giving thanks, and why i’m skipping black friday

fall leaves shoppingsmycardio|  via Instagram  |

Am I the only one who’s already stressed about the holidays, and they haven’t even technically started yet?

Didn’t think so.

Seriously. I’ve been getting Black Friday emails in my inbox since last week. And most of the sales have already started! It’s getting so out of control, I found myself siding with those hippie-crunchies over at REI for possibly the first time ever.

I need a breather, friends. And I’m guessing you do too. This has been a rough month for me. Health drama, house drama, family drama…I’m in one of those life phases when you’re convinced the universe has it in for you. And the truth is, I’m getting a little too good at wallowing in my own crap for my own good.

So this year, I’m taking Black Friday off. Ditto for Small Business Saturday (which you should absolutely support, btw), Cyber Monday, and whatever other panic-inducing schemes retailers have concocted to make you feel like you’re going to miss out on something unmissable if you don’t give them all your money rightthissecond.

I mean, I can’t lie: if you do shop, I’d be super grateful if you’d use a few of my affiliate links at some point, since it turns out running a website is sort of expensive. (I’ll list a few below that I already know will have knock-your-socks-off deals happening, or just click any of the pretty pictures on your right.)

But you know what else would be okay? Not doing any of that.

Here’s my big idea: Let’s make this weekend our breather. Instead of a frenzy of parking lots and coupon codes and early bird specials, go see a stupid movie (or a great one). Take your dogs for a hike. Buy yourself a book you’ve been dying to read, open the good wine, and don’t talk to a single soul for an entire hour.

This Thanksgiving, I’m going to try try try to find the gratitude. It’s going to be uphill, for sure. But I’m going to do my darnedest to remember what my grandfather would be saying to me right now, which would be some variation of reminding me to look on the bright side, and to remember that there’s actually very little in this crazy world over which I have any control at all. Which is both horrifying and strangely comforting.

I’m grateful for friends who haven’t given up on me yet, despite the fact that I’m not the most fun person to hang out with these days. I’m grateful for yoga pants and sneakers having been deemed “athleisure” by the fashion set (thanks, Eva!), because it means that my sore stomach and joints get some relief without my having to feel like a total schlub. And I’m grateful for fall‘s crisp air and red leaves, which clear my mind and lift my spirits every time.

And, as I am every other day of the year, I’m grateful for you. Thanks for all you do to lift my spirits every day, friends. I wouldn’t be the same without you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!


PS: Behold, the links you could click if you just can’t resist a sale and want to support SMC:

  • Amazon (got a sneak peek at their sales, and they’re great this year)
  • Shopbop (spend some, save some)
  • Nordstrom (always a mystery, but always worth a look)
  • Jonathan Adler (20% off sitewide)
  • Cusp (40%+ off)
  • Saks (I’m betting on a sitewide discount)
  • Tory Burch (spend some, save some)
  • James Perse (if you’re buying for everyone else, might as well treat yo’self)
  • Net-A-Porter (a mighty, mighty good sale going on.)

Thanks, friends. I owe you one!


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|  via Instagram  |
This is not my beautiful house, but that IS my beautiful custom table, which my amazeballs hubs designed for me when I had a panic attack about the dimensions of our new dining room and how badly our now-former interior designer botched the plans. Renovations are hard, yo.
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drop the act!

One of the things I have truly loved about writing this blog is the friends I’ve made along the way. Real live, in-person friends? Absolutely. But I also have a stalwart crew of amazing women who have become dear friends and people I truly admire…whom I’ve never clapped eyes on.

Beth Thomas Cohen is one of my dearest “blog friends”. She ran a fantastic PR firm for years with her bestie, and was one of the people who believed in SMC and what I was trying to do almost from Day One. Plus, she’s hilarious, brilliant and doesn’t suffer fools. How could I not love her?

So, when Beth told me she’d written a book, I was thrilled for her (and, okay, mildly jealous. The book’s about being more honest, after all.). When she told me the title, I laughed out loud and said, “Hey, how about you write something for my readers?” She immediately agreed, and we decided the thing to talk about would be how much time we all spend pretending to be a different version of ourselves on social media…which is, as you might recall, a topic I have some feelings about.

Beth’s fantastic new book, Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting!, is out this week, and it’s jam-packed with all of the sassy, savvy, real-life advice you need to keep yourself on the track to sanity. Reading it is exactly how I imagine a dinner date with Beth would be. And by the time I’d turned the last page, I was ready to hop on a plane to do just that.

