the expectations game

blairbee

| Yep, I always ride my bike in a silk skirt. With my $5,000 Chanel bag in the front basket, obvi. |

Friends, I don’t know about you, but lately the internet has been getting me down. One of the biggest problems about having access to so.much.information is that it’s become all but impossible to tune out the things that make you feel inferior. Hearing about how blissful everyone else makes their life sound on Facebook while you’re curled up in a ball on your sofa with a juice glass full of rosé. Scrolling through images on Instagram, wondering how everyone else’s houses are so full of pristine white backgrounds and custom furniture while you can barely keep the piles of discarded shoes from eating your living room. The million-dollar listings, the runway shows, the bloggers with horrible grammar getting free Gucci bags…it’s all a lot to take.

Of course, we can tell ourselves it’s fake. And we do, sometimes. We remind ourselves, in our saner moments, that these photos are posed. They are staged, perfectly lit and airbrushed, sometimes by actual professional photographers. The clothes are on loan, the furniture is from a showroom, it’s all an act. “This is not real life,” we repeat to ourselves over and over. But still. That green-eyed Internet monster…she’s more powerful than you’d think.

I think it’s possibly worse when you’re in the line of work I’m in. Being a person who’s been in the blogging world for approximately 87 years, the problem is that I know. I know that these girls posting about their fabulous new dress from Brand X aren’t doing it out of the goodness of their heart. I know that when a blogger I read starts writing a little too gushingly about her newly renovated sunroom or her “preview” of the Nordstrom flagship store in Seattle, she got it for free. And my jealousy…lord, but it runs deep. Sure, I want the room or the trip, just like you do. But I also want the gig she got, wherein a sponsor not only designed the room for her or flew her out first class, but paid her quite a lot of money to talk about it. I want to know how she got there and I didn’t. Why she has 120,000 Instagram followers and I don’t. Instead of taking the high road and being happy for her, I’m bitter and jealous. I start to feel horrible about myself and what I’ve accomplished – or, more specifically, what I haven’t accomplished. Shame spiral for one, please.

But. Much like the rest of the world, there’s no fairness in blogging. Longevity doesn’t equal success…nor, frankly, does quality. (There are bloggers making serious, serious money who can’t even be bothered to use spellcheck.) And so we all, bloggers or lawyers or baristas, have to find a way to check our Instagram feeds or “like” our friend’s photos of her $100,000 destination wedding without feeling bad about ourselves.

We have to find a way to remind ourselves that a perfectly-staged photo of a bowl of cherries doesn’t mean a person’s life is any better than ours; it just means that they’ve spent the last 3 hours piling those cherries just so, and another hour testing different filters and strengths and saturation levels. (Or that they’ve somehow mastered VSCOcam, even though you find it utterly incomprehensible.)

My photo of that bowl of cherries, on the other hand? It was probably just okay. I almost certainly got the filter wrong or there was a smudge on the bowl or my background wasn’t perfectly, pristinely white.

Why? Because I was busy eating the cherries. And you know something? They were delicious.

If there’s a lesson somewhere in this random ramble I’ve just dropped on you (and believe me, it’s one I have to repeat to myself at least once a day), it’s this:

Eat the cherries.

Just live your life, my friend. Your hilarious, messy, imperfect, dishes in the sink, dirty laundry, occasionally beautiful life. And sure, go ahead and take a picture. Or don’t. Maybe it’ll turn out perfectly – after all, occasional moments of beauty are everywhere, even in the midst of disaster. But friends, the photo isn’t the experience. The cherries are the experience.

So, eat the cherries. Post the photo or don’t, but eat the cherries. And enjoy every last bite.

 

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nordstrom anniversary sale: my haul

Haul collage
Trina Turk coat | Halogen urban sketch tee | Pure Amici cardigan
Franco Sarto boots | Freida Rothman earrings | C.O. Bigelow rose salve | Deborah Lippmann Polishes

Well friends, my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale haul this year was…um, injurious. Mostly to my UPS driver, who undoubtedly has some serious back issues after lugging this stack of boxes up my stairs. (And there are more scheduled to arrive tomorrow. This is why I shouldn’t shop after wine.)

Since the Sale officially opens tomorrow morning (technically, that’s tonight at 12:01 AM Pacific for you night owls/diehards), I thought now was the perfect time to give you my rundown of the best (and worst) of my haul this year!

