One Foot in the Wave

These are some of the last photos we took on a walk after our last brunch in Monterey. I cannot believe how quickly the time passed.

I felt beyond lucky to not only have spent three months out west with the husband, but also to have the privilege of taking a break from work so I could genuinely enjoy myself and our new town. Back in February, I was sharing our spring plans with a friend and her husband and he pointed out that having an expiration date to our time out west would probably be the only way that I would actually be able to relax – for the first time in twenty-three years, if we are being honest – and not put pressure on myself to find a job in my field.

In lieu of spending my time at work, I spent my time doing yoga and pilates. I looked at my studio attendance and was shocked to see that in two months, I took 41 yoga classes and nineteen reformer classes. I also started running again, a hobby that I used to enjoy. I am still working on liking it, even though I look forward to it everyday.

Lack of job equals lack of stress on the eight-to-five (more like six-to-six) front. A break could not have come at a better time. Last November through the middle of February was especially brutal. Sixty hour weeks were my norm in preparation for as submitting a project proposal. Three months later and after I left the east coast and my job, I received the best news that I had gotten in a long time. The business development director of my old company texted me to share that my old company was finally awarded the contract.

Now, I am as hungry as ever to get back to work.

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A Midsummer White Dream

The summer prior to getting married, I did not cash in on wearing the color white nearly as much as I should have. Going into the summer I had full intention on copying Natasha’s (Big’s second wife, also known as “the idiot stick figure with no soul” to Carrie and her girl gang) wardrobe from season three of Sex and the City and yet in a iconoclastic move, I recall wearing tons of punchy colors.

While the Bradshaw Boys and I agree that Natasha was an unjust casualty (“Now this tooth is a completely different color than this tooth.”), they are the only other people with whom I have discussed sympathy for the character. Even the costume designers communicated Natasha’s “vanilla” personality by always outfitting her in white, save for the scene in which she delivered the tooth comment in a tone so icy, Anna Wintour felt the chill somewhere in the Condé Nast offices. In that moment, Natasha was dressed in the chicest pink shift. A signal that the character took a turn? We will never know because that was her last appearance in Darren Star’s iconic series.

I subconsciously channeled Natasha when UK-based retailer Figleaves (last discussed here) gifted me a few items for the last holiday week. A long torso swimsuit was necessary, as I find going up in sizes is not a particularly great strategy for a six foot two inch frame. Past results have been tragic.

I do not think I own enough pajamas. That is actually a complete lie. I can count five sets and I am not even in my apartment, let alone my closet, right now. I stand by the fact that wearing a full pajama set just makes me feel like I have my life together.

It is just good manners to wear some sort of outfit (beyond the swimsuit) when food is being served. This cover up was perfect for jumping out of the pool for a sandwich or guacamole.

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Freedom of Beach

Our time in Monterey is coming to an end and we are making the most of our last three weeks on the peninsula. We are looking forward to next cross country road trip and our subsequent relocation to Washington DC. I spent the Obama years going to graduate school within the Beltway and subsequently working in the District. After growing up in the Deep South, that 2008 move was a welcomed change and I will always look back on that time, just being independent for the seemingly the first time in my life, ever so fondly. As stoked as I am for returning to the east coast, I will miss the mellow pace of the west coast.

My only regret is that we will be moving to the District just in time for peak humidity and heat, rivaled only by that on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but minus the sea breeze. {I distinctly remember the heat of the summer of 2013. I walked to and from work in Georgetown, including a hiking up Book Hill in the mornings. That August was as hot as the devil’s hole.} Until then, I will be making the most of our time on the Pacific and the associated temperate weather.

Previous generations of this particular polo style were too boxy for a 6′-2″ frame. I love that this version was long enough for my torso. The shorts are from the Vineyard Vines by Target collaboration and are unfortunately long gone from the online store, as of about twenty minutes after the collaboration went live. In addition to liking the stretch patchwork fabric (so much so, that I purchased the boy version of the shorts for three of my nephews), the higher rise and ever-so-slight longer inseam of the shorts is ideal for a taller gal.

