Winter Whites and Gale Force Winds

I recently went to NYFW (read: was in NYC during Fashion Week) because my best friend was in town for a children’s clothing expo.  It just so happens that my best friend is also a professional photographer. So I put on the outfit I’ve been dreaming up since the moment I knew I would be within 100 miles of NYC during fashion week, and dragged her down to Battery Park before thrusting my camera into her hands.

On our way back to our hotel via Korean food, we happened upon an uncovered Subway grate that simulated gale force winds. Since Christa and I become completely blind to social norms when we are together, she pulled out the camera, adjusted the shutter speed, and told me to back up and walk over the grate again. And again. And again. Together we created this effortless looking Marilyn Monroe sequence.

All of these photos were taken in one walk-through because Christa is #goals. The repeats were so that we could capture a boomerang! #millenials

I left this experience with a newfound respect for the calm that Marilyn Monroe portrayed in this situation.  Nothing about this scenario is chill.

Christa and I were in the city together for 4 days and left the camera behind on our other adventures.  I think it’s the first time that we’ve hung out – just the two of us – since 8th grade.  And it was DIVINE!  Highlights include, but are not limited to:

  • seeing Wicked for the first time
  • taking a pedicab for the first time
  • going to Stand Up NY
  • eating all.the.food (pastries, cookie dough, milk bar, sushi, Korean BBQ…)
  • and staying up way too late to talk about nothing and everything every single night.

Outfit details

Headband: Lysande
Teal coat: Talbots via the Charlottesville Goodwill
Denim jacket: Express via the Charlottesville Goodwill
Poppy shirt: no name via my mom’s closet
Bag: LYDC via Rethreads in Charlottesville
White dress: Banana Republic (retail)
Shoes: Naturalizer (retail)


One more thing!

I am over-the-moon-and-beyond THRILLED to say that I was featured on DC Goodwill Fashionista’s Blog this past Friday.  You can read the post here and please be sure to follow her on social media!

I AM (the) MOANA (of thrift shopping)!

In the same way that Moana comes from voyagers, I come from dumpster divers. My Great Granny Florence would go “shopping” at the dumpsters in Alexandria, VA and bring home any and every item that was in reasonable and recognizable condition. My first jewelry box was a mini wooden wardrobe-style contraption (like, 11 inches tall) that she rescued from one such dumpster. It made.my.life. and I still have it.  The things she didn’t gift or use for herself, she cleaned, laundered, and donated to the Goodwill. Amazing, right?!

Florence was a thrifty caretaker which might have come from raising six children by herself during WWII and having to stretch every resource as far as she possibly could.  It also could have just been her nature.  It’s surprising – or maybe not? – that her daughter (my dad’s mom) was the exact opposite, indulging in the finest clothes, etc. Well, I always loved the excitement and passion that I saw on Great Granny’s face when she showed us the treasures that she found and imagined the ways that they would be used in their next life.  As I grew up, learned about the world, and was responsible for buying my own clothes, I quickly realized that thrift shopping was made for me: I can thrift clothes that are higher quality than those I could afford new, and I get a warm gushy feeling inside from saving someone else’s well-loved items from going into a landfill. And when I want to update my wardrobe? I can take the high quality, well-loved pieces back to a Goodwill for their next journey!

I went shopping last week for the first time in a li’l while and it was a smashing success! I hit up the fancy Goodwill (in Westport, CT) with the goal of tackling the pants situation. Pants and I have a thing. But y’all it paid off! $60 later and this was my haul.

ThriftFinds
Yes, I took individual photos of each item. And yes, I learned adobe photoshop so that I could make this collage. #goals #motivation #marketableskills #someoneplzhireme Clockwise from top left: Jeanne Pierre cotton brick red sweater (obsessed with the texture); Ann Taylor Loft black and white geometric sweater shirt; Abercrombie&Fitch pink crop sweater with moose detail (moose’s have my heart); Levi’s distressed, cropped denim; Talbot’s cropped blue pants; plaid sweater with pink stripe from unknown brand.