Sweaters are always high on my list, and this year, there were a few I couldn’t help but love. I was fully prepared to send this Vince cream shawl cardigan back – I mean, how many chunky cardigans does a girl need? The answer is, apparently, one more than I had before, because there was no way I could part with it once I tried it on. We are going to be the best of friends this fall. I’m also a huge fan of this super lightweight Pure Amici cashmere cardigan, which is the most lovely shade of deep red and will be a perfect antidote to all of the black I wear all winter. It was a tough call, frankly, between this one and this much less expensive burgundy bouclé version, which is also quite good. But in the end, I preferred the length and the color (and yes, the cozy cashmere-ness) of this one. And though I ignored this Nordstrom x Caro Issa sweater in my online browsing, when I saw it in person, my heart skipped a beat. Seriously thick, luxe cashmere in the most beautifully variegated denim heather…I ordered it the second I got home.

Coats…oh, friends. There are so many good coats in the Sale, and so few cold days in California. This green Trina Turk coat is absolutely flawless in person, with maybe the prettiest, most flattering and feminine silhouette I’ve seen on anything in ages. And that malachite color is incredible on just about every skin tone. Alas, it didn’t come home with me, because something else happened. Specifically, this DVF wrap coat. True story: 2 years ago, DVF launched an almost-identical version of this coat. I coveted it something fierce, but couldn’t stomach the $750 pricetag. While I was vacillating, it sold out, and I gnashed my teeth in envy all that winter as I watched Julianna Margulies wear it all season long on The Good Wife. But I walked into Nordstrom yesterday and there it was, reincarnated! In possibly even a better red than the original version, and at a much better $390 price. Hello, lover.

On the lighter side of things, I was surprised by how cute this Rebecca Taylor jacket was in person, after the meh photos of it online. Cozy and luxe, it’s a no-brainer for you office-dwellers, as it’ll make that all-black wardrobe of yours instantly more interesting. (I’d add a black silk tee and these Eileen Fisher skinny trousers if it were me.)

Speaking of pants, I flipped my lid when I saw DL1961’s Florence jeans were in the Sale! They’re my true-love skinnies (I love them even more than my Paiges), so I was over the moon to see them in the Sale. I almost bought two pairs. But other than that and the EF trousers…I didn’t find any other pants I couldn’t live without.

Now, about shoes. Can you believe almost all of my faves were under $100? Me neither. I had my heart set on some extremely cute moss green Lucky boots and those charcoal Dolce Vita boots, but alas both sold out before I could nab them, which I’ll admit was a crushing blow. But I’m consoling myself with these sleek little Franco Sartos in a yummy cognac color, which are very nearly perfect, and will even be acceptable with skirts, which I almost never say about ankle boots. I also grabbed these floral Tory Burch sneaks - I loved the print, and considered getting it in the dress version, but neither of the styles were quite right in my book. Plus, let’s be honest: I’m a jeans and sweaters girl these days. I also nabbed the Nike Flyknits in black and white, but am seriously considering exchanging for the teal color. I am, as a rule, staunchly opposed to flashy sneaks, but these ones really stole my heart.

Haul 2
DVF wrap coat |Alexis Bittar necklaceVince cardigan | kate spade scarf | DL1961 jeans

I had a lot of fun with the jewelry this year as well. Nadri always has a slew of pieces that are a steal, and gorgeous for the price point. But this year, I was falling pretty hard for the styles from Freida Rothman. To be honest, I’m still torn between the two earrings I nabbed. This one is more versatile, but the turquoise is awfully lovely in person, and might be just the dose of color my jewelry wardrobe was needing. Opinions? And I surprised myself by falling for this blingy little Alexis Bittar necklace. I still might chicken out on this one, but it’s awfully pretty (and more delicate) in person. I also quite loved this little Sugarbean lariat necklace, which is one of those styles you might not glance at if it weren’t on the Sale, but I’m telling you, once it’s in your jewelry box, you won’t be able to stop wearing it. Just different enough to be interesting…much like yours truly.

Then, of course, there were the stock-ups. A few of these easy Pleione split-neck tops, which come in a rainbow of prints and solids and are so damn versatile, I can’t stand it. And this Halogen tee is super boring in the solids, but that urban sketch print is completely adorable, and $15, so why are we even still discussing this? And I always stock up on my beloved Clarins SPF – it was the first thing in my cart. And this set of Deborah Lippmann polishes is tough to beat for practicality. I’ve heard fantastic things about Dr. Gross’ skincare line, so this seemed like a good opportunity to give it a try. And really, who can’t use a stockpile of Rose Salve?

