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Posts tagged ‘not vanilla’

5 Ways to Get Through the First Monday Back

January 6, 2014


For many of us, it’s the first day back in the old — yet new since it’s 2014 — grind. And though we all may be refreshed, rejuvenated, and rethinking the pitiful salad we brought for lunch as a part of our new year’s resolution, I can’t help but think that many of you, like me, are feeling rather blah about the whole thing. That’s not to say that I don’t love my job. I do. I feel extremely lucky to not only love what I do but to also be able to play lemon squeezer to my brain of creative juices on a daily basis.  On this particularly cold, rainy, and all out dismal Monday morning, however, all I want to do is rewind the clock and bask in a few more days of unsolicited vacation bliss. But, REALITY CHECK! That ain’t gonna happen. For any of us. Unless you’re one of the people who continue to have your flight cancelled due Hercules the Blizzard, in which case, keep on basking! Enjoy it while you still can! For the rest of us, it’s time to pinch ourselves in the butt and get a move on. Easier said than done, I know, but here are 5 ways to help you kickstart the new year from 9-5.


1. Coffee - I know that many people avoid coffee as a part of their new year’s cleanse, but for me that one cup in the morning is what gets me going. Honestly, just a few sips and my eyes are wide and my mind is ready for squeezing. If you’re one of those people trying to cleanse who also drinks 3-4 cups a day, then perhaps try only one cup in the morning and then switch to something like caffeinated tea for the rest of your energy boosting drinks.


2. Make Plans - As much as I enjoy a week of free evenings, I’m the first to admit that sometimes that one dinner date with a friend is what gets me through a particularly painful week. Chances are your friends feel the same, so set something up. Do it.


3. Beyonce - Nothing gets me going quite like some pump up music and who better than Queen Bey herself to jumpstart your workday? Play. Listen. Repeat.


4. GChat - How much is there to do to day, really? Ok, a lot. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a few minutes chatting with your friends about the plans you’re supposed to be making this week (see #2).


5. Lipstick – I rarely feel my best after the holiday season. Clothes don’t fit as well. My face has acne because I’ve overindulged in deliciously bad for you foods. And my hair, well let’s just leave my hair out of this. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about post-holiday “icky” days is the power of lipstick. One swipe of a bold shade and I immediately feel more done up and put together than I did before, rats nest hair be damned! I’d like to say that lipstick is the blazer of makeup, but where your blazer might be feeling a little tight these days, lipstick is forgiving in the plump department. The plumper the better!

A Moment on Excess

December 30, 2013


The holidays are full of excess. Excess eating. Excess drinking. Excess napping. By the end of it, I’m ready for excess cleansing. But there are some things  — albeit very few — that I love to have in excess. And not surprisingly, they all have to do with clothes and accessories (except for puppies. I would love to have an excess of puppies, too). White button down shirts, for example, are an article of clothing that I hoard. I wear them constantly. They go with everything. I also have an excess of purses. I find them to be one of the best accessories to give an outfit an extra oomph. Right now, however, I find myself relishing in the excess of black boots. Never will you hear me say, “No I won’t get those because I have too many black boots.” I don’t think it possible to have too many black boots. I would sooner believe in seeing a unicorn riding on a narwhal in a rainbow colored ocean than I would believe in the possibility of  having too many black boots.

You see, I believe black boots to be as versatile and necessary as white button down shirts. But unlike white button down shirts which tend to vary ever so slightly, black boots are full of different styles and designs. Just looking at this year’s most popular black boots, the Givenchy chain boots and Balenciaga buckle boots (both pictured above), you can see how unalike they are. One a sleek and simple design offset by an arching bulk of a gold chain, the other a more clunky design with cut outs and buckles that give off a more punky vibe. It is because of these varying styles that I find myself needing both. I recognize that the word “need” here is completely unnecessary. Do I actually need these two boots? In the greater scheme of things, no. I have a lot of black boots. But need does not go hand-in-hand with excess. Excess is all about having more than what you need. Like the excess of cheese conglomerating in my stomach thanks to the unnecessary amount of cheese plates I consumed over the past ten days. So, here is where I reiterate that one, or at least I, can never have too many pairs of black boots and therefore plan to continue growing my collection until I find myself so overwhelmed by the excessive amount of them piling up in my closet that I do a closet clean out like the post-holiday stomach cleanse I plan to begin in 2014.

Now what I’d really like to know is what you enjoy in excess. So tell me, please?

P.S. If you hoard black boots as much as me, then below you shall find a sea of booties calling both your and my names.

The New Year’s Eve Dress Checklist

December 23, 2013


New Year’s Eve is easily my least favorite holiday. The expectations to have the most epic time of the year are unreasonably high, it’s a pain to get around town, most things end up costing a fortune, and all the eve really brings me is a hangover to kick off the new year. And yet each year I find myself fully immersed in the holiday, right down to the festive party outfit.

I don’t wear sequins or feathers all that frequently — though this is something I’d like to change (Hello, resolution!). But New Year’s Eve seems almost incomplete without at least one of the two ornaments, especially given the Studio 54 theme party that I’m hosting this year. Did I mention I don’t like this holiday? Hard to believe, right?


And so, instead of stressing to find an outfit in the few post-Christmas why-did-I-eat-so-much-cheese? days, I rummaged into the very back of my closet — I swear I was getting close to Narnia I was so far in there — and pulled out an old dress that I’ve never worn but happens to have all the things I look for in a New Year’s Eve frock.

