Monday, February 16, 2015

Happily Ever After

Maybe there are no happy endings, save for the ones you write yourself. 

I haven't been a big fan of fairy tales in my adult life, but there is something intriguing about Cinderella. It's not all that different from all the other Disney stories, but it does involve shoes. That infamous glass slipper is as much a supporting character as any fairy godmother or ugly step sister. I can especially relate to the Grimm version where women are willing to mutilate and deform their own feet just to fit into that special shoe. Don't we all try to conform a bit, even if it's hazardous to our well-being? I know I am guilty of sometimes thinking I have magical feet that can shape shift to fit any size if I want the shoe bad enough. 

That's the problem with fairy tales. They teach that you can get what you deserve or want by use of magic, so long as you're a good person etc. We all know that real life is quite different. Blood, sweat, and tears are the modern day magic, and oftentimes there isn't a prince or a godmother to help you out. Sometimes you do have to torture yourself a bit to reach a desired outcome.

But one thing I am a firm believer in is that you can choose to wear the right shoes to get the job done. Everyone deserves their proverbial glass slipper; the perfect fit. I love all the designer shoe collaborations that have sprung up because of the upcoming Cinderella movie. You can see these dreamy heels here.  

Another thing I am a big believer in is writing your own story. Sure, you may have helpers and saviors along the way, but don't be afraid to pick up the pen and create your own happily ever after.

P.S. Other cool Cinderella collabs can be found here and here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Things We Want

Things I wanted recently that I bought: Champagne sweatshirt from Blonde Design, Vera Wang White booties (purchased from a wedding site, even though I'm not a bride), and a Stace Face mug from Starbucks (the mug is an ode to Stacey Bendet, one of my favorite designers).  

When it comes to shoes and things I have a tendency to get what I want, and it's not always because I work hard for them. Sometimes I get gifts (or gift cards, thanks to Christmas), or sometimes I just wait it out for the ideal sale. Sometimes I even (gulp) charge these items to my credit card. There's nothing quite so motivating as getting what you want, especially when you don't have to wait to get it. I found all of these items via Instagram, and purchased them almost as soon as I was done hitting the "like" button.

It wasn't until today, when people at my work were asked to give feedback on the type of work environment that we want that I got to thinking about wants and needs on a deeper level. Sure, I have a long wishlist of components that would make up the perfect place to work, but I know now that there is no "perfect" place to work. Every job has its perks and occasional drawbacks. I read my email  back to myself and began making corrections; there wasn't a point in presenting upper management with a shopping list peppered with my point of view. Instead, I started off by thanking them for being interested in my feedback to begin with. After all, they didn't have to ask. I then acknowledged their goals so they knew I had heard them out and didn't just read the part that said "Please send your feedback." I offered up my concessions, then offered a few small details about what works for me. The result wasn't a ransom letter (these people after all supply me with the funds to buy my shoes) but a professionally articulated statement of what I thought I would need to be that much more successful at my job.

This exercise reminded me that some things are worth the wait, or worth working for. Take this blog for instance. I almost didn't type this post, because I wanted to go to sleep and call it a night. But it hit me that I wanted to write. Sometimes getting what you want requires pain and perseverance, and knowing this, I have been trying to avoid the uncomfortableness of it all. I had forgotten how good it feels to publish a post; to talk freely with my boss; to save up for something I really wanted. 

If you focus on delaying gratification just a bit, you might actually end up with the thing you never even knew you wanted. Case in point, this cool blue Nubar nail polish, gifted to me by a sweet friend at the company. I have wanted so badly to find my footing in the nail industry over the last two years. I have worked tirelessly because I wanted to learn; to prove that I belonged. At a certain point I forgot about wanting that so badly and just started being myself and doing my best. The result is a pretty great work relationship and cool moments like seeing my name on a polish bottle, something I never would have dreamed of wanting previously. 

I caught myself thinking I would have to go out and buy some new clothes for a tradeshow this weekend, but I stopped and realized how ridiculous that is. The fact of the matter is, I don't need anything new. I have plenty. It's time to stop wanting and start appreciating. I'm so glad I stayed up to write this post. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What Joan Did

Writers like to be remembered for what they said. After all, their words are their legacy. But one of the reasons why I love Joan Didion is because of what she does. Didion is a non-fiction writer, so her memoirs and journalistic accountants are filled with research. I can picture her typing away daily, with notes and books at her side. Didion started young too. She won an essay contest at Vogue, back when the glossies cared about real writing and giving new voices a start. Her work at Vogue paved the way for a career full of literary and screenwriting contributions. Now at 80, Didion is the new face of Celine's Spring campaign. I've always admired the ease of Didion's look; she looks like how I always pictured a writer to look. 