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Pack a Bag: Hotel Boulderado, Part II

for Part I…

Hotel Boulderado was the ideal place to take a eighteen hour pit stop while we were in Colorado. The hotel historian, Laurel, gave us a tour of the property and with that, copious insight on the history of the hotel.

The historic plans of the residential floors were slightly different than the floor plans of today in that they were customizable to guest budgets. For example, adjacent, semi-private (between two guest rooms) bathrooms could be unlocked and included in the overnight package or they could be locked off from the guest room. In the case of the latter, guests would use the floor communal bathroom. This is one of the ways the floor plan has been changed; these days all guest rooms have private, in-suite bathrooms and some even have living spaces and balconies.

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Hotel Boulderado hosted us in one of the suites which included a balcony and living room. The layout was one that was conducive to natural light exposure, in that both the living room, bathroom, and bedroom had windows. The layout allows for a reduction in electricity by way of minimizing the need to switch on the light.

Official green initiatives of Hotel Boulderado include the following:

• Award-Winning Recycling Program
• Environmental Protection Agency certified as a WasteWise Partner
• Partners for a Clean Environment member
• TripAdvisor Green Leaf Program Silver Level
• 60% post-consumer waste recycled paper used on-property
• Monthly energy audits conducted
• Boulder Community Food Share participant

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Sincerest thanks to Hotel Boulderado for sponsoring our stay.

 

A Beautiful Day for Croquet

I stumbled upon this frock on eBay and immediately added it to my online shopping basket. I had not seen the dress before and I knew that if I waited, I would not see it again. Perfect for the fourth of July, it screams Americana Fest.

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Aside for checking for the historic label, the not-so-secret way of identifying if an item is a Lilly Pulitzer, is finding the label of the iconic namesake within the print of the shift. In the case of this dress, I have found it in three locations in the print, two of which are shown in the above photograph: 1) bottom half of the dress on the far right in red and white with the script running vertical and 2) in the red and white square tile in the middle of the dress just below the collar under the solid blue row of 45 degree squares.

In addition to the items in this post, more vintage Lilly Pulitzer is linked below in a variety of sizes. Always check measurements against the listings and when in doubt, go up a size.

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Skirt Report

Upon news of the collaboration between Vineyard Vines and Target, I was inspired to break out one of my Vineyard Vines skirts (last seen here). While I have a few Vineyard Vines printed skirts perfectly suited for warmer weather, this navy and black striped one is ideal for the colder months. Despite what anyone had to say about the upcoming collaboration, there is nothing like it to increase brand awareness and create buzz.

Further outfit inspiration came from Eric of yesterday’s Style Survey. Discussing style with Eric made me want to incorporate more menswear into my outfits. Not only did I “borrow” one of my husband’s Brooks Brothers button downs which I have been known to “borrow” time and time again, but I took it a step further. I love the Repp stripe and on the way out of the apartment, I grabbed one of my husband’s ties.

I admit that this is not an everyday outfit. The skirt and the shirt and the slingbacks? Yes. I would wear that combination everyday because I cannot say no to a men’s button down or an a-line skirt or a pair of comfortable heels. The tie is where I went a bit over the top. I am constantly looking for a way the Repp stripe into my outfits. While I have a silk tie fabric belt that I incorporate into my outfits whenever possible, I could use it in more colorways other than the navy and red as it coordinates with a limited number of outfits.

Is this lewk Gordon Gekko? Annie Hall? Avril Lavigne? Britney Spears circa Hit Me Baby One More Time? Walk of shame?

Does it matter?

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My Sweater Half

This tennis sweater is the one I have been on the perpetual search for and as such this is not its first appearance on my blog (see here and here). It is modestly priced, at least relative to the brand and the quality has proven to be excellent. Even though it is only available in standard length sizes, the proportion still works on someone with a 6′-2″ frame, even in the sleeves.

The skirt has been this and last season’s MVP. Even though I gained weight since buying it, I am still able to wear it, albeit higher on my waist and although shorter than what I would prefer, the length is not completely inappropriate. I purchased the skirt in navy (last seen here and here) and ivory (last seen here and here), and my only regret is not buying the bright pink and the moody mustard versions. It comes in petite, standard, and tall (praise be!) sizes and up to size sixteen. Skirts for some of us, as the average size of the American woman is a fourteen. Shall we work on that? (Looking at you brands.)

