Sunday, February 28, 2016

february budget

Last year I started tracking my spending on clothing -- it seemed like a kind of a smart, grown-up thing to do. Around the same time I did a major closet clean-out/purge and discovered too many flammable looking Forever 21 pieces, pilled Target cardigans, and regrettable impulse purchases that were all gathering dust. I liked the idea of having some accountability to curb some of my mindless buying, so at the end of each month I survey my purchases and make sure that I'm sticking to my budget and making smart decisions. And here we are.

February was supposed to be a no shopping month for me, so how'd I do? Ehhhh...

I didn't make it. All was fine until about a week ago when I decided to make an exception and buy these sneakers that I fell madly in lurve with. I was planning to just wait until March, but all of a sudden they were selling out everywhere and I realized they wouldn't be around that long. I also realized I'd really be bummed to miss out on them. I mean, they're just sneakers, but I do have a habit of obsessing over the ones that got away. I spotted my size back in stock and a nice little President's Day promo code and just went for it. When I got to the checkout, there was also a pair of sunglasses in my cart from a previous session but I pretended not to notice and placed my order. So my purchases for this month are as follows:

Adidas Originals ($101) // Oversized Retro Sunglasses ($14)

monthly budget: $200 ($0 in February)

total: $115 ($85 under budget/$115 over budget)

The good news is that I love both purchases and know I will wear them both often (practically daily), so I'll consider it a success for thoughtful, mindful shopping. Small victories.

When you're not shopping for (most of) a month, you have lots of time for window shopping, which I did plenty of. All kinds of spring goodies are showing up in stores, and I have my eye on a few:

this lace shirt is a little off-beat but has some interesting potential // still digging the crazy pants // this perfect looking sweater is from the upcoming Lemaire collab with Uniqlo (love the half sleeves) // I love this inkblot floral, which seems less twee than most spring-y prints // black and white striped espadrilles with a little platform? sold // I've been a little wary of the cropped wide-leg jeans thing, but I'm digging this white pair // my very excellent sunglasses in tortoiseshell

Did you buy anything good this month? What do you have your eye on right now? Let me know!

I'm linking up with Fran and the budget bloggers, because those ladies always find great stuff...

PS -- wishing a special happy birthday to my brother (who does not read this blog) because he and all of the other leap babies get an actual birthday this year! If you are celebrating something special this Leap Day, check out the NYT's collection of treat yo self recipes (and do NOT check out the movie of the same name -- the delightful Amy Adams deserved better).

Saturday, February 27, 2016

a touch of spring

I don't always love Punxsutawney Phil's predictions, but it looks like that little dirt beaver was right this year -- Florida has had almost no winter to speak of, and much of the country has been seeing real signs of spring for the past week or so. It's almost March, and then there's nothing but sunshine, crisp air, and long days ahead.

There's a reason that everyone needs at least one good light spring jacket. This weather calls for loose, easy pieces you can layer and unlayer as needed. It seems like everyone has a version of a rugged field jacket lately (see here, here, and here). I wasn't initially sold on it, but it is starting to grow on me as a less fussy alternative to a trench coat. It's a perfect topper to a very easy Sunday afternoon outfit:

I like the color and the shape of this utility jacket, a closet staple that you'll wear for years // a big, fabulous pair of sunglasses to protect against too much sun or too little eye makeup // I'm always on the hunt for the perfect striped shirt, and this one comes pretty damn close // weekend pants should always be comfy // a good crossbody bag that is surprisingly affordable // these slides are perfect for showing off your new spring pedi

lace for less

Self-Portrait is the hot new kid on the fashion block right now -- it is hard to miss the brand's intricate and feminine lace dresses and blouses that are popping up on the red carpet, on blogs, and all over the editorial pages. I have at least a dozen dresses on my running wish list, but at $400-600 a pop they're a bit of a budgetary stretch. I'm hoping to catch one on a good sale or put away a little cash for a splurge, but until then I've been keeping an eye on budget-friendly options. Good news, there are a few!