The Levi’s were $25 which is more than I’ve spent on a single item of clothing in a really long time.* But they made me feel SO GOOD that I decided to go for it. I can’t explain it. I haven’t worn an outfit this deliberately shapeless in a long time but something about The Pants feels absolutely magical. I love the rise, I love the wash, and there’s a certain other je ne sais quois that puts some extra pep in my step.

Denim and sweater from Westport Goodwill, thrifted teal, Talbot’s peacoat from Charlottesville Goodwill, white headscarf from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com, shoes by Naturalizer via Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale.

The Talbot’s pants were $11.99. I saw the shade of blue and immediately recognized them as being the match to a Talbot’s skirt I thrifted about 5 years ago in Charlottesville. It was the first skirt I bought in my adult life that fit my curves in all the right places so I was thrilled to see a matching pair of pants!

The bears and I had a post-nap dance party. Everything piece of this outfit brings me intense joy.
Grand Central Terminal
My dear friend Hannah and me in the Grand Central Terminal after a restaurant week double date with our favorite people. I’m wearing my new fave Talbot’s pants.  (Hannah’s style has always been #goals for me!)

Moral of the story? Go in with a goal. Y’all I tried on 75% of the pants that were in the Goodwill. And 99.99% of those fit like a joke. But I was so excited about the two pairs I bought that I wore them the same day I bought them and without laundering them. *gasp* And those baggy Levi’s and that red sweater? I wore them 3 days in a row without a second thought! If the clothes don’t make me want to dance (I had a good 45 minute post-shopping-nap dance party) then they don’t come home with me.

IMG_9434
The headscarves are, of course, from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com. I hope that people pass my scarves down for generations the way that I pass on my favorite clothes and accessories!

*Note: All of my shoes – except for a pair of steel toe cowboy boots that I bought at a thrift store in Laramie, Wyoming – come from retail stores. I wear a women’s 12.5 which I can’t reliably thrift.

My Word of the Year

Last Year

2017 was a year of adventure and abundant creativity, but also one of intense anger, confusion, and betrayal.  My New Year’s Resolution was to reduce food waste and hell if that didn’t fade out of view by the second grocery shopping trip of January.

And then narcolepsy. I tried to fight against my labels but spiraled into denial when I compared myself, my accomplishments, and my potential to that of a fictitious non-narcoleptic version of myself.  Spoiler alert: she has better time management skills, organizational skills, more wakefulness, and OH YEAH! She doesn’t exist.  I felt betrayed by the medical profession and the three neurologists who gave me a full workup and declared that I was perfectly healthy.  I’ve fantasized about dropping burning piles of poo on the doorsteps of many doctors; not just those three neurologists, but also the know-it-all general practitioners, allergists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. who didn’t have the guts to say “Something’s wrong, but I don’t know the answer.”  Apparently I still have some anger to work through.

The Diagnosis threw me into an identity crisis and I think that crisis ironically came from me realizing that I knew more about myself than I thought I did.  I was finally able to look at my narrative about myself and see clearly the passages that others had added.  I wasn’t lazy or unmotivated or stupid.  I was clinically sleepy beyond reason which is what my body had been telling me and what I had been telling the doctors.  Over the years I let them convince me that I was wrong, and now, with The Diagnosis in hand, I had control.  For the first time in my life I let my creativity take the reigns and I launched an accessories brand – sleep&sparkle – that challenged me in ways that I hadn’t been challenged before, but also used many of my strengths and fed a passion for sartorial expression which I kept deep inside of me as soon as I graduated from high school.  Somehow, The Diagnosis put me in touch with the deepest parts of myself and empowered me to believe that I deserved to be happy and to create a life doing something that I loved.  My husband and grandma had been telling me this for years, but until The Diagnosis, their words might as well have been in a foreign language.

