Sweat It Be

The studio where I took pilates this past spring recently replaced all of their reformers. I was only slightly dismayed to learn that the carriages (the flat surface that moves) were the same dimensions as those on the old reformers. I have never been able to keep my arms straight while lying down on it, as they are proportionate to the rest of my body (i.e. long limbed) and I lived under perpetual paranoia that my fingers would get pinched or caught between the rails and the carriage. I commented that my torso is nearly too long for the carriage, to which the studio owner replied that the manufacturer does make extra long ones.

Have you ever been in a yoga class and moved from plank to knees-chest-chin and because you are so tall end up with your face on the studio floor, as opposed to the mat, as intended? It is beyond foul, especially when there is 90 degree class preceding the one that you are currently taking. Another tall woman who took many of the same yoga classes I did, mentioned to me that extra long yoga mats are a thing and that I should look into it.

With that, I began my hot pursuit for not only rounding up all of the tall yoga mats, but all of the tall active gear from golf skirts to snowboarding pants.

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The Cracks Begin to Show

Last weekend was particularly noteworthy. After a productive morning and an afternoon nap, my husband and I went out to a bar to for a party in honor of our newly engaged set of friends. Meeting parents and family members inevitably followed and I still need to know about Blake’s mom’s skincare regimen, as I originally thought she was his older sister. Tucking my phone away for the night to conserve battery to call for a ride home, I was able to stay in the moment. It was a wonderful thing.

Our thirty-something selves left around nine pm as we committed to ourselves that we would. Two Tylenol PM and some Frasier on Netflix and we were asleep by eleven pm. The next morning we woke up to the remnants of Winter Storm Gia. It was early enough that I had the idea to go to our neighborhood Green Eggs Cafe. We had never been but the line for the wait is typically just too long to even consider. I called to verify whether they were open (they were) and whether there was a wait (negative). With that, we each threw on an outfit and boots and we were on our way to beat the inevitable Sunday brunch crowd.

I took observation of my appearance as we walked past a mirror in our lobby and out of our building. Bedhead hair barely tamed with earband, leggings, sleepers in my eyes behind a pair of sunglasses. I would have been more concerned about my appearance but as it was relatively early in Philadelphia for a Sunday at least, my mind was focused on eggs.

After a short walk during which we enjoyed the light blanket of snow, we were seated immediately and each served big mugs of black coffee. I commented about having such a fantastic weekend and despite a fifteen minute rush to get to the restaurant, a relaxing morning. It may have been the best morning we had in recent memory as we were able to stop, reflect, relax and just enjoy the simplicity of a Sunday morning.

About halfway through my mug of coffee, I looked down into the black abyss and noticed a crack in my mug. The crack did not make the coffee any less delicious or effective. It was the perfect metaphor for how I looked versus how I felt that morning: to the outsider I likely looked like a mess but for the first time in awhile on the inside I felt great and could not have been happier.

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Life is not always about the perfect blowout and put-together ensembles. This part of my life is not necessarily one that I share, but these moments tend to be at my happiest, leggings, bedhead, and all.

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Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 242/123

My resistance to shopping in August was consistent with that of July, in that I did not have the discipline that I did during June. Glass half full, at least from a sustainability perspective: I mostly shopped secondhand at eBay and Thredup.IMG_4345

tee shirt dress

Remember when I bought this dress in a size too small back in May? A refresher: I already have a similar dress to the long sleeve tee shirt dress, albeit navy with white stripes, boatneck, and 3/4-length sleeves. I wear it all the damn time. Every time this particular dress is restocked, it immediately sells out, at least in the tall sizes. I finally scored one at twenty percent off, but due to it running small, had to return.

Flash forward to the beginning of the month, I got over the zipper placement and added this dress to my fall queue.1

sandals

Jack Rogers had a sale. We are talking eighty percent off prices, people! The bone sandals I have had my eye on? From $125 to $45. It is no surprise that the site repeatedly crashed during my many checkout attempts. This is the only color that I was hoping to add to my collection of ten and my will for a new pair of West Palm Beach sandals won.