There are plenty of lace dresses out there, but there are a few key things Self-Portrait's dresses so special: modern, feminine cuts (think midi dresses, gently flared skirts), geometric patterns, sweet accents (ruffles, peter pan collars), and strategic sheerness. Here are my current favorite options:

Anthropologie Narrante Lace Dress

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

the good stuff, vol. 3

Lots of good distractions this week...


A little more running inspiration in the form of this man who has run marathons on every continent (ps, he's a cancer survivor).

I'm working on my Oscar ballot and was interested to see what the Five Thirty-Eight team is predicting. It's kind of funny to see everyone ragging on Leo for being so damn thirsty. I'm really hoping they're wrong about The Revenant (Best Pic should definitely go to Spotlight).

If you need to catch up on the nominees, most of them are available to stream right now. We live in truly glorious times.

The groovy house featured in The Big Lebowski has been donated to LACMA. Looks like a great place to chill with a White Russian.

If you love animals and feel like crying, check out this touching series of portraits of dogs as they age. I adopted my Audrey when she was 2.5, and she just turned 8. She's super healthy, but it goes so fast...

I love the idea behind this website, which is dedicated to selling housewares, clothing, toys, furniture, and more that are meant to last a lifetime. The older I get, the more I understand that there is no joy in buying and rebuying cheap crap. Investing in quality is where it's at.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art introduced a new logo and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE agghhhghgh!!!! Just kidding, sort of. But people do care deeply. I find that I rarely respond well to new branding immediately, but I feel like this will grow on me.

The Anthropologie effect is real, as this fascinating piece explores -- it's the reason you immediately feel the urge to buy all kinds of random, very expensive things when you walk into one of their warm, cozy stores.

If you love grammar and have suffered a bad breakup, you'll appreciate this piece.

A man planted a beautiful garden that his blind wife could enjoy because, love.

A really interesting piece about the subtle but important mistakes people make that can really derail your life -- staying with the wrong people, not learning from past mistakes, comparing yourself to others, and just being passive about your situation. Worth a read, even if you feel like things are going pretty well for you.

On my travel bucket list is a nice long road trip where I spend a week driving from New York to California and another week exploring the state from one end to the other. I'm bookmarking this list of charming SoCal cities for that very trip.


I spent Sunday after the race laying around on the couch, eating everything, and watching Difficult People on Hulu. It is extremely enjoyable fluff, particularly if you love pop culture and NYC, and I am still quoting lines from it ("Do you know what 'understudy' is? It's a fancy word for disappointment!", shouted to children at a matinee of Annie. That's the first scene of the first episode.)

Adele doing her impression of a deer and other awesomeness.

Have you ever seen Goofy and Michael Jackson ease on down the road? You should. You must.

mission to mars

For me, there are two things that turn a nice room into a perfect, cozy space: what's on the windows and what's on the walls. All of the gorgeous couches and rugs and duvet covers in the world won't matter if the windows aren't dressed and the art is lame (or worse, nonexistent).

Good art is usually expensive and affordable art is usually dreadful, so I'm always on the hunt for interesting artwork that don't cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes you find it in the unlikeliest of places, like NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's website (admit it, you've never looked there). But you should now, because you'll find a collection of vibrant and imaginative travel posters that are out of this world. They have a sort of innocent, exuberant WPA quality that I love, and the images themselves are just dreamy. You can download the poster-size images for free or, if you're lazy like me and won't actually go to Staples to print an image, you can order posters of some of the designs here.

Sign me up for The Grand Tour...

Monday, February 22, 2016


I hated these pants when I first saw them. I was all, "nah, you missed on this one Zara". And then I kept thinking about them, and smiled when I realized the print reminded me of the wallpaper in my childhood bedroom. And then I fell in love, as one does. You may hate them initially too, but wait a minute...they'll grow on you. So how to wear them?

