yoga pants: the gateway drug to mom jeans

I love my yoga pants, though I have to admit I don’t do much downward facing dog in them. For yoga, I prefer tight crops especially when practicing in rooms with temperatures 95 degree plus. But for almost every other activity, yoga pants are fair play. Now that I work from home, there are days I never get out of them. Yoga pants are a critical component of this aspiring novelist’s wardrobe.

If I do have to dress up for a meeting, the first thing I do when I get home is change back into my yoga pants. When a friend invites me over, I ask myself: are yoga pants appropriate for this social interaction? More and more, I want to wear them outside the confines of my home office. I try to dress them up, of course, with a sweater and maybe a cute pair of flats or a t-shirt and jean jacket in warmer temps. I had a version of this outfit on over the weekend visiting my college roommate.

Chris: “I wouldn’t have thought to wear my yoga pants with tiger print flats.”

Yep, that’s me. I’ll do anything to justify wearing these most comfortable and flattering of pants.

Because let’s be honest about jeans. They aren’t comfortable. I recently had dinner with a friend (who shall remain nameless) who after our meal, pushed back her chair, unbuttoned the jeans that were digging into her waist, and let me feel the lump of scar tissue in her belly where the button of her jeans typically hit. I mean, ouch.

Nameless friend: “Wouldn’t it be nice if they made jeans with the same stretch as yoga pants?”

Me: “They do. They’re called mom jeans.”

Yes, our love for the comfort of yoga pants makes us yearn for elastic waistbands. I don’t even like my formerly beloved Minnie pants anymore. It’s yoga pants or bust. So please, someone, make yoga pants in workplace appropriate fabrics. Or make denim more comfortable without the stigma of a stretchy waistband. In the meantime, I’m going to go debate with myself whether I can get away with yoga pants for my meeting this afternoon.

she’s alive…

And she thanks you for your concern.

All kidding aside, it’s been rather humbling to get so many “why haven’t you written?” or “where are you?” or even “are you okay?” questions over the last several weeks. It turns out that when I don’t write, you assume I am: sick, overworked, overworking out, in love, in a style rut, too depressed, too happy and/or in Lake Como with George Clooney.

But the truth of the matter is, I just haven’t had the inclination to share. After a relatively short period of time (in blogger years) of presenting the details of my life in a very public way, I felt like keeping my thoughts more private. (“Private: [prahy-vit], adjective, personal and not publicly expressed; not usually applicable to blogging activity.”) Of course, I’ve started posts in my head, usually as I’m about to fall asleep. They never felt share-worthy in the morning . I’ve contemplated the copycat method, building off interesting posts written by the three bloggers  (Wardrobe OxygenDC Celine and Lemmonex) I take time to read.  But what I came up with always seemed forced and weak, not complementary to the original.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to write. I just didn’t want to write it. I kept my thoughts confined to my head and heart and shared with close friends in a more conventional format. That is, over dinners, wine, the phone and the occasional g-chat.

However, now a new season is upon us, and I’m going to try this writing thing again. Much like it’s hard to get back into an exercise routine after a break from the gym, I already feel this is going to be a difficult readjustment. My fingers aren’t quite as nimble on the keyboard. My brain is searching for the right words to make you want to check back to see if I’ve posted. But I want to maintain a balance between what’s going to be mine and what’s going to be yours.

In case you aren’t convinced as to why I’ve maintained radio silence, let me reassure you: I’m not sick (except a pesky head cold). I work decent hours (was oddly nostalgic for an all-nighter Senate vote-a-rama session recently). I haven’t been to Biker Barre in a week. I haven’t been on a date in awhile. I haven’t bought any new clothes (unless you count a date dress that’s awaiting the right occasion). I’m not depressed. I’m happy, but not distracted. And I’m not currently traveling with the newly single George Clooney.

Though if he plans to be in DC anytime soon, I have the perfect dress to wear to meet him for cocktails.

13 in ’13

First came 43 by 43, and now 13 in ’13. That is, I’ve set 13 goals that I intend to pursue in the year 2013. A few of these goals are a continuation of my 43 by 43 efforts. But there are some new ones already penetrating my psyche. And because I can think of no better way to hold myself accountable, I share them all with you. I expect badgering, welcome participation and hope for encouragement.

In no particular order:

1. Get spin certified. You know I love my Biker Barre. I’m not expecting to attain a level of awesomeness that will allow me to teach there. (That might have to be a 2014 goal.)  But every time I hear a song I  like, I imagine what I’d do along to it on a bike. In that regard, spinning is as close of a sport to cheerleading as I’ve managed to get in my adult life. Just harder and sweatier.

2. Learn a new wine region. I know my California wines, but it’s time to branch out. And  I know nothing about Italian wines. Bring on the Barolo, Amarone and Brunello.

3.  Host (at least) quarterly dinner parties. I love to cook, but I don’t do it enough for my friends. Just understand if you’re invited to a Chelsea feast, I’m going to cook Italian so I can practice the skills attained in the advanced pasta making class I’m taking from Hill’s Kitchen. And I’m going to multitask by serving Italian wine (see goal #2).

