monday musings

eeny meeny miny mo

I’m the kind of person who is often paralyzed by indecision, which when it comes to purchases, can often result in buying two of what it is I am contemplating.

By way of example, I love the Treat by Bettye Muller and own it in two colors. I could easily own it in 15 (please, make it in berry and teal). It’s the perfect heel height for work; the perfect height for fun. I can wear the Treat all day long (even through the marbled halls of Congress) and well into the evening. While like every Sex and the City watching woman I’m tempted by all the Manolos and Louboutins of the world, I can (even at this price point) buy two (if not three) of the Bettyes for the price of one of the others and know that my toes aren’t going to pinch at the end of the day. Or by the end of breakfast. Not to mention I’d never want to ruin that beautiful red sole of the Louboutin by subjecting it to the sidewalks of DC.

I knew I had to add another Treat to my collection from the moment I first saw it with the orange cap toe, which I have to admit I got a preview of when Austin from Simply Soles sent me a photo of the shoe after she and the other “shoe angels” had gone to New York for a Spring 2012 shoe buying expedition. Then I saw my favorite shoe with the black toe. A classic. Perhaps more versatile.

Both are gorgeous.

I’ve created mental outfits for both. So now I play eeny meeny mino mo. Don’t hate me if I end up buying them both.

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happy birthday colin

You can do fractions and have a photographic memory. You see the beauty and purpose in everything. (“Don’t throw that away! I want to keep it!”) You have always been a good cuddler and still like to sit in my lap. You constantly whistle.

I can never make you a promise I don’t intend to keep because you will remember, even if it’s months (or years) later. You notice when I get my hair cut and as for your own hair, it goes from the perfect length to too long practically overnight. You need a band-aid on every booboo, even if there’s no blood. And you love to lounge in a hot bath with bath salts (when I have them).

You’re always trying to keep up with your big brother, even when you don’t realize you are surpassing him. You chose today’s cupcake flavor based on the preference of one of your best friends because he doesn’t like your favorite (vanilla) and you didn’t want him to be cupcake-less. (I, of course, am making both flavors now.)

You are shy but incredibly loud. You are both clumsy and meticulous. You won’t change your socks if I don’t remind you, but you never ever forget to wash your hands after using the bathroom (and rat on your brother when he doesn’t wash). Two minutes after a bath, you have your own little cloud of dust swirling around you like Pigpen, but you set out your clothes the night before a big day.

You love candy that is colored blue and flavored like no fruit that exists in nature. But you also devour a bowl of strawberries in the blink of an eye, love edamame, and take your popcorn with truffle salt and fresh ground pepper. You like oysters on the half shell because they taste like the ocean.

You are more than I can describe, yet easy to read. You are my baby.

And today, you are eight.

bah humbug

Seriously, who likes Valentine’s Day?

As far as I can tell, if you’re single, it’s a day that is found universally to be repulsive. If you’re in a relationship, it’s a day when you are forced to acknowledge something that should be celebrated every day.

The last few weeks I have systematically unsubscribed from every email offer that has reminded me about this impending day of feeling bad or inadequate. Amazon, I don’t need to know what books you recommend I buy my true love. I could take care of that myself, thanks. Nordstrom, I like sexy lingerie as much as the next woman but I wear pretty underpinnings all year round, not just for one day. Unsubscribe. Delete.

I’m not sure what the statistic is on how much more expensive roses are on Valentine’s Day than any other day out of the year, but I’m sure it is significant. Are they less thornier? Do they smell better? Are they a more vibrant shade of red?

No, but because of Hallmark and consumer pressure, we all feel the need to meet expectations.

So why do we do it?

What if society collectively decided that instead of buckling under the pressure of some long-ago saint, we’d pick a random day to express our love. Wouldn’t that be more special to the receiver of the gesture? And less painful to those who are made to feel inferior by their lack of a relationship status?