For weekends, they're easy. A turtleneck sweater would be good, and a white tee and cool sneakers would be very chic and unfussy. But I think they're most fun (and unexpected) dressed up for work. You won't be able to wear these very often unless you want to encourage lame comments from your co-workers -- "Look, you're wearing your crazy pants again!"-- so pull them out sparingly and have fun building some really interesting looks.

the aforementioned crazy pants, a whimsical print in a modern cut // the best match for a bold print is a subtle print, like this great windowpane blouse // your favorite preppy blazer pulls everything together // more pattern-mixing with a graphic handbag // very tailored, very feminine heels make a casual pair of pants more elegant 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

in my head: running

At any given time there are about a dozen things that I'm obsessing about. Right now it's running, specifically the half marathon I am signed up for on Sunday. In the wee hours of the morning, me and 17,000 tulle and glitter encrusted ladies (and a few dudes) will gather to torture ourselves by running thirteen-ish miles around a theme park. I'm excited because Disney races are always quite a lot of fun, and I love being part of the incredibly warm and inspiring running community. And I'll be accompanied by a friend who is running her very first half, always fun. But I'm also freaking out, just a little, because I didn't really have time to train. At all. Oops.

But I know that 50% of racing is mental, so I'm trying to at least get my head together and hope my legs will follow suit.


Spaghetti pie for dinner tomorrow night -- you a little jelly?

via Smitten Kitten
Spaghetti, cheese, eggs, black pepper. Simple, perfect. I stumbled upon this recipe this week and realized it would be a lovely pre-race meal. (If you think running is hell on earth, this also seems like a good sort of recipe to whip up for dinner on a chilly Sunday night.)


I get weirdly emotional right before a race, and I like to lay in bed and cry and read about running and racing, succeeding and failing. Here are some of my favorites:

Born to Run was a bit of a phenomenon and really made people think differently about distance running // John Bingham is a hero for the back of the pack runners who are only racing with themselves -- The Courage to Start could inspire a love for running among even the couchiest of potatoes // somehow I was unaware of its existence until this week, but I just ordered Haruki Murakami's memoir about marathon training -- a treat for myself next week when I'm recovering


Never enough cute athleisure wear:

this Kate Spade bow-adorned running jacket is fabulous, though too precious to sweat in // Raw Threads makes all of the performance wear your inner princess could need // floral leggings when you want to look just a little fancy -- maybe yoga or your local neighborhood 5K // this cozy sweatshirt looks dreamy for throwing on after a tough workout // a gym bag you won't be embarrassed to carry


I love running because it's a relatively low-maintenance sport, but there are a few items I've come to rely on for races:

Swedish fish for a quick burst of energy mid-run // a sturdy (and cheery) pair of earbuds // melatonin to fight pre-race jitters // banana chips stashed in my gear bag (because the post-race banana are never ripe enough) // Sparkly Soul headbands look great (and mostly stay in place) // a truly amazing gel for taking care of post-run ouches // your favorite pair of aviators look cool and keep the sun out of your eyes // a flat water bottle to sip from until the first water stop on very hot days (they're so cheap, I just toss in the trash when I get tired of carrying it).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

the good stuff, vol. 2

Here's what I've been loving this week...


In preparation for my move back to New York I've bookmarked this very important article about the best donuts in the city. I'm super devoted to Peter Pan Donuts, but I am willing to do some research.

In honor of the new Van Gogh exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, airbnb is offering the chance to stay in Van Gogh's bedroom (or, a room decorated in the artist's style). Here's your chance to feel like you're actually living in a painting (bonus, this one is more affordable than the rentals Gwyneth and Bey have been crowing about).

"Shit happens, so power through and then go to In n Out Burger" -- this is why we love Adele (I thought she killed it, by the way).

My best friend always joked that all of the fashion jobs I lusted after paid in lip gloss. This article about magazine and design job salaries proves she wasn't too far off.

Uniqlo collaborations are the best -- they work with great, fashion-forward people and create interesting, affordable pieces. Their new collab with a Muslim designer to create hijabs and headscarves is a whole new level of cool. (The second season of Carine Roitfeld x Uniqlo has some nice pieces, too.)