Below is the piece Beth wrote for us. Read it, love it, buy the book.


The Act: I’m Throwing a Social Masquerade Party!

Why To Drop It: Because you don’t need to be at any party where you hide your true self behind a mask

I find it fascinating that the world we live in is filled with amazingly different types of personalities and people…and we waste the diversity by not getting along. Whether it’s politics, race, religion, socio-economic differences, you name it, we keep overlooking that we all have a giant thing in common: the need to be accepted.

I see this need for acceptance play out every day on social media. I mean, can you get more literal than using “likes” and “followers” as a gauge of your value? I’m no different. I too want to be liked and “followed” on social media. I can go through my Instagram feed, find a person from Qatar and see that his group of friends are having a better time than my group of friends here in NYC, and immediately feel jealousy creep in. His picture of his friends at a bar has 837 likes? Mine only has 43. What’s wrong with me?! But something dawned on me one recent morning at the beach:

Maybe those guys in Qatar were full of shit.

A few college-age girls strutted out from their car toward the shore with their obnoxious “selfie stick” in hand, took a few shots in front of the waves and another few by the boardwalk, got back into their car and drove away. I’m presuming they posted their five-minute photo shoot as an actual experience that others, like me, will actually be jealous of.

Drop the act! How is that considered “connection”? Last month I turned 40, smack in the middle of the teeter totter of life. And suddenly, instead of throwing up pointless posts, I found myself stopping and remembering the point of social media: to mix with others, not masquerade.

We have a duty to everyone to make sure that the intention behind showing our fun, our successes and acquisitions is not to make others feel small. We need to be sharing important messages mixed in with the fun. We need to use social media as a catalyst to spark important conversations, share charitable ideas, and build self-esteem. If we used social media as a platform for more important messages, life might be a little bit sweeter. Everyone might just feel better about themselves, without needing outside approval.

In my book, I talk about the masks we wear all day, every day. And social media? It’s one hell of a convincing mask. So, what if we stopped using social media as a masquerade? Try it. Not only will you discover who your “friends” really are and what you actually “like”, you’ll learn a whole lot more about yourself in the process.

Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting: Free Yourself from Your So- Called Put-together Life, by Beth Thomas Cohen, is available this very moment on Amazon and at all kinds of awesome indy bookstores, which you should absolutely support whenever possible.

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travel in style: istanbul shopping guide

istanbul blue

| Blue Mosque, Istanbul. // All photos by me or Mr. SMC |

Second only to an ill-conceived, 24-hour adventure in Tangiers in my 20s (buy me a couple of drinks sometime, and I’ll tell you a tale), Istanbul is bar none the most “foreign” place to which I’ve ever traveled. By which I mean I don’t speak the language, don’t know the culture, the food, the traditions…did I need head scarves? Long sleeves? Was I allowed to wear jeans? Because, let’s be honest, inadvertently botching a cultural norm in a country I’ve already admitted was utterly foreign to me (in every sense of the word) sounds like an intimidatingly easy thing to do.

And yet. Once I arrived, much like my time in Morocco, I knew immediately I’d worried for nothing. I found the people in Istanbul to be unfailingly, overwhelmingly friendly, helpful and welcoming. On the rare occasion someone didn’t speak English, they either found someone who did, or we successfully (and cheerfully!) mimed to each other until we sorted it out. The 3 Turkish phrases I frantically committed to memory on the plane elicited so much appreciation from locals that you’d have thought I mastered the language. It is busy, and crowded, and…well, foreign, but I didn’t see a single act of protest, let alone violence. Some people wore head scarves (you do need one to visit mosques), but my tour guide showed up the first day in a tank top.

I honestly don’t know whether this is a case of low expectations being exceeded or whether I really loved Istanbul as much as I think did, but truly – it was unforgettable, and I’d recommend it heartily to anyone at all! Read on

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friends & family: shopbop + saks

[This F&F duo has expired, alas. Luckily, most of these goodies are on sale now!]

No matter how totally insane and overwhelmed I’m feeling, I still consider it my sworn duty to make sure you know about any sales worth your time. And friends, this morning, my inbox runneth over.

First things first: Take 25% off sitewide at Shopbop with code INTHEFAM25 (through 10.15). Me, I’d buy a new black blazer since I just KonMari’d the sh!t out of my closet and realized I didn’t like a single one I owned. I also got rid of all of my white tees, so there’s room to grow there too. Oh hell, let’s just slideshow it, shall we?