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dress (eBay + Thredup options: size 2, size 4, size 6, size 8, size 8, size 8size 10 // similar style 1, similar style 2, similar style 3)

I originally spied this DVF dress over a decade ago. How is that for a clothing obsession? I then purchased what I thought was the same dress via eBay in 2011, but I mistook the dress for a different DVF style (refer to the similar styles above). I finally found the dress in a size six but with my chubby phase I am going through, I do not exactly fit in it. Cut to planning for a wedding at the end of the month. I found this same dress from my 2008 obsession on eBay in a size ten and at a very competitive price. Now I have a one for my skinny version and my chubby version. Excessive? Or ingenius? You decide.

 

Milly // Vera Wang Lavender Label

The red blouse is the same I purchased in a cream colorway several years ago and have already worn on the blog. I love the tonal print. I love the tie at the collar. I love the fabric; you cannot tell via photo but it has the slightest amount of stretch which offers enough give for someone with linebacker-esque shoulders. Speaking for a friend.

The cream and gold shirt is Vera Wang Lavender Label, a brand that was established just prior to the 2008 recession and shuttered circa 2011. Such a shame. The fabrics and the cuts were gorgeous. It was exactly what I imagined a Washingtonian version of Blair Waldorf wearing on Gossip Girl.

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bag

No surprise here that I am a fan of Foley + Corinna bags. I saw a blue one NWT on eBay and I was instantly sold!

 

cardigan // flats

There was a Tory Burch Private Sale. One cardigan in two colorways and a pair of Minnie later…

 

tartan blazer // tweed blazer // tweed skirt

The new Red Fleece line is so damn good. Straight fire. Rather than indulge in the clothes of the season, I caught some stuff that I missed the last time the trees were bare and at prices that were easier to stomach.

 

cap toe heels // slingback pumps

Recently I have been mourning the time that I ended up returning a pair of Lena cap toe pumps – as lamented about here – because I thought the heel was too high for me. I have been kicking myself because I genuinely loved the cap toe and the colorway. This very morning I wandered online and found the block heel variation of the Lena pump and at a fraction of the original +$200 price tag.

The slingbacks were not particularly frugal, but they were 30% off. I don’t know what the detailing is going to look like in person, so best order a pair while taking advantage of the free shipping and try them on in person, in the comfort of home. I love the Colette style, as it is the same style as the shoes I wore for my husband’s and my engagement photos. I walked miles around the cobblestone streets of Georgetown in those heels and though I ended up barefoot on the sidewalk much later on that night, after the engagement shoot and after celebrating two friends who had just returned from abroad after eloping and after drinks with more friends who we had not seen in months, the situation could have been much worse.

Fourteen items. That is nearly a purchase every other day of August. Some might say I have a problem. Admitting you have a problem is the first step of getting clean right?

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 212/153

I lost my shit this month, shopping-wise. I definitely not as perfectly disciplined as I was during June. Shame, shame, shame. Here goes:

I happen to love a jewelry brand that was selected for the CFDA incubator back in the late aughts. Gemma Redux was frequently featured on Gossip Girl, which is how I and many others discovered the brand. Unfortunately, the designer behind Gemma Redux, Rachel Dooley, closed up shop and stopped production a few years after finishing the CFDA incubator period.

These days, when I can find any Gemma Redux jewelry at a competitive price, I jump at the chance to buy it. After making offers on the five pairs of earrings and combining shipping, I got them for a combined $150. I found a necklace that coordinated with one of the pairs and outbid the lowest bidding in the last minute of the auction, for a total of $55.

 

Gemma Redux on eBay // Gemma Redux on Poshmark

I bought this dress and this dress and this dress. All brand-new.

 

wrap dress (alternate colorway) // lace dress // tweed dress (solid version)

I love old Tibi and old Milly. These days both of the lines are super clean and super minimal, especially the former. I love everything that made it extra during the late aughts. Prints? Yes, please! Chain detail? Sign me up! Metallic accents? In the cart!