This Year

In 2018 I’m ditching the resolutions and opting for a WORD.  A word that will be the lens through which I filter my thoughts and actions.  A word that will push me outside of my comfort zone while also pushing me in the direction I want to go.  My word for 2018 is EMBRACE.  I fought it for weeks in December until I finally caved and realized that my resistance was a serious indicator of how much I needed this word.  I was hoping for something bigger that set off fireworks and felt exceptional like BRAVE or FIERCE or PRESENT or INQUISITIVE, but I kept coming back to my frustration with my sleepiness, my inability to accept good things that were happening to me and because of me, and my fear that I would always be angry and bitter about The FUCKING Diagnosis.

“Why am I so mean to myself? Why can’t I accept who I am, what I am, how I am?  Why can’t I EMBRACE this beautiful thing called life that I’m working so hard to make but can’t seem to appreciate?”  Hence, EMBRACE.

The work of this year is to EMBRACE all of these things and so much more.  It is to EMBRACE my weaknesses and failures but even more importantly my strengths and successes.  It is to EMBRACE my anger and bitterness while also EMBRACING my creativity, my enthusiasm, and that I am more than my story and my circumstances.  It is to EMBRACE the opportunities and the relationships that make my heart happy.  It is to EMBRACE me, the way that my grandma and husband did years ago.

img_3858.jpg

Bonne année, my friends!


What are your resolutions, words, ideas, as you enter 2018?  Or do you opt for nothing at all?

Latest and Favorite-est Thrift Store Find

Okay y’all.  If you live in Fairfield County area, have I got a thrift store for you! I recently went to the Westport Goodwill for the first time and it’s like the Whole Foods of Goodwill’s.  I walked away with some seriously amazing finds that deserve their own posts later on.  But I’ve been living in this 3/4 length sleeve blue and white knit Boden sweater that I picked up because it’s cozy, the sleeve length and overall length is perfect for my body type, and the swing sleeves make me feel elegant when I’m wearing denim that’s a bit too small and 12 year old Uggs that are deteriorating from salt exposure.  Speaking of the Uggs, I used to have a tough time (emotionally) mixing similar textures – like two furs, two leathers, two denims, etc – but I’ve recently decided that more is more, hence the faux fur sleep&sparkle headwrap and the fur collar on the thrifted coat (not pictured) that I wore to the grocery store to stock up on foods and stuffs and foodstuffs to get us through this bomb cyclone.

What are your latest and favorite-ist thrifting finds? What have you been living in this winter, thrifted or otherwise?


Outfit Details

Shoes: Uggs (retail)
Denim: Madewell (retail)
Sweater: Boden (thrifted)
Accessories include my faux fur head wrap from sleep&sparkle, my Project Sleep awareness bracelet, a pink beaded bracelet given to me by a friend, a narrow cuff that stays “STAY IN YOUR MAGIC” from a family friend for my wedding, and my new camera.

Half Birthday

SLEEP&SPARKLE is my life right now. I’m trying to build my brand and grow my company into something fabulous. I’ve cut down on writing over here because I worry that posts about work will be perceived as all self-promotion-y. Where do these voices come from? Who says that? It finally occurred to me (I can be dense sometimes) that if someone hates that I’m writing about building my business they can unfollow me! #revelation

So let’s get on with it!

SLEEP&SPARKLE turned 6 months old yesterday! YESSS! I launched the website on June 5. Life is so good right now. I can’t believe that I’m a person with narcolepsy AND I’m doing something I love. While I didn’t have a diagnosis until this year, I’ve fought sleepiness (and related symptoms) ever since I can remember. I battled to keep them from dictating my life but they did, and until I started Xyrem, I couldn’t envision a future where I would be able to make a living doing something that I love, something that is so stimulating, so creative, so engaging, and so all encompassing. Maybe “make a living” is way too generous a phrase at this point in my company’s life. But I see a path forward for the first time ever. And to be honest, I can see a LOT of paths forward! Whether sleep&sparkle is a success or falls flat, I know that I’m going to be okay.

Happy half birthday to me and SLEEP&SPARKLE!