I love Nordstom… “à la distance.” There’s no store near me but since they offer free shipping both ways and were having a sale, I thought, why not order a bunch of stuff online? I won’t keep any of it, I’ll just try it on, from the comfort of my bedroom.
None of these items were impulse buys. They were carefully selected over months of pinning and researching and waiting. I’ve curbed my clothing purchases this year partly due to a new family budget and because I “don’t need another thing.”
Here’s what I got:
VINCE CAMUTO CARRAN PLATFORM SANDAL (IN HOT AND SPICY LEATHER)
I picked these sandals because I have been wanting a comfy slide forEVER. I love a platform and I love a shoe I can just slip on and off and honestly that’s what I’m going to pick all summer. I can only wear my two dollar Old Navy flip flops so much. I chose red (very unusual for me) because it compliments all the blue in my wardrobe, but these come in a few great colors/patterns. The straps are leather, the insole is leather (bonus) and they have espadrille-style soles. I love them! The only con is the straps have a manmade lining that smells like a pool raft. I had to get them as my best friend Joan told me to. VERDICT: KEEP
J. CREW EVIE BALLET FLAT (IN BLACK)
I don’t know why but I didn’t take a pic in these. These ballet flats are perfect in every way. They tick all the boxes. Classic. Black. Comfortable. Leather. Well constructed. No weird embellishments. And they were on sale! And yet, when I searched deep into my heart of hearts I knew…they just aren’t me. After years of searching for the perfect classic ballet flat I realized I don’t need a classic ballet flat. VERDICT: RETURN
HINGE JERSEY TANK (IN HEATHER STEEL)
One needs a gray tank top. If you haven’t gone hunting for one recently, there are so many versions. Many of them have some weird detail: twist front, twist back, tie front/back, lace, high-low hem, etc. I tried this very basic option and sized up from my usual medium to a large and you can see it’s a very unflatteringly skin-tight. Grrr. VERDICT: RETURN
BTW, I think I ought to change my name to “Heather Steel.”
MADEWELL HIGH RISE CUFFED DENIM SHORTS (IN GLEN OAKS)
I have been obsessed about finding a really good pair of jean shorts—more polished than the above pictured cut offs. It’s not easy, but nothing in life really is. Although these look pretty good to me now, I thought the size 30 I got was a little too big. I think a high rise short should be fitted not loose. I could have tried my usual 29 size but not sure I wanted a tight jean short? I really liked the stretch and the look but I couldn’t get comfortable with them being up high on the waist and on the thigh. Sad face. VERDICT: RETURN
TOP SHOP HIGH WAIST CIGARETTE TROUSERS
My favorite J. Crew Martie pants were starting to show their age and were quite tight on the booty (not in a good way) so I’ve been on the hunt for a new pair of cropped, tapered trousers that are stretchy and slimming. I’ve never owed anything from Top Shop (I know, “gasp”) and the price made me skeptical. I loved them the second I tried them on. I’ve been moving away from low rise pants and really love the rise on these. The fabric isn’t too thick. They’re machine wash/line dry and look great from the back. Yay. VERDICT: KEEP
AMOUR VERT FRANCOISE STRIPE TOP (IN MARINE STRIPE)
This shirt was the last to arrive and I was sure it would go right back. The day it arrived I had just gone to the Gap to look for shorts and got two long sleeve striped shirts that were beautiful and on sale. I didn’t need another striped shirt! When I took it out of the package I realized it was slinky and I read the fabric content and saw it was modal. I am not a fan of modal. I like a plain ol’ cotton. Then I tried it on and fell in love. I mean, I’ll let you know when I wash it… but, sigh, I had to keep it. It feels so good, drapes so good, looks so good. I’m in love. Green love. Amour Vert is one of those brands I keep hearing about for their sustainability. Read more at amourvert.com. VERDICT: KEEP
So, my just trying on/not buying plan clearly didn’t work very well. Damn you Nordstrom! Why are you so awesome?!