Now, about the misses…there were definitely some pieces I was bummed about this year. That IRO jacket, for example – I had high hopes, but on me, it was a little bulky and shapeless, and sheds like crazy. Ditto for the Helmut Lang, which was nowhere near as flattering as its shorter counterpart. The Vince shearling I was so excited about is lovely, but maybe a little on the thin side. Not necessarily a bad thing, as shearlings can be crazy bulky, but I think I’d hold out for a more timeless style at this price point. And the chevron-print Trina Turk coat I could not wait to see is actually really fun in person, but maybe a little too faux-fur-inspired to be as practical as I was hoping for. But…I have to admit, I still kind of love it.

I always try to pick up a scarf or two in the Sale, but nothing was really calling to me. The Kate Spade prints were cute, but they weren’t as soft and cozy as I wanted them to be. And I had high hopes for great sunnies, but unless you’re ISO aviators, the pickings were slim.

These zip-up Hunter boots were a breeze to slip into, but the color options could have been more exciting – and I couldn’t help thinking they felt a little less solid than Hunter’s usual quality. And those Nadri triangle stud earrings I was dying to try didn’t line up quite as perfectly on my ears as they do in the photos online. Le sigh….

So, friends: that’s the big haul! What about you? What did you end up loving (or hating)? Dish in the comments – I’m dying to hear!

 

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editor’s picks: 2015 nordstrom anniversary sale


Editor’s Note: If you’re new to this scene, the Anniversary Sale is Nordstrom’s biggest sale of the year. They cut deals with nearly every designer they stock to get an early shipment of Fall 2015 merchandise 6 weeks before any other retailer. Then, they mark the whole lot down 33-40%! That means you can score everything you need for fall without waiting for those October markdowns, but prices go back up on August 3, and the good stuff sells out fast. So, if you see something you love, nab it early! Remember, Nordstrom has the best return policy in the biz, and items sell out fast during the Sale. My Sale mantra: Buy now, edit later!

Break out your Nordstrom cards, friends – Early Access to the 2015 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is finally here!!

This year, I’ve managed to score a major sneak peek: more than half my picks are pieces you won’t find in the catalog, so you’re likely seeing them right here for the first time!

Ready to see my top picks? Let’s get this party started!

actual coats
IRO Ajuma jacket, $399 | Barbour Cavalry jacket, $185 | Treasure&Bond leather jacket, $198 |
Vince hooded coat, $464 | DVF Mackenzie coat, $398 | Ted Baker London Nevia coat, $349 |

For me, the Sale’s about three things: coats, boots and jeans. And this year, the coats are looking mighty fine, friends! That snuggly IRO jacket is going to sell out in a hot second, and with good reason – it’s the perfect dressed-up antidote to a fleece. I was so excited to see a Barbour quilted jacket in the mix – it’s a welcome reprieve from the usual Burberry version that’s in the Sale year after year. Leather jackets are always a big part of the Sale – I love the cut of this Treasure&Bond version, but as always, I’m going to need to touch and feel in person to make sure it’s up to SMC standards. (If you beat me to it, report back, will you?)

As for heavier winter fare, everyone will be clamoring for that Vince hooded coat…including me. It has all the appeal of a duffle coat, without the annoying hardware. Blanket coats will be everywhere this fall, and the two options from DVF and Ted Baker were easily my favorite of the bunch. Clean, sophisticated lines and ultra-flattering cuts. You can’t go wrong with either one, but I’m guessing that gorgeous cerulean blue is going to feel like a breath of fresh air in the dark days of January. If even that’s not fun enough for you, I won’t lie…this fantastic fuzzy leopard number is secretly pretty high on my wishlist. So wrong, it’s right.

Coats2

| Caslon striped sweater coat, $84 | Helmut Lang Villous jacket, $169 | Trouvé belted trench, $99 |

Moving on down the line to lighter fare, I do love that Caslon stripey cardigan, though I fear it’s going to be one of those pieces you see 3 other people wearing on the subway every morning. Still, it’s hard to resist. I’m a big fan of Helmut Lang jackets as a rule, and this mod, structured hoodie is a perfect example of why. It’s long enough to cover your backside in leggings, but polished enough to use as that all-important extra layer hanging on your office door.