Next up is Saks…also 25% off sitewide, with code THANKYOU (and then you inexplicably have to use the code FREESHIP to get your free shipping). More basics and more brands we love, but more exclusions, which is frankly a little aggravating. Still, plenty of trouble to get into. See e.g., basically everything from Vince’s fall collection. Also, I need a new wallet something fierce…alas, I’m pretty confident the Prada I’ve had my eye on is excluded. But I will say this: occasionally, if you call a store, they’re a little more…open-minded about what’s on F&F. I may, for example, be making a call like that about this bad boy.

Speaking of shenanigans, as always, I’m sure Nordstrom will price match all of this. But honestly, I can tell I’m getting old and impatient because I just don’t care that much about jumping through all those hoops just to be loyal to one store. Plus, Shopbop has that lovely free 2-day shipping, which is quite compelling.

So, tell me friends: what are you buying? I have an ancient Shopbop credit burning a major hole in my pocket this morning…want to help me spend it?


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a little belated birthday treat…

| via Instagram |

They’re here, they’re here! I finally broke down and splurged on a pair of dreamy custom Zoe Chicco studs. Because…well, sometimes you just need to #treatyoself, amiright?

Check out the rest of my Zoe crushes right here:

That Zoe…she’s awfully hard not to love, isn’t she?


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decisions, decisions


| Frank Muytjens home, Elle Decor, Oct 2012 // via my overflowing Pinterest board |

Hi, friends. Remember me? I know, I know. I was such a tease with my “Hey, guess what? Bought a house! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!!”


All I can say is this: those joyful people on HGTV, blissfully renovating their homes without a care in the world? They LIE.

I’m trying, really I am, to find the joy in this process, but honestly? The best I can come up with is chanting, “It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be worth it when it’s done. It will be…” over and over to myself in moments of crisis. Which seem to come about three times a day.

I’m thanking my lucky stars for two things right now: the incredible Mr. SMC, who somehow manages to be calm no matter what is happening (it’s freaky, actually). And the fact that I ponied up to hire a designer, despite my cheapskate, “I can totally do this myself” instincts. {*Scrap that…she was a disaster, and has been sacked.} And honestly, I probably could. But then you’d all have to promise to come visit me in the looney bin, where you’ll find me wandering the halls with my tape measure, muttering to myself about needing to find space for extra storage.

My house is still in a wrecking-ball-grade state of disrepair, but here’s what I know so far: Renovating is, basically, decisions. A constant stream of rapid-fire decisions, some of which matter and some of which, frankly, don’t. Alas, decisions have never been my strong suit. I’ve discussed this with a few friends recently, and we all agree that making decisions for others is much easier than making decisions for ourselves. Whether it’s a new pair of jeans or the hardware for your kitchen cabinets, I can browse the www until my eyes cross, but actually biting the bullet and picking the hardware I’ll have to look at every day? It’s paralyzing. And sure, you can ask your friends, but they’ll all have a different opinion and then you’re more confused than you were when you started. So, for now, I’m sticking with my dream team, and occasionally asking friends to just be kind and validate my choice. “So, orange in the master bedroom? I love it!” Trust me, it’s easier.

Though I definitely feel like I’m in the tall grass more often than not these days, the truth is, it’ll be fine. It’ll all get done, one way or another. And rationally, I know I’ll love it in the end – I have a contractor, a designer and a spouse who will make sure of that. But, ditching those annoying hang-ups that petrify and paralyze us isn’t always a rational thing, now is it?

For now, here’s what I’m trying: taking a deep breath. Trying to get a grip on reality and remember that hey, it’s just cabinet hardware. Stepping away from it for a while if I have to. Figuring out what it is I need in order to be sure. More info? Keep researching. Less info? Ask the spouse to help me cull my options. A better visual? I mock things up in Photoshop almost daily now. And then, at some point, I bite the bullet, make the decision and try living with it. If I wake up in the morning hating what I picked? Well, there’s your answer. And when all else fails, you write a 6-page email to your designer, forcing her to tell you that no, you’re not just missing something. Eight-inch Mission-style drawer pulls in natural brass for under $10 each do not, in fact, exist anywhere on this planet.

And now, to make up for the ranting, a few of the inspiration photos I’m using to try to make this uber-generic 1960s townhouse into something really special. (Want more? My Pinterest page for the casa runneth over…)




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