I’ve been putting off writing this post — writing any post — because, honestly, I wasn’t sure how to write it. And I didn’t feel like I could just skip it or gloss over my egregious absence.
I’ve been dark for a while. I decided long ago (never to live in anyone’s shadow…wait, focus, Justine…) that I wouldn’t apologize for gaps in posting because, gosh darnit, it’s my life, and if I want to live it instead of writing about it, that’s my prerogative.
But this wasn’t me being too busy to write. This was me going dark. In a lot of ways.
In short, I’ve been depressed. In the interest of not over-inflating things, I’m okay. I know other people deal with much more extreme versions of depression. Mine is a cyclical thing that I can usually anticipate with the days getting shorter and the weather getting colder. For me, depression comes in the form of exacerbated insecurities, claustrophobic feelings of being trapped, and feeling unloveable. It typically lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month, but this time it stretched over two months time, and that messed with my head. I felt like it would never end.
So, yeah, it’s a real trip.
And when feeling like holding my head just barely above water is just about all I can do, things like blogging about home decor and recipes and funny little things about my day aren’t even in the realm of possibility.
But what am I telling you for? If you’ve ever experienced depression (and I believe most people have and do), you already know.
Again, though, I’m fine. I only share this because, well, it felt dishonest not to. But I honestly feel like I’m finally on the other side of it — we’re on our way up out of the valley; the light is clearly visible. I’ll be returning to your regularly scheduled home decor and recipes and funny things about my day now.
But I wanted to say it. I wanted to share it. Because, odds are, you are feeling that way or have felt that way or will feel that way someday too. And you’re not alone. And it’s important that we all know that.
I want to be upfront about something: When crop tops came back as a thing, I was not pleased.
I was already well into my mid-twenties, meaning I was (in my opinion) about half a decade too old to bare my belly anywhere but at the pool.
I know that sounds ageist. And maybe it is. But, to be real, I was mostly just uncomfortable with the idea of anyone walking around with their belly out. THIS ISN’T A CHRISTINA AGUILERA VIDEO CIRCA 1999.
But then…then I saw a reality show where a woman wore a crop top with a high-waisted full skirt. And DANG if I didn’t think it was the cutest thing I had ever seen — even if I could see her belly button.
What I’m saying is, I’ve come around a bit to the idea. I guess. I’m trying to be open minded. I’m not trying to be all let-me-tell-you-what-you-can-wear-because-I-say-so. But while even I am guilty of wearing a belly-baring crop top in recent memory (only twice, I swear!), the fact remains that a top that’s cropped is not always going to be appropriate for whatever you’ve got going on that day, especially now that the weather is (finally) cooling down.
So what’s a girl to do if she falls for a top that her parents wouldn’t approve of? (Come on; you know crop tops are the bad boys of women’s wear.) Or, more likely, she’s worried about catching a chill? Here are three ways to wear your crop top this fall.
By turning your maxi skirt into a tea-length number
I have this coral-colored maxi skirts that, to be honest, is a bit too long. The bottom tends to drag on the ground when I wear it with flats, which means I don’t wear it that often.
I also have this striped crop top I bought for a party years ago. I think you see where I’m going with this.
Yes, my first tip is: Hike up that skirt! It helps that this skirt has an elastic waistline, so I can wear it on different parts of my torso. If you’re feeling bolder, you could even pull down the skirt to flash an inch or two of skin (the scandal!) — the demure skirt length will keep the whole look in check.
Gratuitous Viv pic!
By layering it over a maxi dress
Maxi dresses are another style staple that tend to get shut away in the closet when temperatures dip. But that’s no reason why you can’t keep wearing them in the fall — you just need the right accoutrements to warm up the look.
Cue the perfect maxi topper: the floaty crop top. This light blue top of mine is almost a regular length shirt, but the loose hem means you tummy could be flashed if the right breeze comes along. By layering a maxi under it, both pieces are instantly seasonally appropriate.
By wearing it with a high-waisted pencil skirt
The same way I love high-low fashion combos, I love the idea of pairing something a bit risque with something super modest (see the aforementioned crop top with the ladylike skirt on the reality show). This is my version of that. I bought both these pieces at Nordstrom Rack, but the skirt actually started out as a regular pencil skirt. The store only had one size left, and it was about two sizes to big for me. Fortunately, they offered super reasonable tailoring, and, in a flash of inspiration, I decided to have them turn it into a high-waisted midi-length pencil skirt that would pair perfectly with this shirt. The best part? No crunches required.