And can you believe I picked a non-Burberry trench this year? The Burberry options are there, don’t get me wrong, but I just loved the unexpected color on this version from Trouvé. Also, the length is absolutely perfect – most inexpensive trenches are too short, which ends up making them look…well, inexpensive. This one hits right at the knee, making it dressier and more elegant. For under $100, it’s a no-brainer.

Bettersweater
| Eileen Fisher oval cut cardigan, $198 | Halogen V-neck cashmere sweater, $98 | Hinge kimono jacket, $84 |

Every year, I bemoan the fact that they don’t include a v-neck Halogen cashmere sweater in the Sale. Nordstrom finally heard my prayers…and it’s tunic-length to boot! I’ll be stocking up. If a boatneck is more your style, this year’s version comes in a bunch of fun prints, and it’s decked out with a very welcome shirttail hem (read: your new BFF with skinny jeans). And that Eileen Fisher cardigan is going to be a dream come true for a fall transitional piece – it’s just begging to be paired with a summer dress and ankle boots.

Now, about that kimono jacket/blanket coat situation. You’re thinking I’ve lost my mind. But picture it without that ridiculous belt or the lace shirt underneath. I’d wear it open, layered loosely over a long-sleeved black tissue tee or sweater, faded skinnies and suede ankle boots. See? Now you’re feeling it too.

Jeans1
| Frame Le High Flare jeans, $149 | DL1961 Emma jeans, $111 | KUT Catherine boyfriend jeans, $52 |

Denim! So many fantastic options, so little time. Everyone’s going to want those cropped Current/Elliott frayed-hem jeans on the cover of the catalog, but I’m going another way. If skinnies are on your agenda, DL1961 is my current fave. These Emma jeans are a dream when it comes to stretch and comfort. For boyfriends, I remain hopelessly devoted to the version from KUT – they’re in the Sale every year, and the fit (and price) are unbeatable. (There’s also a great cropped straight leg from KUT this year, which I’m dying to try.) But the best news of all is that flares are back in a big way. This is excellent news for those of us looking to balance out curves. Frame Denim’s high rise flare is my favorite from the Sale, but there are loads of good options!

newest pantalones

 

| NYDJ Ami skinnies, $88| Rag & Bone The Skinny jeans , $129 |
NYDJ Samantha trousers, $72 | Vince Camuto pants, $58 |

Much as I love my denim stash, you’ll need a few other pairs to get yourself through the winter. If you hoard stretchy black pants the way I do, you’ll want to know that my top picks are the NYDJ ponte leggings (muffin-top-reducing waist up top, ankle-skimming trouser below), and the Vince Camuto ponte skinnies, which I’m hoping will be as wonderful as last year’s version. I’m cautiously optimistic about Rag & Bone’s military green skinnies, which would be a welcome update to my regular dark skinnies. But fair warning: they tend toward a lower rise, so proceed with caution. And last but not least, if you’re jonesing for a little color, these burgundy skinnies from NYDJ are awfully fun (or, if you’re color-phobic like me, they come in charcoal grey too).

New boots boots

 

Hunter back zip bootie, $ 149 | Rag & Bone Margot, $349| Aquatalia Fay, $269 |
| Dolce Vita Kadie, $84 | Paul Green Delgado, $259 |

Boots, boots, everywhere! But you’ve probably noticed that all of these picks are vertically challenged. Yes, friends: I’ve declared a strike on tall boots in my closet. Every morning when I decide I want to wear tall boots, the rest of the outfit selection process is just beyond difficult. Dress? Skirt? Jeans? Are the jeans skinny enough to tuck in? Are they bunching up at the knees? Tights? No tights? Enough already!

Ankle boots just make life so much easier. Plus, they’re perfect with all of those flared jeans you’re about to start buying. The Rag & Bone Margot is going to be the sell-out MVP of the Sale this year…alas, the heel’s too high for this girl. But if you can manage it, please buy them on my behalf. Those Aquatalia boots are amazing for winter – completely indestructible, and incredibly comfortable. Speaking of comfort, last year’s version of these Paul Green boots is still a favorite of mine, so these are well worth a splurge. The Dolce Vita boots are a dead ringer for a similar style from Joie that’s currently sitting in my closet, but at $84, I’m not arguing. And those Hunter short boots with the back zipper are just nine kinds of adorable. I may even replace my beloved Loeffler Randalls, I love them so much! (And yep, they do come in a tall version as well.)