In other news, I have been cleaning out my closet consistently. I donate to friends and the local thrift store and I have sold quite a lot on POSHMARK. You can check out my closet here.
I thought it would be fun to see what I got from Stitch Fix recently. (I had forgot that I hadn’t turned the service off but just scheduled the shipments to be less frequent.) Here’s what was in my box:
OLIVE GREEN SHIRT
It would look better ironed. I loved the color and style, kind of a Anine Bing look, but I wasn’t sure it was really “me.”
These jeans fit good, felt good. I liked that they had a high-ish waist, some distressing and the drop hem, but I didn’t like how thin they were. I have two pairs of white jeans that are good. Starting to feel so sad/conflicted. My stylist really gets me, almost too much!
WHITE SHIRT & NAVY SHORTS
At this point I dragged my daughter into the decision-making process. She’s so savvy. 🙂 The shirt is so soft. It’s meant to be crinkled, btw. Again, I had to be honest with myself that I wouldn’t wear it. I have four white button downs that are neglected as it is. The shorts fit perfectly, felt comfy and looked great (from the back too), but I thought they were a little too preppy. Also, I have other chino shorts.
SHORT SLEEVE SWEATSHIRT
This top has the cutest sort of pleated sleeves. Its a soft, luxurious cotton that drapes nicely. And I love navy so much.
So that’s the five pieces. I decided since I was spending the $20 styling fee anyway, I was definitely going to keep at least one item. (This is how I talked myself into buying things the last two times. They’re so smart.) And it was at this point that I looked at the prices. I was leaning toward the shorts. But I loved the navy top…which was $148! It’s Joie, a somewhat luxe brand that I’ve never owed before. Ahh, decisions.
So, the next day, I tried them all on again, this time with other clothes, following the enclosed style suggestions.
And there you have it. Hardest decision I’ve ever made. In the end I chose to only keep the navy top. And I’m wearing it right now.
If you want to try out Stitch Fix here’s a referral code:
Are you tired of watching what you eat? Me too.
Recently I had a thought, what if I was my ideal weight? What would I eat if I didn’t need to lose a few pounds? The answer came surprisingly quick. I’d eat like a French woman. I’m sure that means different things to different people, but in my mind it was fresh, whole food that is delicious and satisfying with the occasional indulgence. I remembered the book I got from my mom, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” I decided to finally read it. Author Mireille Guiliano recommends eating a variety of foods, mostly in season, in reasonable portions. Fresh food is preferred to processed and truly enjoying your meals is very important. This is the philosophy I’ve been craving all along. It’s not about depriving oneself or eating diet substitutes. Food is meant to be enjoyed!
Meanwhile, full of excitement and motivation, I finally worked up the courage to tackle a cookbook I received as a gift (in fact I has specifically asked for it): It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t generally use cookbooks because, Google. This book was worth it. It won me over with the fresh-faced photos of GP and the beautifully photographed meals. I remained very skeptical that it was “easy”. After I tackled the shopping for a bunch of ingredients, many of which I don’t ever buy, the assembly was simple. The first thing I tried was chicken tortilla soup. Not only was it easy, but my whole family liked it. Maybe loved it. My picky 9-year-old son ate a meal with multiple green things in it including zucchini. It was such a big hit. I made smoothie bowls, sheet pan chicken, etc.
Both of these books have changed my life. I learned that where I thought I hated cooking, I was just bored. I was constantly buying and cooking the same foods over and over and my tastebuds had lost all interest. In an effort to please my family, I had narrowed our cuisine down to so few things that they were bored too, and hesitant to try anything new. I also learned that the more I cooked, even complicated recipes, the more confident I became and the more fun I had. And of course the more healthy we eat, the more energy we have.
I hope you check out one or both of these books, and try cooking something new. Or buying something new. I find that I don’t put things on the grocery list anymore just because we ran out of it. I plan out a few new meals, a few old standards and make my list from that. I think our food bill has gone down. I use more leftovers and I waste less food. (I’m probably the last person on the planet to figure this out.)