 

Tibi on eBay // Milly on eBay

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 188/177

“…But that’s where I stop myself short to consider the reasons that I participate in a trend — why I buy fashion that appeases said flights, and equally as often, fashion that doesn’t. One common denominator sticks out among these decisions: Impossibility. Impossibility of what? Unseeing what has now been etched into my psyche as a veritable saving grace. The holy grail. Glory, glory, hallelujah. My closet will never be the same without x or y. If I could only get my hands on z, I’d never need another thing. It is addiction to be sure — a roaring lion that yells over my shoulder, louder and more forcefully each time I try to ignore it until, eventually, I give in and watch as it whispers into the past, now a satiated lamb. But I don’t notice any of this part because I am busy marveling in the rush of my saving grace; my addiction has paid off! Until, before I know it, the next roaring lion has taken its place.” – Leandra Medine

Under the suspicion that credit card rewards are but a gateway to get me to spend more, I had an experiment in mind. I would save my rewards for the next month and just not shop at all, even if I was risking missing out on a bargain or an incredible item. I did not use any rewards and I did not buy anything at all. Not a first, but it has been awhile since I have gone that long without adding anything to my closet. The sense of control is phenomenal. Is this sense of control my new drug?

I used to use eBay to find stuff that I missed during the first go ’round of primary retail. Then during my last semester of graduate school, I did a marathon closet clean and listed items galore on eBay. I had no idea how much of the stuff would end up selling. What I thought would be a way of deaden the pain or parting with old things, ended up supplementing my income while I was in my last few months of graduate school. Yes, I know I can give it to my local Goodwill or consign it, and this is something that I consider when looking at the condition of an item.

While I know we are in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future, I also know that my husband’s job will eventually, inevitably, relocate us. I do not want to have to move with six large Rubbermaid bins of off-season clothes. Because of that, I am starting #projectpurge. Phase one is listing the stuff I would feel at peace with parting. A morning of listing stuff on eBay and the first phase is underway.

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 153/212

I tried to ride the success of my April moratorium into May. I was not nearly as successful, but it was not as much of a fail as my February and March efforts. Per usual, most of my purchases were made during promotions or with coupons. The ones that were not, are gifts, because Mother’s Day and birthdays. 

gray set (also available here) // pink set (also available here) // white top and short (set also available here)

I have really been into pajamas this month. I probably would not have purchased the three sets had they not been on markdown with an additional fifty percent off. On top of that? The top left set is monogrammable. Naturally, I got my set monogrammed with a canary yellow thread. Perfection.

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rugby skirt

Despite liking it out of the parcel, this skirt did not fit. I should have read the reviews. Not only does this skirt run small but it is also high waisted. I should have gone up at least two sizes. Returned.

 

rugby dress // tee shirt dress // maxi dress // solid shirtdress // striped shirtdress // striped ruched shirtdress

While I cannot resist a rugby stripe, and the dress version of the rugby shirt is the rugby garment I did not know I needed, it was not available in tall. Sometimes you just have to take the chance, especially when it is not a final sale. I was going back and forth between the navy / white colorway and the khaki / black colorway, teetering towards the former. What sold me on the khaki / black is the contrast of the white chino fabric placket and collar. All of my deliberation was for nothing, because while the colors were exactly what I was hoping for, the dress sizing was just not for the tall gal. Returned.

I already have a similar dress to the long sleeve tee shirt dress, albeit navy with white stripes, boatneck, and 3/4-length sleeves. I wear it all the damn time. Every time this particular dress is restocked, it immediately sells out, at least in the tall sizes. I finally scored one at twenty percent off, but due to it running small, had to return. Also strange? It has a zip back closure (not shown in the product photos), which is not exactly the ease that I look for in a tee shirt dress. Returned.

I obsessed about the yellow maxi dress here. It came in tall and it was 40% off. Justified purchase, right? Well, not exactly. The fabric is a touch too sheer for me, albeit the bust is lined. It also just seems like a lot of fabric, a lot of dress; I am sure this is magnified as it is longer in length than the standard size. Returned.

Can you imagine Charlotte York wearing both the pink and blue and white striped shirtdresses? They come in tall (petite too!) and I visited the website everyday them until I found them on a forty percent off promotion. The striped version took a bit of obsessive stalking as it almost immediately sold out of my size. The time came that the medium tall was restocked and I pounced on it! Too much of a classic to pass up.

