Category Archives: myself and i

the best we can


| Isn’t that face is the most perfect picture of frustration you’ve ever seen? Hilarious. But of course, we’ve all been there. |

I don’t know if you’ve been feeling it where you are, but the new year has felt heavy to me this time around. Like one of those hulking winter coats from a thrift store that smells kind of funny and never fits you quite right. There’s sorrow and loss around every corner, it seems, and I’m starting to wonder if my heart can survive it.

I’m not even talking about the big guns like ISIS and Charlie Hebdo, or even Ferguson – the huge, gut-wrenching calamities we can’t begin to comprehend, let alone cope with. No, these are closer – intimate personal tragedies that hit much too close to home, sinking their teeth into your tender spots and leaving you bruised and utterly bewildered. More dear friends and family members than I can wrap my brain around have lost parents, grandparents, friends or beloved pets already this year – and it’s only February. Others are dealing with unimaginably hard things in their lives that can only be described as staggeringly unfair. My husband’s 36-year-old barber died of a heart attack 3 days into the new year. In what universe does that make sense?

Of course there’s never a “good” time to go through something this bottomless and dark, but starting the new year on such a fugue-like note has left me in a strange place, one that’s too quiet, too aware. I’m trying to hold tight to what I have while making room in my heart to grieve all of these losses at once. Turns out, that’s quite a lot to carry.

I’ve caught myself squinting into the distance, hoping to catch a glimpse of the bigger picture or anything resembling meaning – something to gain from all this loss. But the light is faint, and sometimes it feels a bit like a mouse pointing a flashlight into the abyss. What can little old I possibly hope to illuminate in all this darkness?

After hearing that someone we love had lost her father suddenly, a dear friend said, “We’re too young to lose our parents.” And she’s right of course. But when are we old enough? For any of this? We’re too young, too fragile, too human for any of it. To be losing our friends, our partners, our colleagues, our pets…it’s just too much.

All I know is that I don’t know much of anything. There are no answers, and the sorrow I feel for these people whose lives will never be the same sits heavily on my shoulders. But I’m hoping against hope that somehow in the great karmic game of Hot Potato, my wearing all of this grief for a while lightens the load for someone else, even for a moment or two.

So, what can you do? When you’re faced with so much and feel so helpless? That’s the Big Question, of course. We all want a solution, so very badly. A + B, carry the 1, and that will get you straight to C. But here’s the hairy truth: Big Questions never have Easy Answers.

To be honest, this is where I stopped writing last week. Because I was stumped. And platitudes…well, a pinch of Hallmark is better than nothing, but it seldom gets the job done.

The other day, when the cashier at my little neighborhood post office was as close to tears as a man gets in public over the loss of his friend, the aforementioned barber, he shrugged and said, “What can we do but move on?”

Now just a minute, I told him. Not so fast. Sit with your grief for a while. It’s okay. Miss your friend. Honor his life and let yourself feel the loss before you file it away. And though I feel like I almost never have the right words, the look of relief on his face when I said this to him makes me think it might have helped just a little.

The next day, though my heart was still heavy and I was in no place to be social, I found myself chatting with the handyman at my building as he strolled by. Out of nowhere, and having almost nothing to do with anything we were talking about, he suddenly said to me, “Just do the best you can with today.

(I tell you, almost without exception, profound comes from the one place you absolutely never expect to find it.)

The more I thought about it, the more his words just sort of wriggled their way through the dark, twisty places in my head and took root. Do the best you can. Just for today. Whatever’s happening, whatever’s brought your heart low…instead of wondering how you’ll ever manage to solve the world’s evils, focus on any small thing that would make even one dark corner just a tiny bit brighter. Compliment someone. Buy a stranger’s latte. Smash a plate. Just do the best you can with today.

With those wise little words still wriggling around in my ears, we – my heavy heart and I – came home and sent flowers to my friend whose father died. Then we made a coffee date with a friend who’s struggling, and sent a loving email to another. And after that, we called my great aunt, whose son died just before Christmas, to let her talk about nothing at all for as long as she needed to.

Nothing was fixed, of course – loved ones were still gone, struggles were still there. But we’d done the best we could. And when I hung up the phone, my heart and I felt just a little bit better. For today.

Share 'the best we can' on Facebook Share 'the best we can' on Google+ Share 'the best we can' on Pinterest Share 'the best we can' on Twitter Share 'the best we can' on Email

a very very merry

happy holidays

via Instagram

This morning, I’m getting ready for a Christmas cookie-decorating date with two of my favorite little munchkins. Being a person who prefers “Favorite Aunt” status to “Mom” status, I can tell you there are few things I enjoy more than borrowing my friends’ children for a few hours, loading them up with sugar and sparkly shoes, then sending them home to crash and burn on my friends’ time. Read on

Share 'a very very merry' on Facebook Share 'a very very merry' on Google+ Share 'a very very merry' on Pinterest Share 'a very very merry' on Twitter Share 'a very very merry' on Email

taking stock

burgundy bag fall, organize closet, how to organize closet for fall, burgundy purse

So, here is an actual thing that just happened: For the last couple of weeks, I have been seeing burgundy everywhere (as is so often the case during fall). And I started thinking to myself that what I really needed this season – needed, mind you – was a burgundy bag. Something simple and classic, ideally with a crossbody strap (because I am getting increasingly lazy). Naturally, my first instinct was to immediately begin obsessively scouring the WWW for the newest object of my affection. Weeks later, while perusing the website of one of my favorite designers, I had the ultimate forehead-slapping moment. “Ooh, I like that bag!” I thought. “I wish it came in burgundy.”