4. Save money for college. Or get the kids discovered. But I don’t feel like I’d make a good stage mom, so saving is probably easier (though not on my shoe budget).

5.& 6. Travel. I promised the kids I’d take them to Hawaii. And I want to go to Italy. To drink obscure Italian wines (see goal #2) of course. It’s listed here as two goals because it’s two trips.

7. Make iconic fashion purchase. I dream of Chanel. And Cartier. But I may have to set my sights lower. I’m sure I will agonize in this very forum over any potential purchase.

8. Open my heart to relationship opportunity. I’m a dating disaster. I tried Match for 24 hours before canceling the membership. I went on zero dates after six months of e-harmony. Set ups are few and far between. After my divorce, dating wasn’t a priority. However, I’m now at a point where I’d like to share my crazy, drama-prone life with another (hopefully calmer and less dramatic) person.

9. Sign new clients. I have this hot new job. It’s time to exceed my potential with some great new clients whom I can help navigate the tricky world that is the U.S. Congress.

10. Publish the sequel to My Night with George Clooney. This is the only goal that has a very specific deadline. Which would be by the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in late April. If you read my first story, you know why this date is significant.

11. Refinance my house. It’s time. That is all.

12. Finish home improvement projects. That means have a deck built, fix up the yard and install window boxes. Maybe build a wine cellar. Some things the Warriors can help me do. Some I will have to contract to have done. And maybe I can bribe my talented brother to come down to Maine for a week of intense help.

13. Live life to the fullest. I know this particular goal will be difficult to measure. But I will know it when I’m feeling it, and those who are close to me will call me on it when I’m not.

There you have it. 13 goals. 11 months left to achieve them. Wish me success.

a retrospective on packing

It’s easy to find post after post dispensing of (and displaying) advice on how to perfectly pack for your vacation. But do these writers ever follow up with how it all actually worked out?

As I repack my suitcase, I’m struck by what I used and used again and washed and used again. And all those items that I didn’t.

The losers:

Jeans. Why did I bring two pairs? Of course, I needed one for when I was in San Francisco. Two was utterly too many. I haven’t thought twice of wearing denim since leaving the mainland.

Shoes. At the last minute, I threw my super cute Kate Spade espadrille wedges into my suitcase. Where they have stayed for the entire trip with their unworn sister, a pair of camel colored Chie Mihara’s that I brought for SF and planned to use here too. With jeans. (I was wrong.)

The one-piece bathing suit. I thought I might want it for surfing or other water sports. But I committed to the bikinis and didn’t look back.

Two long-sleeved Lululemon half-zips. Granted, they came in handy in San Francisco, but the beach does not cool down at night here, and I should have shipped them home with the work clothes I had my dad send back to DC for me.

Make up. Hair dryer. A navy and white striped cotton pique dress. A stack of bangles. A bunch of condoms? What was I thinking?

What would I bring more of if I had to do it over again? Another bikini. A few more skirts that can go to the beach and transition to dinner.

And definitely, a second pair of flip flops.

fab find friday

She’s back. My intrepid hill staffer of a friend who cannot be named, but who has some words to share on how she’s approaching fall weather on a public servant’s budget.

Somewhere along the pathway to adulthood, fall becomes the season to fall in love with.

Between the search for the perfect cup of coffee, walking to work to enjoy the nip in the air, apple picking, and devouring the September Issue – I put together a few of my favorite fall fab finds.

Fall is the season when I crawl back in to my comfort zone of black and neutrals. I take fewer risks. I look for cozy and comfortable but not sloppy and ill-fitting. Chelsea would never let me get away with that.

Fashion Trend, ikat. I wasn’t a fan of this print in bold colors that littered every store this summer but I like this black and cream version as a more subtle way to incorporate this trend in my wardrobe. And for less than $20, if it doesn’t work I’m ok with that.

A pair of black skinny jeans are a must have and a great substitute when you need something a little sturdier than leggings. Old Navy’s Rockstar Super Skinny jeans are perfect (don’t be intimidated by the name).

Cozy sweaters are synonymous with the season – bold stripes from Zara can be dressed up or dressed down, swap out heels for flats or add a bold necklace and easily go from day to night. This folksy cardigan from urbanog is exactly what I would throw over jeans and a white tee to wear to Sunday brunch or pumpkin picking. I’m a sucker for a hood (not a hoodie).

Keeping basic black interesting takes some effort. This skirt from Jennifer Lopez for Kohls is the right way to go because not only does she know how to cut clothes to flatter a woman’s body, she gets creative with details like faux leather and zippers. I also mix up the black with deep jewel toned jewelry. Both pieces here are from forever21.com. I just bought them both for $16.

And I leave you with the wedge. Chic. Classic. Comfortable.

Now only if the fall weather would return.

my first vintage find

Photo by chelseachroniclIt happened totally by accident. It almost felt like cheating because there was really no more patience required beyond what it took for me to get a parking spot right out in front of the building.

Yes, it was that easy.