Seeing her in this campaign reminded me of finishing her collection, "We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live" on the way back from my Napa vacation. I thought it so fitting that I completed this very California-centric read (see her work, "Where I Was From") while driving through the state. Being a native Californian, I feel an even deeper connection to Didion's words. I was reading by flashlight (the sun had long gone down) as I completed my 1104 page book that had begun on a separate road trip to the Midwest a couple of years ago. On the second to last page this phrase caught my eye, "There is no real way to deal with everything we lose." I let this sentence wash over me just as the dark of night washed over the California scenery and the road seemed to tuck itself under the tires of our car like a long black ribbon. 

I began reading Joan Didion in college with 'The Year of Magical Thinking," a book all about the subject of loss. I've lost people I love, memories, things, and maybe even time, but Didion is the writer who has showed me the best way to deal with loss. After reading her work I became interested in writing memoir, which I pursued in college. Because of her, I too know where I come from. Joan deals with things by writing about them. She has that perfect cadence that speaks beyond years and pages. Her words yank you from the darkness of a lonely road somewhere and place you onto a clearer path. That's what Joan does for me. Kudos to this fashion house for reminding us that we still have one of the greatest writers of our time with us today.

*Images & details on the campaign via Vogue

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmastime in the City

Having a December birthday means seeing everything decorated at its Christmas best. I spent December 4th in my favorite city in the world, San Francisco. I went shopping in Union Square, walked Knob Hill, and ate lunch at Macy's. I stayed with my mother in Sonoma, where we toured the Coppola Winery, drove to Santa Rosa, and enjoyed cupcakes from Sift. While celebrating, I wore a very special vintage sweater that was a birthday gift from my stepmom and dad from DMarie Vintage. The sweater is my first real fur and the buttons are costume jewelry. It's the perfect piece to celebrate turning 30 in. I left Northern California with many bottles of wine and memories made. The entire trip, like the sweater, were tailor made for my 30th birthday. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Art of the Matter

It's that weird limbo between Christmas and New Year's. I find myself content with things given and received, and suddenly look forward to the year ahead. There's a great energy that exists in this interim of time. Because of the days off work I finally feel like I can get back to my own art. Seeing all the unique artwork in Napa was such an inspiration, but I could''t find the time to blog about it until now. This interlude may very well be the most (if not only) relaxing time out of the whole year. 

But it struck me as I was writing this that I am most thankful for other people's art. It's because of those brave souls who are always so giving, so determined to make time for what they love to do that I have had the jobs I have been fortunate enough to have. I appreciate people who appreciate someone else's craft. So I was particularly happy with Sterling, Mumm, and Domaine Chandon wineries in Napa, all of whom promote the arts by having collections on their grounds. I saw everything from Ansel Adams photographs to Picasso doodles. 

When my mother gifted me with this beautiful necklace she made using vintage glass beads, it all came full-circle. Where would I be without the artwork of others? It has put food on the table, shoes on my feet, given me plenty to write about, and established such deep connections. It is my sincerest hope that 2015 brings even more artistic inspiration and outpouring for myself and anyone who else who feels the constant need to create and connect.

Friday, December 26, 2014

You Take a Napa, You Don't Move to Napa

The party we had was only the first step in celebrating my 30th birthday. I knew I wanted to take a trip somewhere, but it wasn't until Nathan and I brainstormed that we agreed Napa would be the perfect destination. I had driven through Napa before, but never stopped at any of the wineries. I'm so glad we decided to drive through the valley in December and take our time to really appreciate the weather (so rainy, unlike Southern California), the scenery (so green, unlike Southern California), and the Christmas season. 

They say that most tourists visit Napa from July-Sept., but honestly, I couldn't picture being there any other time of year. The fog and mist rolled over the green hills every morning and the vines at all of the vineyards were glittered with raindrops. It felt good to feel cold again and have to bundle up. Gloves, scarves, hats, coats, and boots were a must. I thought it fitting that we went to a place where things only get better with age. It made turning 30 seem more celebratory than mournful. 

I highly recommend visiting Napa in December. Pictured above are Sterling, Castello di Amorosa, Mumm, and Domaine Chandon wineries, where the people are so very kind and the grounds will take your breath away. Cheers to milestone birthdays! I'm so excited to drink 30 in.