As for the rest of the shoes, I wasn’t wild about the options. The Flatly from Stuart Weitzman is a pointed toe loafer/flat hybrid that’s pretty cute, particularly in grey leopard. And the usual crop of AGLs, of course. But otherwise…well, let’s just move on, shall we?

nordstrom-anniversary-sale-dresses
| Eileen Fisher silk dress, $189| Vince Camuto jersey wrap dress, $65 | Halogen sleeveless dress, $78 |
| Joie Narrie silk shell $124 | Joie suede skirt, $399 |

There’s never any shortage of wardrobe staples to stock up on, but this year, I particularly liked some of the transitional-season items in the Sale. That Eileen Fisher shift dress, for instance, would be dreamy in the heat of summer, but it will be fantastic with a long cardigan, skinny belt and ankle boots in the fall. That little Halogen dress comes in a bevy of patterns and is one of those easy cuts that flatters literally everyone, making it a no-brainer for any late-summer weddings on the agenda. And when you have no idea what to wear to the office on a hot August day, the answer is that sleeveless Vince Camuto wrap dress. Which will also be fantastic layered under a jacket come fall.

Now, I’m not wild about those last two pieces being worn together, but I love them both separately. That Joie silk shell may not look like much, but I’m telling you: grab one in every color. It’s a fantastic layering piece that’s incredibly flattering, and will work under everything from a suit to jeans and a cardi. The 70s-lite vibe of this button-front suede skirt is striking a really nice balance in my book, and it will be such a welcome change when you’re sick to death of wool trousers. If it were me, I’d ask the Nordstrom alterations team to tack down that front seam so that only the top 3 buttons are functional (I’m partial to avoiding that awkward button-gapping when you sit).

nordstrom-anniversary-sale-athletic-picks

| Ebb & Flow printed leggings, $TBD | Zella Live-In leggings, $49 | Vans suede slip on, $32 | Nike Flyknit 5.0, $96 |

I always wait for the Sale to stock up on a few lounge basics. Zella leggings by the truckload as always, but I loved the print on these Ebb & Flow leggings quite a lot (and it doesn’t hurt that they’re from the juniors’ section, so they’re sure to be a steal). Slip-on sneakers are such an easy throw-and-go style, and the suede makes them polished enough that you won’t feel old wearing Vans. And I’ve always been partial to Nike Flyknits, but I particularly love the colors that are up for grabs this year.

newer underthings

 

|  Chantelle Merci demi bra, $51 | Chantelle Rive Gauche bra, $57 | | Hanky Panky Retro bralette, $35 |
Hanky Panky Retro high waist thong, 4/$60 |

I say it every year, but it’s always true – now’s the time to refresh that lingerie drawer, friends. Rotate out three of your most used and abused bras and replace them with something pretty and new – it’ll change your entire outlook, I swear. The Natori Feathers is a perennial fave of mine, but this year, I really love the options from Chantelle. And though I’m a little overly-endowed for most bralette styles, this one from Hanky Panky actually has a decent support system, so I’m thinking it’s perfect for lazy Sundays.

While you’re at it, you’ll want to retire some of your older Hanky Panky thongs and grab a new set of 4. The traditional version is a classic, but I particularly like their retro-inspired high-waist style, which I can tell you is pretty flawless under dresses.

Bags

 | Philip Lim Mini Pashli, $484 | Vince Camuto Baily crossbody bag, $118 |
Chloe Marci tote, $1,268 | Longchamps expandable tote, $129 |

Anyone else super underwhelmed by the bag selection? That Kate Spade tote is great, but it’ll be everywhere this fall. I’m a much bigger fan of this Chloe tote, though it’s a splurge even on sale. And of course, the expandable Longchamps is always super handy, and it only comes around during the Sale. As for smaller fare, this little Philip Lim Mini Pashli is infinitely cuter than its larger cousin. And the quilting on that Vince Camuto crossbody makes it look awfully luxe for its itty bitty pricetag.