Everyone wants to be told and shown that they are loved. Most people love to receive flowers, chocolate (or salted caramels) or perhaps something lacy. Who wouldn’t melt over having a romantic dinner prepared for them. But wouldn’t it be more fabulous to receive these gestures on March 12th, June 8th or October 15th instead of on the day that everyone else is rushing to make a similar statement?

Some of you will call me Valentine Scrooge and some will say “poor her, she doesn’t have a Valentine” but don’t feel sorry for me. When I receive roses on a random day, have a surprise dinner prepared for me or receive a lovely silky item for no other reason than love, I can assure you, I won’t be thinking of you.

(I mean that in the kindest of ways.)

what my car says about my kids

A few weeks ago, I was quite dismayed when my dad, who was visiting from California, noted that I do not keep my car in the same pristine condition he keeps his. Funny because I’m otherwise a rather meticulous person. As in, I hate clutter. My house is not always “clean clean” but it’s usually straightened up.

Of course, when I first bought my pretty “blue ribbon blue” Prius in late 2009, I instituted a no food policy for the kids. They are no longer of an age where I feel like I have to indulge every hunger pang, and we don’t really take road trips that would justify bringing food for the drive. But sometimes the post-soccer-and-baseball game snacks end up being consumed in the car, there’s the occasional bottle of water (fine) or Capri Sun (sticky) that is opened, or a kid will get in my car at the end of the day so hungry that he starts pulling out his uneaten lunch for the three-minute drive home from school.

But really, the little bit of eating that happens in the car does not contribute greatly to its non-pristine state. Honestly, it’s the quirky personalities of my kids. Let’s explore what really does litter my car.

1. Sticks: In case you didn’t realize, a stick makes a very fine wand. A larger stick might make a great staff. The staffs usually get thrown in the back of the car; the wands end up crushed on the floor of the backseat. If there were a TV show about stick hoarders, my boys would be stars of the premier episode. Colin hasn’t met a stick he doesn’t want to keep forever.

2. Books: I gave birth to two voracious readers. While Colin (like his mother) cannot read in the car without wanting to hurl, Jack can read all day long, regardless of the speed I am driving, whether I’m moving the car forward or in reverse, and no matter the time of day. Right now there’s a Batman book in the car, The Complete Guide to Rocks and Minerals (rocks are also collectibles) and The Amazing Adventures of Ordinary Boy. The boys never know when they might want to read about a conventional superhero, an everyday character they can relate to, or look up a rock they found on the playground.

3. Paper and pencils: Colin may not be able to read in the car but he can draw and when Jack isn’t reading, he’s usually drawing. Their illustrations (and rejects) blanket the backseat of the car because I have a hard time throwing them away. They are art. I leave their strewn papers untouched until they get stepped on enough times to tear or render a footprint impression.

What does the interior of my car say about my kids? They are stick-obsessed readers who love to draw.

If I drove a luxury car like my dad, I might be more strict. But I can console myself with the condition of my car with the though that some day, the Prius is going to be theirs. Then this mommy is going to buy herself a car worthy of her great shoe collection.

I might allow myself to drink a latte in said car. But definitely there will be no sticks allowed.

pretty in pink (and poppy and raspberry)

pretty in pink (and poppy and raspberry)

I usually hate pink. Well, hate is too strong of a word, so let me amend and extend my remarks to say I don’t love pink on me. Pink looks lovely on my friend Emily, on Nancy’s daughter Tess, and on the azalea bushes in my yard each spring. But it is not a color I find myself drawn to usually.

When Jack was a toddler, he went through a phase where he was obsessed with the color pink. I indulged his whim by buying him a pink oxford shirt, pink pajamas and even pink socks. I balked at the pink L.L. Bean jacket he wanted because (honestly) I caved to the social pressure that says boys can’t wear a pink jacket. I had a hard enough time explaining to adults why I let him wear pink; I did not want my kid to get teased at day care. I thus convinced him that orange (my true favorite color) was really sort of a dark version of pink. Jack wore orange jackets for the next several winters.