Any peacoat is a classic. This navy blue one (last seen here) is Banana Republic circa autumn 2011. I am obsessed with the blue and white striped lining; it really is the frosting of this coat, don’t you think? The only downside is that the lining is at the sleeves only.

Funny story: I was on a date circa November 2011 and we decided to meet up with some of my friends at a more rowdy bar. [DC denizens: it was the basement of Saint Ex.] I left my coat in our booth to rage out on the dance floor. Upon leaving the bar and finding my coat, I insisted that what my date thought was my coat…was not my coat because I thought the lining was throughout the entire coat. He finally convinced me when he pointed out that the label was the same brand…and my same size…with lining in the sleeves.

The entire outfit feels almost like it would be worn by a deliciously evil 80s teen movie villain, doesn’t it? If that is not my vibe for 2019, then IDK what.

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Good Girl Gone Plaid

I am always baffled at how late Philadelphia restaurants open for brunch. Cut to nearly three years ago and our first Sunday in this city. My husband and I wandered our neighborhood during the 9 am hour, during which I opted to get a manicure as the nearby nail salon opened prior to any bruncheries.

Having lived in Washington DC proper for eight years, I was accustomed to restaurants opening extra early. Let’s blame it on the maximizing-your-time-Type-A District culture. Saturdays and Sundays during those years consisted of an early spin and/or yoga class – love a back-to-back – followed by eggs and mimosas.

All of this is to preface that I was shocked at how late the restaurant where we brunched  last Saturday opened. It was only second to how shocked I was in regards to how cold it was. So much so, that when we went shopping at CVS – mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, makeup wipes, candle, you know the necessities – we waited until about three minutes until the restaurant was to open, only to arrive before it opened. Luckily there was a store next door that was opened. Unfortunately it was a sex shop. Desperate times.

A pair of tights would have been a good call. To break down the rest of the outfit, the coat came in tall, albeit eight years ago (linking a similar one, below). It has held up well and the style is a classic. I look forward to wearing it for years to come. The lace top (last seen here and here) is marked down with an additional percentage off and is available in tall and several colors.

This skirt is everything. It is tartan but does not scream holiday. Even though it is not available in tall, it does not have to be because the hemline is a modest one. Since there is so much fabric to the skirt, much like a pleated one I wore late last year and last week, going down a few sizes looks more flattering than my usual size.

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Pleats on the Street

Last weekend was spent in Baltimore where my husband and I stayed at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. Regardless of the purpose, any trip to Charm City must include catch up time with my bestie from graduate school, Jamie. As is always the case, we indulged. This weekend it was copious craft cocktails, brunch, and Italian food. Also scampering around downtown and architecture-peeping.

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Have I already worn this sweater? Yes. Have I already worn this skirt? Of course. Although the marketing image showed them paired together, I had never worn them together before this day.

Sidebar: I typically do not recreate brand-envisioned outfits as I find it to be lazy and uncreative. This habit goes way back. Growing up, if my mom treated me to shopping, I always picked out something that could mix with copious items already in my closet. Low bill, high reward.

Expect to see both pieces make future appearances on the blog because they are phenomenal. My 2018 obsession for finding the perfect tennis sweater is no secret (I blame Charlotte York) and I just love a skirt in which I can go down two waist sizes.

As for Jamie’s ensemble, IDK. He is always the best dressed man in the room and this is one of my favorite outfits on him, down to the hot dog socks and tassel loafers.

dsc04574dsc04585sI am a sucker for a historic hotel and the Lord Baltimore Hotel was no exception. The pair of revolving doors on the side entrance are original to the 1928 hotel. Throughout the weekend, every time I passed through them, I reflected on how many people before me walked through them. The hotel has been open for over ninety years – it just celebrated its anniversary – and there were 700 guestrooms (now over 400). That is a lot of door rotations.

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Stay Fair Isle Longer

Y’all last Saturday in Philadelphia was freezing. Philadelphia phreezing. Filiadelphia freezing? Let’s just say it was epically cold. I had an appointment in Center City early in the am and by early I mean, 9:30.