Jewelry
| Fossil boyfriend watch, $89 | Nadri bar station cuff, $39 | Bony Levy skinny diamond bangle, $1,398 |
Sonya Renee drusy teardrop earrings and necklace, $49 each | Nadri triangle stud earrings, $22

I think the jewelry in the Sale too often gets overlooked, but there are some serious gems (yep, pun 100% intended) every time, and this year is no exception. Skip the usual Michael Kors watch and nab this fun Fossil version instead – I got all giddy when I saw the color combos. Navy + rose gold or forest green + yellow gold…either way, it’s dreamy. Those drusy earrings from Sonya Renee are the perfect wear-with-anything style, and the matching tassel necklace is going to be incredible layered over all of your fall sweaters.

If you’ve always secretly wished for that second ear piercing but haven’t had the nerve (cough…), those Nadri triangle stud earrings are pretty much the coolest thing ever. And if there’s one jewelry splurge I’d make this year, it’s that Bony Levy skinny diamond bangle, which comes in every conceivable combo of colors and is such a perfect update to the classic tennis bracelet.

beauty collage2

Bobbi Brown Secret to Standout Eyes, $85 | Blame It On NARS cheek palette, $59 | Laura Mercier Art of Color, $79 |
Trish McEvoy Naturally Gorgeous, $156 | Smashbox Studio Pro brush, $89 | Laura Mercier Flawless in a Flash, $39 |

You’ll definitely want to stock up on beauty – these specially-created sets sell out fast, and they’re a steal of a deal, so check for offerings from your favorite brands, stat! There are loads of bulk buys that are well worth your time, but I’m always partial to the limited edition palettes. This year’s versions from Bobbi Brown, NARS and Laura Mercier are stunners. (Especially the Bobbi Brown…so dreamy!) And the Trish McEvoy set is one collection you don’t want to miss – it comes with everything from eye lift and luminizer to liquid liner and SPF lipgloss, so you can update your entire routine in one fell swoop!

Phew! Well friends, that ought to get you started, I think. But of course, now comes the really fun part (for me, at least): Head to the comments section and tell me what you nabbed – I’m dying to hear!

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this or that: styling a cozy reading nook

cozy-reading-nook

1: Embroidered Paris pillow, catstudio (I’m obsessed!) | Sheepskin | Throw | Lamp | Mug
2: Pillow | Vintage kantha throw | Art | Book

There’s nothing I love so much as a cozy reading nook. Something welcoming, comforting and stylish, but a little bit fun too. Besides being a perfect excuse to curl up with a book (or the latest Vogue), a well-styled reading nook just instantly makes me feel calmer and more relaxed somehow, even when the rest of my house is a shambles.

I happen to love my current nook quite a bit. It has a picture-perfect view of the pond out back, and in the morning, I get just the right mix of sunlight and crisp breezes when I settle in with my cup of tea. 

But even spaces you love can use a little update now and then. Luckily, there’s nothing easier in the world of interiors than creating (or updating) a reading nook. All you really need is a chair, a lamp and maybe a side table (you’ll need a spot to set your tea, after all), and the possibilities become infinite. It’s like the little black dress of design – classic and always ripe for reinvention.

So, I decided to have a little fun with the options, and loved the results so much, I thought I’d share. The one on the left is so relaxing, simple and elegant – I feel calmer just looking at it! But the other is so cozy and inviting. What’s your pick, friends? (As you may have noticed, someone in my house has already cast her vote…)

 

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sneak peek!! see the 2015 nordstrom anniversary sale catalog a day early

nordstrom-anniversary-sale-catalog-cover

| 2015 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Catalog sneak peek! |

Oh, hey – remember when I promised I’d have your very first look at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale catalog this year? Well friends, I never kid about that kind of thing. It’s here! A day early, even! This is top-secret stuff – it doesn’t officially launch on Nordstrom’s site until tomorrow. But you know I’ve always got your back.

I’m just diving in now, but I can tell you I’m already pretty excited about Bobbi Brown’s exclusive eye palette and a certain navy coat from Vince that will almost certainly be in my closet in a couple of weeks.

Take a peek through and tell me what you’re loving in the comments!

 

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nordstrom anniversary sale 2015: early access details

nordstrom-anniversary-sale-early-access

Friends, it’s freaking me out a little bit, but the 2015 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is almost here! Which means it’s almost July. When did that happen?!?