It is with this history of my tepid relationship with pink in mind that I share with you some of my latest obsessions for spring. I am shocked at myself that my eye continues to be drawn to a color that can only be described as resembling chewed bubble gum. When I am perusing J. Crew’s new arrivals, I usually fill my virtual fantasy basket with colors of black, purple and gray. But right now, I am slightly fixated on this pink cardigan and the candy-striped sweater in azalea and orange. The bright dahlia dress would also be a huge departure from my safe usual choice of navy, and may make its way into my closet the next time there is a 25% off everything sale.

Coral has also caught my fancy, thus this Simply Soles exclusive color pairing on my favorite Bettye Muller pump has my feet begging for spring (and a sugar daddy). Likewise the Function in Fuchsia by French Sole (a marriage of pink and orange) has me overlooking my usual hesitation about flats. One thing is clear, I am smitten with the cap toe craze because both these shoes will be on my wish list, along with the similarly hued earrings.

You’d have to be a caveman to not know Valentine’s Day is coming up (I have been methodically unsubscribing from every email that reminds me) but sexy underpinnings are not only for special occasions. I love this raspberry Chantelle set available at Coup de Foudre (the one vendor I will forgive for sending aforementioned V-Day reminders) and I understand from store-owner Valerie that my favorite Marie Jo bra will be coming in a shade of pink this spring too.

Rounding out my color fetish, Kate Spade’s Cobble Hill Leslie in cinnibar (the perfect alternative to the dove gray purse I am using now), a baby pink Love Quotes scarf, and Chanel lipgloss in a color named, I kid not, Chelsea.

Rest assured pink skeptics, in whatever manner I end up incorporating these happy shades into my wardrobe, I promise not to blind you by wearing them all at once. But on any given day, you will never know if I’m getting in my pink fix with the outfit under the outfit, so to speak.

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, as I sat in my office feeling sorry for myself over my impending doom (i.e. the approaching date of my back procedure followed by two-to-three months of fashion confinement in a back brace) I decided I needed to channel my angst into something positive, creative and reflective of me. Facebook status updates didn’t seem long enough or to have enough reach. I was still scared of Twitter. Even a blog initially did not seem like a good fit. (Let’s be honest, I am not the most computer literate person. I still can’t figure out how to paste the code to Google Analytics onto my “page” so that I can see who cyber-stalks me.) But then I found a platform I could manage, and Styling My Back Brace was born.

I originally envisioned it as a way to visually portray the fashion limits and challenges posed by the brace I dubbed Beatrix. I would post photos of daily outfits and seek advice on how to style my brace better. Well, it didn’t take long for the outfit of the day component to prove a bust. Aside from not having an in-house photographer, for those first six weeks, I rarely got out of yoga pants. The blog evolved into a way to share my trials and tribulations, my observations and progress. The writing came surprisingly easily.

Styling My Back Brace allowed me to connect with people remotely because I couldn’t travel. Hell, I couldn’t even ride in a car for short trips out of fear a traffic jam would push me over my sit allowance. (15 minutes every three hours, so I had to time my drives to the city carefully.) Standing on the metro was permitted but as we all know too well, the train is not guaranteed to be the smoothest ride and can be uncomfortably crowded at the oddest of times. Even once I grew stronger and more confident in my modes of transportation, meetings had to occur some place where I could stand, so most often I met people in a bar.

Yes, I had a lot of lunch meetings standing at the bar. Betsy at Bistro Bis (a manageable walk from my office) still remembers what I like to eat, and more importantly, drink.

I digress.

As my back healed and I shed the brace, I made the decision to keep writing under a different blog name. Even now, I still don’t go so far as to call myself a blogger. I think exactly three people have referred to me as such. Two of those people were kind enough to call me a fashion blogger, and one of my work friends called me a mommy blogger (he’s a daddy, of course). I’m neither one or the other, nor do I believe I write enough to deserve a blogger moniker. I’m just a woman who likes to occasionally chronicle her life (or wardrobe) for the world to read (or see).  Along the way, I hope to entertain and every once in awhile, to inspire.