I'm enjoying watching the Fashion Week coverage from afar (though I do miss being closer to the hustle and bustle), but this article with photos from the 1994 shows is amazing. Such a simple time, when celebs could be out and about without being perfectly coifed and contoured within an inch of their lives.

If you're a pet-lover, you might want to check out how the various presidential candidates stack up on animal rights. There are a few surprises...

Thank you for being a friend...and buying me these amazing figures of my favorite sassy senior citizens.


I finally finished Mad Men, and I loved it. I binge watched most of the series last summer but was waiting for the final episodes to hit Netflix and they did, just in time for a long weekend. I cried a bit, I think because I was a bit sad to not have those characters in my life anymore (even though I hated them all, at least once or twice). Now to obsessively read all of the ink spilled over the final episode...

Broad City is back! Looks like things are going well for the girls.

Monday, February 15, 2016


I have a newish obsession with sneakers. Not the clunky ones I wear when I'm sweating and cursing on the treadmill, but the funky cool ones you can pass off as a valid footwear choice. They add a quirky twist to your real clothes and make leggings and a tee look like a legit outfit. In other words, a total closet MVP. I've convinced myself that I just love the way they look, but it's possible that in my 30s I just. can't. even. with shoes that pinch my toes and give me blisters. Either way: gimme.

For spring there are lots of neutrals and sweet pastels (Pastels? For spring? Groundbreaking.) I don't know how many pair of sneakers one girl needs, but these eight should be a good start:


top row:

Brooks is my brand of choice for running shoes, and I'm seriously in love with the pale pink and gold color combo of this casual pair.

I wouldn't mind if every pair of shoes had rose gold cap toes

Stella McCartney is one of those rare designers who actually makes activewear that you can be active in (sorry, Tory). I wouldn't run a marathon in these cute dusty pink sneakers, but they seem like they'd hold up to a long walk, a friendly tennis match, or one of those hateful "team-building" activities companies sometimes force people to participate in. (If your company does that, you should find a new job.)

I knew Zara would come through with a decent version of Loeffler Randall's coveted (and pricey) Rio trainers. Who knew neutrals could looks so sharp? I'm not usually a fan of such an obvious knock-off, but I'm also not a fan of paying $300 for sneakers, so....

bottom row:

Nike does a pretty great job of marrying form and function -- you could make these work for your Saturday morning run and your Saturday night fun.

New Balance is usually the brand of choice for fashionable sneaker lovers. I'm digging this pair because they are basically Cate Blanchett's stunning Givenchy dress (Oscars 2011) in sneaker form, which is weird but awesome. 

A pair of gray Sauconys is so classic, but the pops of pink and yellow add a little extra personality.

If obnoxiously loud gold sneakers are wrong, I don't want to be right.

easy monday

Sometimes you need a few pieces in your closet that require no thought, no fussing. They're the opposite of problem children -- they're the obedient, sensible first-borns who can always be counted on. This smart gray turtleneck is one of those good eggs.

Malene Birger is one of my favorite designers. My fantasy closet is filled with Malene's chic separates, Self-Portrait dresses, a few pair of MiH jeans, and a great Chanel jacket or two (in case you were wondering). I'm hoping this sweater is still available after my February shopping fast ends because I will give it a very good home.

It's the perfect thing for throwing on a Monday when you just need things to be easy, like when you spent the weekend a bit drunk in love and are nursing a post-Valentine hangover. Or maybe you stayed up too late binge watching the final episodes of Mad Men, which are finally (finally!) on Netflix.

The star of this look is, of course, this simple By Malene Birger wool turtleneck. Ideal for both work and play, totally timeless. For the office, I'd go with some comfy, slim ankle pants to balance out the sweater's oversized silhouette. I'm dying for a pair of tortoiseshell shoes, which have the magical ability to go with everything yet not be totally boring. And then you have a blank canvas for showing off your favorite jewelry. Since I'm still feeling some holiday weekend warm fuzzies, I like this bold "Love" cuff with a cool agate bracelet. A proper lipstick feels like the perfect way to finish off a lady-like look -- I love this pinky-nude shade.