Sequins? Check. Feathers? Check. Short hemline? Check.  And then there were  check boxes that I didn’t even know existed! Lace? Check! Cleavage flattering? Cha-heck! Comfortable for dancing? Checkity check check!


You can call me superficial, but now that I have my outfit sorted out, I’m not as concerned about whether this New Year’s Eve is a total bust. If I fall asleep before midnight, so be it — at least my feathers looked good. If I trip and fall on the dance floor, who cares? At least my sequins sparkled under the spinning disco ball. If I get lipstick all over my face, that’s fine. My boobs are the focal point here, anyway. You see sometimes, I think, it really is all about the outfit. Goodness knows I’m not going to have a good time if I hate what I’m wearing. But maybe that’s just me, in which case, as I said, feel free to call me superficial.


Cynthia Rowley dress | Boy. by Band of Outsiders blazer | Moschino heels | Lucky Star necklace | Zara clutch | Cartier ring
// photos by Emily Malan

Because it’s Friday: ‘Tis the Season

December 20, 2013


“My stomach looks like a lowercase b.”

“I ate the cookies like they were carrots.”

“Maybe I should put down this burrata.”

“I’m losing sight of my ribcage.”

“Oh, I’m fat, there’s no getting past it.”

What do all of these self-deprecating statements have in common with one another, you ask? They’re all quotes from the mouths of me, my friends, and family in the past seven days. The holiday season is here and our waistlines are so kind to remind us.

If I look back a few days and forward a week, I see a calendar that is full of hors d’oeuvre cocktail parties and dinners. I see me making valiant efforts to go to the gym so that maybe I can enjoy at least one of the eight upcoming cheese plates guilt free. I see my scale phobia grow tenfold. But in the midst of seeing the button of my pants flying off, I also see laughter. I see family time and hanging out with old friends. I see decorating the Christmas tree with my mom. I see celebrating those last final hours of 2013 with some of my closest friends. The holiday season is here indeed, and it is wonderful.

But let’s get back to the eating, shall we?

While talking with my friend about my rapidly growing fupa the other day, she told me to,”Lock it up,” and rightfully so. “It’s the holidays,” she continued, “We’re all in this together.” And that’s when I finally relaxed. The Holiday 8 — aka the month long period of excessive eating and inevitable weight gain — is something we all experience, or at least it is in my family and friend circle. And maybe this makes me a bad person (sorry, Santa), but I take comfort in knowing that I’m not alone when I zip up my skirt and find that it’s a wee bit tighter than it was just a few weeks ago.

So should you find yourself cursing your mirror or breaking out the elastic waistband or smashing your scale with the rolling pin you used to make a double batch of sugar cookies, rejoice in knowing that I’m right there with you (no, not literally, because that would just be creepy). My pants are feeling tighter. My jackets a little snug. Even my socks seem to have stretched out. But you know what? I’m going to go and enjoy a slice of Bouche de Noël because it’s the holidays and that’s what they’re (kind of) about.

Après Ski

December 19, 2013


It’s come to my attention that people do this thing called skiing. Though I’ve tried the sport once, maybe twice, my ex-ballerina tendencies had me turning my skis out into first position instead of in like the shape of a slice of pizza to bring myself to a full stop. As you can imagine, this led to me falling hard on my butt on more than one occasion, and since I was around the stubborn age of seven, maybe eight, I decided to stop and take up shop in the lodge with a steaming mug of hot cocoa. I haven’t worn a pair of skis since — though 20 years later I’m not opposed to the idea, especially the part involving a post-ski lodge hangout.

While sitting in the doctor’s office Monday morning, I couldn’t help but listen to two college girls fussing over what they were going to wear during their winter break, après ski. “I want to be comfortable but like look cute at the same time,” one of them said. “I know, I think I’m just going to bring a bunch of leggings and my Northface,” said the other. Halt. Stop. What? Leggings and a Northface? Sacrebleu!  I didn’t dare chime in and tell them they had better options — I hate when people do that — but it did get me thinking about what I might wear were I ever to find myself in an “après ski” situation.


I began by considering the requirements as dictated by Girl #1: comfortable and cute. This obviously meant something spandexy — like Girl #2′s suggested leggings — on the bottom. But with so many elastic waistbands on the market today, why be boring with a standard pair of cotton leggings when you can wear something leather and get the same roomy benefits? Next I approached my top. I find few things more comfortable than a soft, worn in t-shirt, but since we’re talking snow here, I needed something warm too. I opted for a chunky-knit cardigan which offers a bit more breathability than your standard pullover — a required credential if you happen to be roasting in front of the fire place.


After that it was all about the accoutrements, and given Tuesday’s post, it should come as no surprise that I went for something ultra furry. Since ski apparel is usually waterproof and puffy, I decided to switch things up with an oversize shearling coat that can easily double as a blanket for two. To top off the entire look and amp up the glam or should I say “cute” factor, I added a pair of mirrored aviators which I consider to be the most universally flattering and glamorous set of shades.

Now, I have no intentions of going skiing anytime soon — in fact I’m leaving snowy NYC for foggy San Francisco tomorrow. But were I to find myself in a post-ski hang session, this is what I would wear. It’s also what I would wear on a cold Monday in Union Square, which is exactly where Emily and I took these photos. End scene.


Searle shearling coat | Topshop cardigan & t-shirt | Paige leather leggings | Doc Marten’s boots | YSL ‘Muse’ bag | Max Mara scarf | Ray-Ban aviators
// photos by Emily Malan