Be honest: Do you love the crop — or love to hate it? If you’re a crop owner, how do you wear yours when it gets colder?
This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.
I think one of the easiest ways to make any outfit look a little more pulled together is to add another layer.
Y’all know how much I love my basic white T and jeans, but I could just as easily wear that outfit to a job interview or a nice dinner out if I threw on a blazer or even a killer scarf and hat. The point is: layers mean business. And they’re just the ticket to make an outfit look a little more intentional.
The problem is, it’s still hot out there, you guys. Like, blazing. So even though my favorite style season is upon us, I can’t just throw on a sweater and boots and pretend that I won’t sweat to death.
Enter the vest.
I know, I know; you just hear that word and think of this. I know I do. But irregardless (if you don’t get that joke, we can’t be friends), I actually like vests in real life. And when you’re staring a steamy autumn in the face, they are the perfect solution to layers that won’t give you heat exhaustion.
Here are the three vests I’ll be rocking this fall (no matter what Regina George thinks).
The Puffer Vest
Does the puffer vest ever really go out of style? I hope not. The best thing about these fluffy little suckers is that you can wear them through winter, and they look just as good with a sweater and pencil skirt as they do with a button down, statement necklace, and jeans.
The Denim Vest
I’ll be real: No one was more surprised than me when the denim vest made a comeback. The last time I wore one, I’m pretty sure my biggest concern was where I had left my social studies homework and what time is Even Stevens on? But the only secret to pulling off a denim vest is to wear it in the same context you would a jean jacket. The only difference? Easy-breezy arms. It’s also a great way to transition spaghetti-strapped maxi dresses into cooler temps during those last few weeks of summer.
The Drape-y Olive Vest
Olives are actually one of the only two foods I hate, but when it comes to the color, I dig it. I would literally wear this color every day if I didn’t want to confuse people into thinking I think I’m an actual member of the armed forces. Olive is essentially fall’s answer to the khaki of summer, and I for one am totally into it — especially considering how perfectly it pairs with my 90-percent-black-and-white wardrobe. This drape-y cotton vest adds a bit of coziness to everything from summer dresses leggings and long-sleeved T’s.
So come on now…you don’t think ALL vests are disgusting, right?
Plus, did you catch my other favorite fall accessory?
Lately, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with this wood watch from JORD. Mine is the Fieldcrest Series watch in zebrawood and maple, and it fits into my life the way a hand-hewn farm table fits into every gorgeous dining room you see on Pinterest right now. The color is neutral enough to match everything, but I love the actual woodgrain in the band and face — and how it makes my watch subtly unique from every other one in the series.
Here are a few more close-ups of that little beauty:
Interested in getting your own? Shop their entire women’s line here.*
Plus, for a limited time JORD is giving away a $75 credit for their products! Enter here — you get a $20 credit just for entering. Giveaway ends September 25th.
*Affiliate links used
To those of you who are getting a little bit tired of my sunshine-y, “pregnancy is great and easy!” attitude, I have good news: Things are starting to get a little uncomfortable around here.
I have to admit, I still don’t really feel like I should complain all that much. All in all, I really have enjoyed being pregnant. So far, I would not be scared to do this again.
But, it has to be said, people aren’t kidding when they say the end of pregnancy isn’t all rainbows and puppies.
After months of wishing and hoping for my belly to actually resemble that of a pregnant woman, I’m getting my wish — and then some. So far, I’ve got a perfectly manageable soccer ball-sized bump. But I’ve also got two and a half more months to go. And if her activity level is any indication, the little miss doesn’t show any signs of slowing down on development.
Adios, seeing my toes. I barely knew ye.
Speaking of that activity level. Joey and I apparently knew what we were doing when we settled on the name Vivian (which means “vivacious or full of life”). This girl boogies for hours at a time, and she pretty much stages her own Spring Spectacular every evening while I’m resting on the couch. (Complete with a lot of high-kicks and jazz hands, natch.)
Fortunately, while it’s sometimes a little surprising to get a jab in the gut from a pint-sized fist, I wouldn’t trade those pokes and prods for anything. I think the kicking will be what I miss most about pregnancy. (That and the fact that in vitro Vivi never talks back.)
Of course, talk to me again in another month and we’ll see if I’m still charmed.
