.

So my goal is to continually move toward this. I have been moving toward it since I watched Laguna Beach. Some switch flipped when I figured out that I wanted what Kristin had. I dumped a group of friends (in the only way my teenage self knew how – I would probably do things differently now – but then again, high school is SO WEIRD so who knows if I could have actually done that in a better way). I was tired of feeling like a doormat and basically telling people in a variety of ways to treat me like one. So I cut out things in my life that made me feel shitty, at the expense of things I was supposed to care about above all else – like looking cool with a group at lunch (I’d rather go home and eat with my mom), or not attracting too much attention at the risk of it being negative (I started dressing the way I wanted to instead of how I thought I should).

I stopped putting other people’s feelings about what I did above my own feelings about what I did. I mattered more.

How I feel everyday matters more than how other people feel about me everyday. If something makes me happy and that causes someone to think of me in a bad light, that sucks I guess but it’s more important that I feel happy.

I’m mostly talking about acquaintances and social circles here, so of course take it with that in mind – sitting for 2 hours talking to my boyfriend about my feelings and being super vulnerable is not my idea of fun, but I am prioritizing myself in that moment, and of course him as well. So you get what I’m sayin.

This new book I’m reading (I Need Your Love – Is That True? – terrible title) basically asks you to imagine what your life would be like if you stopped caring so much about what people thought about you. What if you only got dressed for yourself? What if you looked at your social calendar and schedule for the week and only saw things you wanted to do? (We talked about this idea a while back, actually.)

I’m trying to slide into my 30s with this mentality as a goal – life is too short to care about what peripheral people think. If I spent the time I took worrying about acquaintances and how they viewed me and applied it to my important relationships, how might my life improve?  I want to hit 30 with some experience with this under my belt so I can hit that decade running. I want to be a Kristin – who, by the way, was always very sweet to her close friends, from what I can remember (it’s been a while). I want to have FUN and give my time and effort to the people that really count – not this weird studio audience category of people that so many take so much time trying to impress.

We need to ask ourselves – how important is this person? Then give them a proportional amount of time, brain space, and effort.

 

What do you think? To be honest, I haven’t watched Laguna Beach in a loooong time so let me know if I have selective memory and if any of ya’ll remember it differently! And I found this fun piece if you want to take a stroll down memory lane…

Do you have any goals to give less f@#ks lately? :)

 

 

 

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