I had been planning on popping into Secondi (before heading to a #dayjob coffee meeting in Dupont Circle) only to drop off an armful of items that had long gone unworn in my closet. As I waited for the sales associate to ensure she had all the information she needed from me, my eyes caught a glimpse of this jacket. It’s not quite red. It’s not quite pink. It’s slightly cropped and rather fitted. It’s genuine leather. I instantly fell in love.

I looked at the price tag and expected to see something outrageous. Instead I was greeted by the doable $55.00. I inspected the lining for rips (none) and the leather for wear and tear (nothing that doesn’t just make it look awesomer). Then I tried it on and knew it would be mine.

It turned out I had a small credit of $25 on my account remaining from the spring closet purge, which means I really picked up this little number for a mere $30. I’m already dreaming up outfits and looking forward to the next time I can visit one of DC’s vintage stores.

A monster might have been unleashed.

I’ve been peplumed

Did I say I would never wear peplum?

Yes, it sounds like something I would say. Or write. I could not imagine that this style would do anything but make my childbearing hips look larger than they are. But then I was seduced by the trend, so I have been keeping my eyes open for a version that isn’t too ruffly.

I like this J. Crew peplum jacket because the boucle texture toughens it up. I could just as easily wear it over a denim shirt (as J. Crew styled it) as I could with my silk blue blouse with gray elephants on it (a little too politically charged to wear at this point in an election cycle). Today I chose to pair it with a sleeveless underpinning because it’s early fall and the temperatures could climb to the mid-70s today.

It’s versatile. It’s flattering. I’ve received numerous compliments on it today. And I’m happy I didn’t completely close my mind off to the idea.

Sometimes, you have to push your own envelope.

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Currently Coveting…

I curse my expensive taste in handbags!

When I received a very nice email from the folks at Loeffler Randall informing me that they were about to launch a new handbag collection, I really didn’t think twice. While I am a huge admirer from afar at their funky shoes, I like my handbags more on the classic side, and I assumed their new line would be too uber-trendy.

Then I saw these two bags:

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=54956824

While the bag to the left has a definite rocker vibe, I believe it is executed in a fashion that could remain timeless on the arm of the right woman. If you embody the idea that red is a neutral (which I do) the bag on the right has limitless possibilities.

I am smitten.

The price on these puppies makes blush the Kate Spades I usually buy through a special sale on the sale, and Loeffler Randall items do not quickly get marked down. So I shall merely covet these beautiful babies from my computer screen, and live vicariously through anyone who makes the splurge.

Triple Workout Styling

Here it is. A compilation of what I decided to wear to my spin+spin+barre workout at Biker Barre today.

To the left is a great to and from the gym jacket, or in today’s case, what I wore to recovery breakfast with spin sister Monica of Blue Print for Style in the air conditioned Ted’s Bulletin so that I wouldn’t freeze from my sweaty workout clothes.

For the workout itself, the No Limits Tank from Lululemon provided the support, freedom and inspiration I needed for today’s mental and physical challenge.

What two hour and 45 minute workout would be complete without a Sweaty Band to keep your hair out of your face? That mine has pink skull and crossbones on it just makes it more cutely fierce. I swear, it doesn’t move out of position at all.

And barre socks are totally a must for me. I don’t tuck barefooted. I like that this pair has a little message to remind you that if your legs are shaking, you are doing something right.

It all worked so well that I am already signed up for the same adventure next Saturday.

Hope to see you there.

jubilee

In January and July of each year, SimplySoles holds its three-week Jubilee sale. A gambler’s sale, the way it works is the first week, select items are 30% off, the second week they are 40% off and the third week, remaining items are between 50-80% off. It’s a great way to score an investment shoe at Nine West prices, unless of course, you are cursed with the ever-so-common size 8 foot like I am, in which case your dream shoe is almost always sold out by the third week.

Usually my approach to Jubilee is to roll the dice the first week of the sale under the premise that if the item(s) I covet is still available the second week, then it was meant to be. Rarely do I risk the third week, though in January I did wait and scored the Stuart Weitzman Tango for a mere $67.00.

My friend Adrienne is more daring than I am. She waits until the last week and more often than not, ends up with shoes by Bettye Muller, Butter and Dana Davis at highway robbery prices. But this July’s sale, her patience paid off greater than normal dividends. In fact, she said she feels like she’s stealing shoes from Kassie by getting the deals that she got.

The catch is that Adrienne can afford to wait. She has a size 11 foot.

By her own observation, many of the shoes she picked up in this week’s haul were the last remaining shoe of that style. Thus they were marked down the entire 80%. She didn’t have to worry (like I do) about the little “1 remaining!” alert next to the sale price because of her confidence that not a lot of other size 11s are out there competing with her. As such, on Tuesday, the beginning of the third week of Jubilee, she bought six pairs of shoes. The original price of all would have totaled $1062.00. But when you calculate the sale price and subtract the $50 “sole saver reward” she used, her total came to $242. That’s over $800 in savings!

So next time you large-footed friends of mine lament your shoe size, I’m going to remind you of Adrienne and the benefit of sales that us average-footed women never get near. I would posture that savings like this is worth the few hundred water ski jokes you’ve had to endure over time.