Another pregnancy thing that isn’t just a bit in “Father of the Bride Part II”? Pregnant ladies are hot.
That’s with one T, as in temperature-wise. (Though I like to think my husband still thinks I’m pretty cute.)
Normally, I’m the girl who always has to bring a sweater and shivers through even the sunniest 60-degree day. Joey and I regularly debate about the definition of what is cold because anything about 70 makes him sweat.
Well, babe, I’m right there with you these days.
And, of course, I managed to get pregnant just in time for my third trimester to coincide with the hottest months of the year in New York. August is going to be brutal, folks.
So things are a little uncomfortable these days. And hot. And wiggly. But for now, I’m just trying to dress comfortably, drink loads of water, and enjoy it as much as I can.
Any tips and tricks from other mommas for surviving the summer whilst pregnant?
I’ve noticed a few bloggers making bucket lists for the seasons. You’ve probably seen them: In the summer, they want to go to the beach, try surfing, throw a BBQ. In the fall, they want to make s’mores, go camping, wear plaid, etc.
1. Go apple picking.
2. Make an apple crisp.
3. Go camping.
4. Hike a trail through fall leaves.
5. Drink apple cider.
You may notice a propensity for the outdoors and, well, eating. I am who I am.
And what a coincidence, I’ve already checked off three of those things. Last Friday, Joey, Boges, a few of our friends, and I went apple picking at an orchard upstate.
Bogey clearly loved it most of all, but Joey and I also had a great time picking our own apples and drinking cider. (Hello, Bucket List Items #1 and #5!)
Last night, I decided to check off item #2 by making apple crisp for the first time evah. Here’s the recipe I used, in case you have your own list to tackle this season. Bonus: It’s also gluten free as long as you use gluten-free oats.
Whiskey Pecan Apple Crisp
(gently modified from this recipe)
For the filling:
6-7 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the topping:
1 cup hazelnut flour
1 cup gluten-free whole oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the garnish:
Cinnamon Whiskey (I used Fireball)
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream (optional…but recommended)
Step One: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Step Two: Combine the apples, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 3 tablespoons honey, and lemon juice. Stir until apples are coated evenly.
Step Three: In a separate bowl, whisk the hazelnut flour, oats, salt, remaining cinnamon, and pecans.
Step Four: Use a fork or your fingers to mix in the remaining honey and butter until the topping has a crumbly consistency.
Step Five: Pour apples into two 9-inch pie dishes or baking dishes. Cover with the crumble topping.
Step Six: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Step Seven: Spoon half a cup to one cup of crisp into a bowl while still warm. Drizzle with 1 oz of the cinnamon whiskey. Top with ice cream, whipped cream, and cinnamon as desired. Enjoy!
I love summer, but I don’t think it could ever be my favorite season. Mostly because, while it is packed with loads of fun things to do, it always comes with a certain amount of stress.
A side effect of being a planner is that, often times, I tend to overplan my life. Besides social engagements, I also plan my workouts, when I clean my apartment, when I run errands, and virtually all of my recreation. (Yes, I have actually set aside time in my calendar for “chilling out.” I have a problem, I know.)
Lately, I feel like my calendar is stuffed to the brim, and when a friend asks if I can hang, I’m wracked with guilt when I can’t find a time slot. This only ever seems to happen to me in the summer time.
Plus, everything feels more stressful when you’re sweating out an 85-degree day, amiright?
When I started writing this post, I had the idea that I was going to commit to more relaxation — less planning. But there’s a part of me that resists that reasoning. After all, I’m young and only have a few serious obligations in life (AKA, no children yet). Shouldn’t this be the time that I cram my schedule with the things I enjoy doing? Because I do enjoy all of my plans when they’re happening. And if everything is getting done, is there really any harm in feeling busy?
Maybe it’s the previously mentioned guilt that is throwing a wrench in the machinery. It’s probably not possible to do everything for everyone, no matter how much I wish I could.
So basically, this is a story of me being a good little Midwestern girl who wants to please everyone.
Sigh. I’m such a cliche.
I heard a quote on a show one time that was basically: “You need to change your dialogue. Instead of ‘I’m so overwhelmed,’ say, ‘My cup runneth over.'” So essentially, I need to think positively about the fact that I’m busy to make it easier to handle.
And wait patiently for fall.
Is there a season where you feel like you’re just barely keeping it together? Would you rather overfill your life with happy things or risk missing out but keep your sanity?