The week prior was especially tough. Monday I had a meeting with a potential client on site and thanks to a shower of wintry mix, I scooted out of work earlier than I wanted to. This collectively cut out four hours of time in which I could have been working on deliverables. I was at the office for a solid ten hours on Tuesday only to be outdone by thirteen hours on Wednesday. Cut to the eight o’ clock hour that night, two hours after my last mug of coffee, I ran out of steam and had to leave work. And apparently I did not set my alarm that night because I overslept on Thursday morning and did not make it in until nine am. As I keep the six-to-seven to three-to-four schedule, I was starting late. Since I started so late, I ended late, at seven. I capped off the week of insanity by an eight-thirty to five-thirty.

Shall we never do that again? Me thinks yes.

Let’s break down the outfit. After my hellish weekend, it had to be easy. Count me in for any fair isle sweater. Count me in for both colorways if it is available in tall, which this one is. Now that it is marked down to $22, get yourself on board. Every time I wear it, I am pleasantly surprised as how toasty it keeps me. Completely necessary when you opt for a bare legged look.

As for the skirt, it is available in tall and out of the four original colors of which it was initially offered, there are three colors left. Two of which I added to my closet. Right now the skirt is yours for $79 with an additional percentage reduction. Act now, y’all!

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Wooded Whiskey

Several weekends ago my husband had to be out of the country for work.

Naturally, I called Jamie to see if he wanted to visit Philadelphia for the weekend. Affirmative. We had one of the best weekends in recent memory, rivaled only by the one in which we headed out to the woods, drank whiskey, and threw some hatches at a tree.

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Our Saturday brunch commenced with a Bloody Mary custom bar cart at Urban Farmer. After indulging in biscuits, bacon, and Bloodies, we visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and along with the latest exhibit, walked through a wing that always seems to be closed on my past vists to the museum. Lots of Mondrian, Matisse, and Monet.

Philadelphia loves their Christmas markets. Blowing through the market at JFK Love Park and Dilworth Plaza and an unsuccessful attempt at getting Jamie to agree to go ice skating, we ended up netting some truffle oil, macarons, and beer. It was the exact sustainance required for an hour shopping on Walnut Street before heading to Sampan for the daily happy hour. Jamie was shocked at how many people were waiting outside for seats at the bar, but being the seasoned savvy Philadelphian, I knew getting there early would be necessary.

Several cocktails and appetizers later (chicken bao buns, look them up), we stumbled out of the bar. A stop at a few local boutiques and West Elm later, we were on our way back to Walnut Street. Paper Source, Theory, Brooks Brothers. Two rounds of martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives at Butcher and Singer. We scampered to make our reservation at Parc, where were indulged in a butter-laden dinner.

That night we fell asleep watching holiday movies and taking out the macarons. I do not recall, but Jamie shook me while I was asleep on the armchair / ottoman and encouraged me to make the move to the bed. Again, I do not recall. I woke up spooning the cashmere sweater dress was wearing the day prior.

Friendship.

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Breaking Plaid Part II featuring Hotel Marblehead

for part II…

Last week, I wrote about mixing patterns. Decidedly inspired by Blair Waldorf, seasoned in the art of combining floral / plaids / dots / gingham, I started walking on the wild side circa 2007. I am not saying that I am an expert at print mixing, but yes, yes I am. For over a decade, I have been following Eric Daman’s lead. The most important thing to mix in? Confidence.

I typically never wear two types of the same kind of pattern, which makes this outfit a bit iconoclastic for me. While I am wearing two plaids, it works because the patterns are at different levels of intensity. The shirt is the clear bolder and more dominant piece. The skirt is much more subtle, as it is a black-on-black tonal pattern.

I bought the shirt two years ago, but it gets reissued every holiday season, and in tall and petite sizes. The skirt is long gone, as I bought it circa 2014; however it is all over the secondary market. Brooks Brothers released a similar polka dotted version for holiday this year and had I not already had the Vineyard Vines style, I would jump on the Red Fleece piece in a heartbeat.

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