ETA: Ugh, it looks like this sweater just sold out. Hoping for a popback at Net-a-Porter, but it is available online here. I also found a few similar options here, here, and here...but honestly, none are scratching my itch. I may have to go out and anger-buy a $40 Gucci lipstick on March 1st to make myself feel better.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

in the kitchen

I knew this year would bring a lot of change, and it looks like first up will be a relocation -- heading back to New York! I have mixed emotions (have been missing NYC a whole lot, but I really enjoy my life in Orlando -- it is a blessing to feel at home in more than one place), but I immediately focused on one of the best and worst parts of settling into New York: where the hell am I going to live?

There are a lot of great things about living in New York City, but I'm going to come right out and say it, the kitchens aren't one of them. My current place in Florida has a brand-new kitchen with a modern appliances, an enormous island, and cabinet space for days. Every kitchen I've had in NYC has had a weird layout, tiny appliances, mismatched cabinets, and like, no drawers. Seriously.

I was browsing around a few days ago and noticed they have some really great options in their kitchen collection -- just the things I'll need to dress up and organize a tiny space:

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

There's really no place to hide in a tiny kitchen, so even your practical items need to be chic and attractive. This space-saving gold dish rack immediately caught my eye -- it's almost like a little art piece. This soap dispenser is no-nonsense and a much neater look than a crusty bottle of Dawn.

I never know how to decorate the walls in the kitchen, but I like these retro wooden numbers. Gotta represent the BK!

No cabinet space means you can't necessarily have all of the glassware you might want. There have been times in my life when I served wine in juice glasses or made cocktails in coffee mugs. But champagne is one of my favorite parts of being an adult, and I love these sturdy, modern glasses (perfect for a klutz who is prone to knocking things over) - they come in clear, but I'd go with the pink. This pineapple ice bucket isn't really a necessity, but it sure is pretty and will be just the thing to distract you from notice I'm making your rum and Coke in a Starbucks mug.

I don't drink tea, but I wish I did...does that make sense? I'm also a sucker for a pop of bright yellow, so I think it would be smart for me to have this teapot on hand, just in case. These little teacups are awfully zen and awfully cute.

I'm sure a lot of people use this little cart as a place to store cocktail makings or maybe extra linens, but I'm thinking even more basic -- sticking this guy in an unused corner will probably double (or even triple) the storage space in most New York kitchens. An extra work surface, plus shelves to store dishes, pots and pans, maybe even utensils -- perfect.

I have a couple of cute, slightly precious, dish towels hanging in my kitchen, and I never, ever use them for fear of getting them dirty. A few of these black (and impossible to stain) towels would be greatly appreciated.

Anything that's sitting out on a counter should be practical and pretty. I love these dip-dyed canisters for flour and sugar, dog treats, or anything else you like to have on hand (candy, and more candy).

And because there is no shortage of cute home goods, here are a few other things I have my eye on...

Pretty glass bottles perfect for juice and water (I like keeping fruit infused water around to curb my diet soda habit)...proper spoons for prepping salad are a very adult thing to have...print bowls that you can easily mix and match...a touch of marble is lovely, even in a tiny kitchen...I'd like to pick up a couple of wire baskets for storing dish towels and cookbooks...a super sharp cheese board that doubles as a display piece.

And with my collection of mismatched plates and silverware, I think this is everything I need to stock a kitchen that will be used mostly to store take out and heat up leftovers. Time to reactivate my Seamless account...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

new weekend uniform

I'm not shopping this month, but if I was I'd probably head over to Target to check out the Who What Wear capsule collection that launched a few weeks ago. The one piece that caught my eye was, of course, the striped tee. The 3/4 length sleeves and sweet boatneck detail give it some extra interest, and I like this bright, summery shade of blue. Paired with a few great basics, this shirt would easily become the basis for my new weekend uniform:

new weekend uniform

You'll never regret having a great striped tee in your closet, and this one is super affordable. On the weekend, I always love a pair of long, lean flared jeans -- legs for days, super chic, super comfy. This little crossbody bag is practical and won't interrupt the overall silhouette you're creating. I love a cool pair of sneakers, and these Adidas tennies with rose gold cap toes are perfection. When I'm bumming around on the weekends I get too fussy with accessories, but a little sheer pink lipstick and some simple rings are nice finishing touches.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the good stuff, vol. 1

Here are some of the things I've been digging this week...