Slowly, the wheels started turning. “Wait…do I…? Didn’t it…?” organize closet

Yes, friends: that bag did come in burgundy, and was presently sitting in my closet. From last fall. When I absolutely had to have a new burgundy bag. Read on

Share 'taking stock' on Facebook Share 'taking stock' on Google+ Share 'taking stock' on Pinterest Share 'taking stock' on Twitter Share 'taking stock' on Email

a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)

Friends, I’m back! I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer, whatever you’ve been up to. My break wasn’t quite as meditative and relaxing as I might have hoped, but the work I got done made me feel more productive and happy than I’ve been in ages. One sweet client is in the process of opening a brand new store, another revamped her entire online presence, and I got to roll up my sleeves and help them make those dreams a reality. Not a bad way to spend the summer, if you ask me.

I also took a little trip to Portland, which I’ll be telling you all about before long. I’ve missed the Rose City so very much, and spending a few days traipsing around old haunts was just what the doctor ordered.

Despite the fact that 80-degree temperatures just won’t quit in CA, I’m also intent on rebuilding my wardrobe for fall. But I’m in one of those phases when every single thing in my closet just bores me to tears. Do you ever have those seasons? Read on

Share 'a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)' on Facebook Share 'a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)' on Google+ Share 'a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)' on Pinterest Share 'a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)' on Twitter Share 'a sartorial pickle (also, welcome back!)' on Email

a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)

how-to-dress-like-a-french-girl-summer, french girl summer, paris summer style, french summer style, paris summer, summer dresses, summer style

All via the Pinterest/Google Images rabbit hole

Well friends, you asked and I’m (finally) delivering the summer edition of my foolproof guide for how to dress like a French girl (if you missed the original version, it’s right here)! This story’s really best told via images, so I have a slew more for you on Pinterest (along with my shopping picks to make the look come to life). But in short, here’s the secret formula:  Read on

Share 'a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)' on Facebook Share 'a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)' on Google+ Share 'a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)' on Pinterest Share 'a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)' on Twitter Share 'a french girl summer, part two (and an announcement)' on Email

looking up

|  photo via Tom Kondrat  |

Happy Friday, friends! Phew, that was a busy week on my end – how about you? Did everyone get their cardio on? Before we all do our best to duck out of work early and hit up the nearest happy hour (mmm, cocktails…), I thought I’d tell you about a little 10-minute social experiment I’ve been trying.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time I spend staring down at a screen. Computers, televisions, iPads, Kindles, and of course, that tiny little iPhone screen we can’t stop making eyes at. Every day, that need for something mindless to occupy my busy brain seems to get a little stronger, and creep up a little faster. Frankly, it’s worrying. (And not just because of this.)

When I was younger, I remember going to visit my grandparents on summer evenings and finding my grandfather – one of the hardest-working men I ever knew – sitting outside next to his vegetable garden, sipping from a colossal glass of iced tea. Not talking on the phone, not fixing anything…just sitting. Enjoying being outside and having nothing to do for a few minutes. These days, I’m starting to wonder whether I’m even capable of such a thing, which is a sad thought.

I’m not talking about a three-week meditation retreat or zoning out in a dark room for hours on end. I’m talking about sitting in a chair with a cup of coffee and being still for a few minutes. Looking up at the sky. Breathing the air. Watching people pass by. Wondering what that crow in the tree across the way is squawking about. In an effort to rejoin the human race,

I have a thought: What if we all took 10 minutes this weekend to look up? If we put down the phone/book/magazine/laptop and drank our coffee without a single distraction? If we saw something beautiful or funny or adorable and just enjoyed it, without Instagramming it? I’ll warn you, it’s harder than it sounds – I’ve been trying all week, and you start to get pretty antsy at the 5-minute mark. Still, I’m going to keep trying. How about you?

Share 'looking up' on Facebook Share 'looking up' on Google+ Share 'looking up' on Pinterest Share 'looking up' on Twitter Share 'looking up' on Email

other things: missed connections

{Note: Welcome to my little experiment, in which I take a brief respite from the retail world to ramble on about life in general. If you’re into it, play along in the comments. If not, don’t fret: we’ll have more “life with style” for you next week.}

The other day, I had a bit of a catastrophe. And as I was frantically trying to deal with it, balanced ever so delicately between mortification, terror and the utter hilarity of the situation, my first (and only, really) instinct was for comiseration. I kept thinking, “I have to call someone! Someone has to know this insanity is happening to me right now.”  Read on

Share 'other things: missed connections' on Facebook Share 'other things: missed connections' on Google+ Share 'other things: missed connections' on Pinterest Share 'other things: missed connections' on Twitter Share 'other things: missed connections' on Email