Oh, and I’ve lost a few pounds…
Alright, so I’ve recently noticed just how far down the rabbit hole I’ve gone. It’s to the point that I am pretty much ‘living’ in the UK.
Over the last few months I’ve been reading two books written in a language I struggle to understand: English. All of the British slang and references made them hard to follow at times. While reading these books, I started watching a lot of British TV shows. Soon I was so completely immersed in the culture I forgot that I live in America. I suppose it’s partly my distant connection—both my grandfathers were born in the United Kingdom. So, it’s not surprising that I’ve always wanted to visit.
It started with:
Night of the Animals, by Bill Broun—this is Animal Farm meets 12 Monkeys. Broun is American but has lived in England and some of the language is so English it hurt my brain. But seriously, I really enjoyed this book and found it extra fascinating because I actually know the author.
The Year of Living Danishly, by Helen Russell—I love Scandinavian culture, so this account of a British transplant dealing with the culture shock of moving to Denmark was a two-fer. A completely separate tangent, but this led to me watching the fabulous series Hjørdis and then Rita on Netflix.
And moved on to:
The Crown—I loved this show so much. I want to go back and watch it all over again. Queen Elizabeth’s life when she was young. Claire Foy is so watchable. God, this is the best show since, ever.
Sherlock—Benedict Cumberbatch. I think that’s all I have to say. So amazing.
The Great British Baking Show—my kids got me watching this. They binge watched it to the point that they now critique everything I cook, with British accents.
Broadchurch—I was addicted to this crime drama. Although I didn’t love the dark, violent subject, the characters… they made me want to be there.
The Durrells in Corfu—My FAVORITE SHOW which I’m still watching. It’s set in the 30s about an English family who moves to Greece.
Poldark—sex in the 1700’s.
Fashion Me Now — I’ve been following Lucy WIlliams’ fashion and travel blog for a while. Listening to her is so strangely hypnotizing. I can’t believe I watched this entire video where she just talks about some stuff she bought.
The Frugality Blog —Alex Stedman, though on maternity leave now, has such adorable and accessible posts that I became hooked right away.
Juliet Kinsman—one of my most interesting British friends, a luxury travel expert.
If you’re looking to travel virtually to the UK or pretend you’re more British than you are, I hope you check out some of these lovely escapes.
I’ve been pondering this topic for a while: What do you do with a fur coat that you don’t feel good about wearing? I’d been wanting a leopard coat forever—faux leopard, obviously. I’ve pinned lots of options:
Then, one day I was talking to my mom and she said she had a vintage fur coat I could have. It was “ocelot”. I pretended to know what that was and then promptly Googled it. I’ll save you a click and tell you: “The ocelot is a wild cat native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central, and South America. Its population is estimated to comprise more than 40,000 mature individuals and is considered stable. Its fur was once regarded as particularly valuable, but legal trade of its fur ceased decades ago.”
My mom said she’d send me the coat, she didn’t wear it and probably wouldn’t need it in California. When it arrived, I quickly opened up the box, took out the massive garment, and tried it on. I knew immediately. I would never wear it … Not as clothes. Not in public. Now what? I hung it in the closet and put off making a decision about it.
Recently, I decided I needed to find it a new home.
I’ve never been really definitive about my feelings on real fur. I feel pretty awful about that statement. It’s as if I don’t want to offend anyone. But the longer I think about it, I can never condone wearing real fur. I can’t even be okay with wearing a fur that was made a really long time ago.
You can’t sell illegal fur. I didn’t want to just take it to the thrift store. After a little research I found a few options: donate it to a museum, to a place that helps the homeless like PETA’s fur campaign or to a place that helps animals like Cuddle Coats.
I contacted Cuddle Coats and arranged to send it off.
I haven’t told my mom.
I thought more about finding a faux fur. They look so cool. But, now I don’t know. Do they?