I am really into shirtdresses now. I love that with a blazer and a pair of heels, a shirtdress is perfect for an air conditioned conference room. The ruching on this style is my favorite part, as it camouflages my midsection. The horizontal stripes add something different to the style. I once read in a Vogue article that you should consider wearing what you wore when you were younger. This dress looks like something I would have saved up my money from working at my weekend (I was not allowed to have an after school job in high school) job and ran to the mall to purchase.

e43f1973bd79cd6fd2828961e2fe4506--white-sunglasses-magnolias

I have wanted these sunglasses ever since Krewe released the style last year. Two weeks ago, Krewe had a private sale. These happen but twice or thrice a year. Fact: Beyonce has been spotted in this style in a different colorway. I also saw photos of her in this style. If they are good enough for ‘yonce… 

UVA cap // Terps cap

University of Virginia cap for a friend. Terp cap for myself. In John Mayer’s song No Such Thing from his Room for Squares album, he name checks faded white hats in what I believe in an homage to this college staple. They are my favorite to wear during the summer – around town, in the pool, on a run, wherever.bracelet.jpg

bracelet

I got a fifteen dollar off coupon from eBay. (More like eBae.) One search for Lilly Pulitzer jewelry – I rarely purchase costume jewelry at full price – and this bracelet was purchased.


 

 

 

 

lipstick // lip liner

I know at the beginning of the moratorium, I said that I would lay off the beauty products, but I needed a night treatment and I wanted pink lipstick and lip liner for the summer. The latter has been on my mind for awhile; it was not an impulse purchase.

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pool float

Mother’s Day came and went. There is nothing that my mom enjoys more during the summer than relaxing in the pool. I sent this float to my parents’ house. I think it will go perfectly with the floating cooler I gifted my dad years ago.

 

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 125/240

My shopping moratorium for the month of April went much better than that of February and March. I am back on the success train that was January!

Something that helped me not shop was reflecting on where the prospective garment would live in the apartment. Is there even room in the closet or in a dresser for it? My answers were almost all nearly no.

This month I purchased two things and both with brand rewards:

bralette // underwear

 

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 97/268

March was not so good for the Shopping Moratorium. When I look back on the stuff that I bought…well, I feel guilty that I fell so far from my course. It is time to rededicate myself to the cause.

When I was in my last year of graduate school, I started to feel like a hoarder. Enter eBay. While I started selling on the site to lessen the bloat, I soon realized that it was a wonderful and passive way to supplement my income. During a time when I was stretched thin between coursework and a job, I found that between the fifty free listings per month and a Sunday morning-long investment in time, the results yielded enough money to live a just little more comfortably.

Within the past month, I started to get that familiar feeling of once again being a hoarder. Cut to me pulling anything I have never worn – which was an embarrassing amount – and anything I haven’t worn in seasons – fat feels – and listing them. It seems like less of a waste to sell it and sock that money in my Roth IRA.

So what did I buy this month?

dress

dress

suit

suit

tweed skirt

skirt

 

198.8 lbs. Remaining Accountable

2018 has not been great for fitness. More like fatness.

Last month, I did not follow through with my fitness goals. I took one Bikram yoga class and made it a mere fifteen minutes in the 105 degree, 40 percent humidity studio. I think I could have made it the full 180 minutes, had sweat not gotten into my eyes and messed with my contact lenses. I allowed my experience to scare me away from it, unfortunately. Resolution: give Bikram yoga another try this weekend. Wear sweatbands.

On the other hand, I committed to sticking to the Whole30 guidelines for breakfast and lunch. I stuck to it! I was loving what I put together for those meals – frittatas and tuna salad with equal amount of greens – so it did not feel like deprivation. Now that I am another month in, I do want to switch up my food choices.