Someone actually put themselves on the Gilmore Girls diet...and lived! Those girls sure could pack away the junk food (and still fit into their early 00's bootcut jeans).

Kate Spade is launching Broome Street, a more casual line that seems a bit like Saturday part two. Honestly, I feel like you could find a lot of those pieces at Old Navy (for a teeny tiny fraction of the price).

Everyone in NYC has a crazy story, but the one about a rat who went from rags to (Broadway) riches and then died just days later is truly unbelievable.

I've always loved Humans of New York, but I think this week's focus on inmate stories is really remarkable.

Not much new here, but it's helpful to have a list of great online shopping resources all in one handy place.

Low maintenance skincare and beauty is all the rage right now -- Milk Makeup is a new line that appeals to the busy girl who still wants to look cool.

Good news, in 2018 we'll finally be able to get Hamilton tickets!

I have a serious case of wanderlust and this article about Istanbul's Grand Bazaar is not helping...


Samantha Bee is kicking ass and taking names. The first episode of Full Frontal was smart and funny and pretty damn ballsy, and I don't know why it's only on once a week.

Formation -- hmmm mmm

Do you know who Amanda Chantal Bacon is? You may be more familiar with her very, very fussy diet, which made the rounds this week. This spoof video is hilarious without being too mean (he uses her own words!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

will you be mine?

I feel like Valentine's Day is supposed to be one of those love it or hate it type holidays, but I've always been pretty solidly meh about it. I mean, I love candy, look good in the color pink, and generally enjoy expressing love to all of the wonderful people in my life. So, yay! On the other hand, it can go super cheesy and I hate the idea that people feel some strange obligation to overspend on terrible floral arrangements and pretentious dinners to prove their love. So, boo.

Regardless of how I spend the day, I always like to put a little thought into dressing for it. Here are a few looks that will work whether your valentine is your super serious SO, your best friend (don't forget Galentine's Day!), or your cat:
I don't know why, but I really like the idea of a simple day date for Valentine's Day, especially when it falls on a Sunday (before a Monday holiday!). Maybe you'd start with a big breakfast at your local greasy spoon and just play tourist in your city -- check out a museum or concert, do some window shopping, grab a leisurely cup of coffee, finish with dinner and a movie. A cozy turtleneck and sleek wide-leg pants are perfect for all of the above, and V-Day is the perfect time to rock the pink/red color combo. This necklace is a sweet and funky touch. A neutral crossbody bag and easy chunky mules are the perfect finishing touch.

I also kind of dig the idea of a Valentine's Day date that's kind of rugged and outdoorsy -- horseback riding or hiking or hanging at the local zoo (you know the monkeys are good for putting on an R-rated show). When you might get a little dirty but still want to look glam, I love this red and white striped top finished in the back with sweet bows (going in and out of stock, so keep checking) with comfy ponte pants and practical boots. Red lips and a smart watch add a little sparkle.

Of course, you may need something a bit fancier. I just bought this flirty lace skirt and love the idea of pairing it with a relaxed button down shirt for a comfortable and elegant look. These gold necklaces are so sweet, and I'm kind of obsessed with heels with a crazy floral print. This sheer lip glaze adds a pretty pop of color. Grab your favorite black clutch and you're good to go.

And like the entire internet, I'm obsessed with Self-Portrait's frilly, feminine pieces so if I really had some place special to go I'd splurge on this amazing black and white minidress. My rule of thumb is when your dress is short and busy, you keep everything else simple: flats (these heart-embellished baby pink pair is kind of on the nose, but I love them), a sparkly clutch, and pink lip gloss.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


I've never really been great about New Year's resolutions. Sure, there is something lovely about starting a new year with a clean slate and thinking that it is a perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself, shed old habits, and emerge from your cocoon to become the beautiful butterfly you were meant to be.