Deep breaths. Anyway…

Since I’m sort of known around these parts for having the scoop on this Sale (also known as the single best time to nab all of your cozy Vince sweaters, skinny jeans and tall boots at 33% off before fall even hits), I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of important dates to know: Read on

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what to say when you don’t know what to say

empathy-cards-emily-mcdowell

|  A few of the perfectly on-the-nose Empathy Cards cooked up by Emily McDowell  |

I’ve always harbored a secret fantasy that I’d create a line of cards for awkward family scenarios. (See, e.g., a Father’s Day card for a dad to whom you sort of regret being genetically linked.)

So, when I saw what Emily McDowell has been up to, I knew I had to share. She’s created a whole line of cards for those tricky life situations you want to acknowledge, but don’t exactly know how, starting with a series for people with chronic or serious illness (aka, the people for whom a “get well soon” card doesn’t make a lick of sense). As a person who could be a recipient of many of Emily’s fantastic cards, I can tell you they’re just about perfect. (Especially that one about promising not to tell me about treatments you found on the internet. Seriously. Just…no.)

One of the (many, many) hard things about these big, hairy health issues (chronic illness, cancer, even infertility…really anything that can’t be cured by chicken soup or a Z-Pak) is that even the most well-meaning friends and family don’t really understand it. They can’t. You look fine most of the time, you act fine most of the time (we sickos get pretty good at putting on a show)…so it’s hard to know what to say or how to help. Believe me, I get it.

But the thing is, I lost friends when I got sick. Not a lot, but a few. They didn’t know what to say or how to act, so they just sort of faded away. And I let them. It sucked.

Instead of fading away, here’s what I suggest: show up. It’s that simple. Just show up, in whatever way you’re able. Send a card. Bring a cupcake. Ask questions. You don’t have to have the answers; just ask the questions. I’ll never volunteer the gory details about what’s up with my health, but if a friend sits with me over a cup of coffee and asks me to explain it to her, I always will. Because I want you to understand…but I need you to ask, because I don’t want to overshare, or overburden, or bore you to tears. Say, “If you’re okay talking about it, I’d love for you to explain what’s happening so I can be a better friend to you.” Wow, would those words be healing.

And then? Drop it. As hard as it will be, resist the urge to treat her like a patient. Plenty of other people have that covered, and no one wants to be The Sick Friend. Be the person who lets her feel like her old self. Because underneath the piles of blankets and pill bottles, that’s exactly who she is. Sure, ask how she’s feeling occasionally, and let her know you’re there whenever she needs to vent about another bad doctor’s visit or how her new meds are making her gain weight.

But your friend doesn’t need you to be her mother or her doctor – she needs you to be her friend. The same friend she had before the shit hit the fan.

So, show up with a pair of cappuccinos and resume your multi-part discussion of the best all-girl hip-hop groups from the ’90s. Call just to tell her about something funny that happened at work, or text her a string of rando emojis. Or occasionally, when you know she’s having a bad week (which you’ll know, because you’ve been showing up), show up with a casserole.

Don’t wait for her to ask, because she probably won’t. Just show up.

 

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me and art

Anna Valdez

|  My first grown-up art purchase, by the insanely-talented Anna Valdez  |

We don’t talk about it enough here, but I’m what you might call an aspiring art collector. I’ve always secretly wanted to be a Collector (yes, with a capital “C”). You know, one of those obnoxious people who “acquires pieces” at a pretentious gallery opening instead of buying posters in the museum gift shop. Yep, I aspire to snobbery. I admit it.

Alas, I probably won’t be making off with a Picasso from a Sotheby’s auction any time soon. And for most of my life, that seemed like the only way to collect. You had to be a high roller. But then, the Internet happened. And after that, 20×200 happened. And the world of collecting art suddenly became…possible.

20×200 was the first time I realized that mere mortals could, in fact, learn about art, be knowledgeable about up-and-coming artists, and even collect art – all without a seven-figure bank account or a loft in Manhattan. I was in love pretty much from Day One.

So, it’s safe to say that it makes my entire week to tell you that I’m teaming up with them on a series of Q&As with their incredibly smart and savvy founder, Jen Bekman. I’m pumping her for the skinny on everything there is to know about being a grown-up art collector (without a Silicon Valley art-buying budget).

The first one launched today, and I won’t lie…my feathers are pretty fluffed up about the whole thing. I hope you’ll love it.

 

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