In 2014, I lost fifteen pounds. I accomplished this by using the elliptical an hour a day and counting calories. Unfortunately my situation then was much different than my situation now, so it will be difficult to duplicate. Then, I was living in DC, little less than two miles from my office. I took advantage of the spatial circumstances and walked to work every morning and walked home every evening. My health club was at the midpoint between my office and my apartment. Rather than walk straight home at 5 pm, I stopped at the health club. One hour on the elliptical and I walked home. I added in running the Georgetown waterfront every morning. It is difficult to hate yourself and hate running while having such a fantastic environment.

I had such fantastic discipline then! I counted calories. On any given day, I would have a vegetable scramble (one egg) and soy iced toffee nut latte (breakfast), salad or Starbucks yogurt parfait (lunch), Greek yogurt or apple or banana (snack), and smooothie (dinner). Also, I could drink all of the black coffee that my heart desired.

I am going to try to recreate 2014. It has worked with me once, so I will try it again. Counting calories, elliptical and catching up on reading, and giving Bikram yoga another shot.

 

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 60/365

How has Shopping Moratorium 2018 been going? So glad you asked!

I have effectively broken the moratorium, but I have been so much more thoughtful about my purchases. I have found myself asking a series of questions when I get tempted to swipe my card:

  • Is this piece a classic?
  • What is the fabric content? Subquestion: Is it polyester? Substatement: Just say no to polyester.
  • Will this go on markdown later?
  • Would it be a good idea to order it in a variety of sizes now to determine my size, so when it goes on final sale, I will know what size to order?
  • How will I wear it? Are there a ton of options already in my closet?

So what have I purchased (and not returned):

rugby

rugby

velvet skirt

skirt (in lavender and navy blue)

velvet tank

tank (in ochre and blue)

equipmentblouse

Seersucker Ruffle-Neck Dress

dress

Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 29/331

Revisit Shopping Moratorium 2018 | 2/331…

How excited am I to share that I did very well at sticking to my Shopping Moratorium this month? Very. I was telling my father about my Shopping Moratorium and he audibly laughed when I started, “I am not a compulsive shopper, but I do love shopping…”

While I did make some purchases, they were smart and minimal:

  • I had $45 in Banana Republic Rewards and I did not want them to go to waste. Last weekend, full price items were 40% off. I bought this candle and this one-shoulder shirt. After the 40% off promotion, my $45 rewards, BRCARD 10% off, and LUXE free three-to-five day shipping, the purchase totaled to twelve dollars and change.
  • I had a 30% off coupon for CVS. I was nearly out of shampoo and conditioner and after confirming that I did not have any bottles of either stowed away, bought one of each.

I cannot tell you the last time that I felt so in control of my spending.

198.8 lbs.: Checking In!

For 206.2 lbs.: How Did This Happen?

I am super excited to check in and share that I did indeed lose some weight via my January month of Whole30. The diet – and I am using that word in the sense of what I was eating, not any restrictions I was imposing upon myself – reset was exactly what I needed and by the end of it, I craved bread or sweets only sparingly.

Did I do the workout portion of my January commitment…remember the half hour or so of elliptical? False. Shame of me for not following through; I found that once I was inside for the night, it was difficult for me to leave the building for the gym. This month has been beyond cold and the weather served as the ultimate deterrent that I just could not face.

How am I planning on making progress for February?

In addition to hitting the eight glasses of water a day minimum, I am going to keep my breakfast and lunch weekday diet of black coffee, vegetable frittata, tuna salad on greens with balsamic vinegar, bone broth, and kombucha. Rather than eat Whole30-compliant for dinner, I am going to make one of the meals I discovered over at Goop. the cauliflower black bean bowl and the poached salmon are the GOAT. (Both are pinned on my Whole30 board.) I am going to continue is keep alcohol to a minimum; more specifically to one weekend day only. I enjoyed no longer waking up with a headache or nausea.

 

I am beyond stoked to try Bikram yoga tomorrow. While I have practiced many styles of yoga, I have low-key been intimidated by hot yoga. I heard that it is easier to ease into it during the winter months while the studios tend to be draftier. The notion of sweating out all of the toxins is appealing, so with a generous introductory offer at the studio two blocks away, I will face the elements and get down to the studio. My goal is to attend a class at least four times a week.

Let’s revisit this in a month.