But change is hard.

The last few years have been busy, a little tumultuous: learning, changing, growing, stepping far outside of my comfort zone, failing, succeeding, slipping back into old habits. As 2015 drew to a close, I was very aware that I wasn't exactly where I wanted to be. I'm not far, but I'm not there. So this year feels like the year to declare a few resolutions that will nudge me in the right direction.

I'll start by saying I hate the idea of resolutions as punishment: I'm giving up dessert! I'm quitting smoking and drinking forever! Thinking about a resolution this way is guaranteed to fail. Because even though we look like adults, we're all basically 3-year-olds and we're definitely going to throw a tantrum when someone (even ourselves) tries to make us do something we really don't want to do. The way you frame your resolution can make all the difference, so my resolutions are all focused on the positive.

And yes, I'm totally aware that I'm about a month late in talking about this -- January was sort of a "soft open" for my resolutions, but I'm excited about kicking things into gear in February.

Consume More

We are living in the golden age of media -- from must-watch television to books to film to addictive podcasts to the blogs everyone is talking about, there is so much good and juicy content out there for the taking. And last year I found myself consistently frustrated that I was missing out. Somehow there is never enough time to read and watch and participate in all of the good stuff. Except that I know that's not true. We find time for the things that matter. I make time to work my 8-ish hours everyday, I find time for laundry, grocery shopping, and walking the dog, I even find time for getting a good sweat once a day (though that did require a concerted effort), so now I want to find time for great content. I want to read more, I want to see movies that challenge me, I want to learn and laugh and cry and be inspired.

So the first part of my resolution is to make time for the good stuff by being a little more ruthless with my schedule and finding those pockets of time. Car trips, long runs, and housecleaning are excellent times for catching up on podcasts. Mindless TV sometimes feels like a treat, but Seinfeld reruns and Chopped marathons aren't doing me any favors. Between Netflix, Hulu, and my friend's Xfinity login (shh, don't tell), I have an incredible library of TV and movies at my fingertips, so I do not need to watch Meangirls every time it's on.

I've also dusted off my Feedly account (RIP, Google Reader -- you are still missed) and loaded it with all of the blogs that I never get around to keeping up with. I want to get out of the habit of spending time on Facebook first thing in the morning (because click-bait headlines screaming "Kim Kardashian Doesn't Look Like This Anymore!" are rage-inducing) and give myself 30 minutes to read things that are inspiring and enlightening and help me do my job better.

And it's hard for me to admit how little reading I've been doing lately. Reading has always been my favorite, a way to explore and try to understand myself and the world around me, and for years I consumed books in great gulps, chain-reading one after another. That hasn't happened for the past year or two, for reasons (books are expensive, my library stocks mostly beach reads, no time, etc.) that are mostly lame. I'm remembering that when I started my first job (at a tiny nonprofit in Boston) I was thrilled to discover that there was a bookstore just around the corner. I would spend almost every lunch hour there (sometimes I bought and sometimes I just found a cozy corner and "borrowed" -- nonprofit salaries are painfully small). Since I work from home now, it really shouldn't be hard to carve out 20 or 30 minutes to read while I eat lunch.

Consume Less

One of the unhappier discoveries of 2015 was that when it comes to shopping (particularly for clothes), I've been overdoing it. I decided to end my first blog for a number of reasons, but a big factor is that it made me too focused on shopping and buying. Even though I've been thoughtful about my purchases and have been tracking my spending, I couldn't shake a serious case of Veruca Salt "I want it all"-itis.

Like everyone else in the world, I was charmed by Marie Kondo's anti-clutter manifesto The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and last year spent a good amount of time weeding out excess from all corners of my house. Taking inventory of my closet made me realize I have a lot of clothes -- more than I really need for my current lifestyle (work from home in leggings, the best dress code ever). This doesn't mean that I won't be buying any clothing in the coming year, but I need to scale things back.

I'm on a month-long shopping freeze for the month of February (I did it last year and thought it was great). It's a weird season, there are racks full of crusty old clearance merch, and let's face it, it's a short month -- it's really the perfect time, and I'll be doing a thorough closet clean-out to get rid of things I don't wear. For the rest of the year, I'll use the following rules: focusing on needs instead of wants, limiting the amount of time I spend stalking coveted items waiting for sales, and cutting way back on fast fashion (this documentary and this book are on my respective lists, but I know they are both devastating).

Consume Better

I know I feel better when I'm eating well and taking care of myself. Well, at least my brain does. Lately my mouth has been calling the shots, and it wants cheeseburgers. And even when I'm eating relatively healthy, I find myself falling into the "snack trap" -- afternoon munching on relatively harmless snacks (popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit) that kind of ruins my dinner appetite and gets me a bit out of whack. 

A few weeks ago I watched In Defense of Food, a great documentary about the mess we've made of our food industry and our generally skewed ideas about nutrition. I'm happy to say there wasn't much in the way of new information, but I really loved the way Michael Pollan presents his basic tenets of nutrition. Pollan started a bit of a nutrition revolution when he declared we should. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." This delves a bit further into the ways that we've gone so very wrong when it comes to nutrition (low-fat mania, over-processing, way too much sugar) and some smart, easy ways to get back on track: shop the perimeter of the grocery store (where all of the fresh stuff is), don't go crazy restricting or obsessing over certain ingredients, and basically ignore all of the obnoxious and misleading package labels that are trying to convince you that Lucky Charms are healthy because they are "made with whole grain" (spoiler alert: they are not).

This is important to me because while I've done a pretty good job of making exercise a regular part of my routine, I've been reminded over the past months that you can't undo a bad diet in the gym. I had sort of been convincing myself that since I love donuts and I love running, things would sort of just even themselves out. Turns out, not so much. You have to run about 3 miles to burn off the calories in a donut, and when it comes to donuts I never can have just one...

My goal for this year is to ask myself "is this food?" before stuffing anything into my mouth, and then being able to answer "yes" about 90% of the time. For example, a banana? Yes! Trader Joe's white cheddar popcorn? Sadly, no.

Is there anything that you've resolved to do (or not do) in 2016? How's it going?


Jolie laide means, quite literally, pretty-ugly. It's a wonderful little French phrase that, apparently, the French don't really use (becoming popular mostly thanks to Serge Gainsbourg's song "Laide, Jolie Laide"). Today you'll see it everywhere, a convenient way to describe actresses, trousers, armchairs, modern art, and just about anything that evokes a feeling of pleasing imperfection. It's not a compliment, it's not an insult; it's an observation, one that requires a bit of close looking and an appreciation for the details.

Jolie laide has always been one of my favorite terms. It seems to perfectly capture the quality that makes me fall immediately in love with something (ok, often a pair of shoes) that's totally surprising. I've justified a lot odd decisions (ok, often purchases) because I couldn't stop thinking about something offbeat or unusual or downright weird.


(Confession: sometimes I label something jolie laide when it's really just tacky)

But for me, jolie laide is also a bit of a world view. It's an appreciation of the messy bits, a celebration of ugly duckings and late bloomers, a search for something more than the superficial.

When I was trying to figure out a blog name that I wouldn't hate in three months, this useful little phrase felt like a good place to start. jolie x laide (literally, the collaboration of pretty and ugly) is all about the balance. Pretty alone is boring. I prefer pretty special, pretty different, pretty weird, pretty amazing.

I'm not a blogger, not really, but I am a chronic time-waster daydreamer. I wanted a place to gather all of the wonderful bits that like to occupy space in my head. Food, fashion, design, travel, books -- jolie x laide will be a little of everything. These are the things that distract and delight me; I hope you love them, too.

PS -- if you love that Pantone Confetti image as much as I do, you should definitely check out MariaMarie, and also follow her Instagram account (@cestmaria) as it is full of the most dreamy sherbet-hued images.