The Weight

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

i-phone photo: Joshua Franzos

"Take a load off fanny, take a load for free."

Even the music I was listening to was mocking me, cuz that's what I needed to do. Take a load right off the fanny. The Weight, as in my weight gain, was the result of a convergence of things. Giving up amphetamines. Getting a puppy that needed to get up 2-3 X a night and then skipping the gym in the morning because I was too exhausted. Also, not altering my food or alcohol intake to account for less drugs and activity. After a couple months of this, I gained some weight. TBH I didn't really notice it until my pants began to hurt me. But the real slap in the face was when a nurse weighed me and the scale was on an upwardly mobile path towards 10 stone. (I'll let you google that if you really want to know, but since the goal of this blog post is NOT to get hung up on numbers,  maybe you shouldn't and should just keep reading).

Except for doctor visits, I do not weigh myself because it makes me crazy. It is easy for me to obsess. I'm an artist so it's a little weird for me to obsess over a number when I really despise all numbers, but I do. But I find that body weight numbers often don't give us the whole story. It doesn't tell you your fat to muscle ratio for one. But I tell you all this, because I want to peel back the fashion blog facade a little and be more real around here. The more personal I get, the more you, dear reader, seem to relate or at least view me as the imperfect human that I very much am. As a writer, my goal is to create multi-dimensional characters on the page and I feel like I should do more of that around here. I find myself, a blog reader as well, growing weary of everything being happy and perfect and on trend all the goddam time. I prefer our relationship to be one of mutual respect for one another rather than one-sided admiration.There are real people behind fashion blogs. I'd like see more of them and be advertised to a little less. So I thought I'd apply my own desires for other people's blogs to my own blog. Y'know, to show that I'm more than just a pretty face with pretty clothes. I swear. I drink. I don't have magical metabolism.

I've been in good shape for the past ten years. The best in my life, thanks to probably three things. Amphetamines. A gluten free diet. Working out 4-5 times a week. But I wasn't always in great shape. I was in the worst shape and in the worst mental head space right after my father died (17) until I was about 26. Most females are or have been in that toxic headspace at some point in their lives. The whole bitch of the matter is you don't even have to be in bad shape to have a poor body image!

Back when I had some abs. photo credit: Joshua Franzos

I was even a professional model with agencies in Michigan and New York during that period. Still no. Thought I wasn't thin enough. Most of us aren't explicitly taught to inhabit as little space as possible, but as females we tend to suck that message right up, almost osmotically. Be thin. Weigh as little as possible. Value what our bodies look like over what they can do. Don't even get me started on undervaluing the feminine mind. Ugh.

But then something changed. Maybe it had something to do with the onset of my thirties. Or maybe because I made a lot of brazen personnel and vocational changes so that I'm actually happy in love, happy in what I'm doing, and therefore, happy in body and my own skin. I don't know. But I do know that I'm done with the poor body image chapter of my life. I closed the door on that sadistic squatter in my head a very long time ago. But I tell you, almost two months ago, I looked at Doctor's office scale and I could swear that I heard her scratching at the door.

It would be easy to obsess over a number. But let's. just. not. I'm simply not going to look in the mirror and beat myself up or call myself awful names anymore. What do we hope to accomplish with that? Do we hope to motivate ourselves by shaming ourselves into action? How often does that even work? You wouldn't tolerate anyone else speaking to you like that, so why do it to yourself?


I decided that I couldn't afford to buy all new pants. I decided that I need to love, respect, and be patient with myself, but tired or not, I needed to move because moving my body and being active makes me feel like ME in the head. That's most important. I also like to surprise myself with my own strength and agility. But also, I really wanted my pants to stop being a pain in the ass and stomach and thighs. Life gets away from you sometimes. You're putting out one fire only to have two others spring up. It happens to the best of us, but your physical and mental health is so important and you don't even realize how good you have it until the moment you don't. Make it a priority and snap it back into focus.

So part of this blog is telling you about things or products that I've found or picked up that add style, joy, value, or ease to my life. I have to admit, given my recent state of affairs, I recently jumped at a perfectly timed ad in my instagram feed. It was for Kayla Itsines' BBG (Bikini Body Guide) via the Sweat App. I needed a kindly kick in the pants, so I did about five minutes of "research" before I just decided to commit to a one week free trial.  I found that I really liked the challenging excercises and the app function during my free trial. What I like the most about it is, I don't have to think or plan anything, just do. It's $20/month and it's a great value. It's less than one session with a personal trainer, but it's like having a personal trainer in your pocket every day. There's even some food plan stuff that I don't even utilize. (This is not sponsored by the way, I'm just loving on this app). 
BBG encourages photos to track your progress. (You don't have to share if you don't want)

I've been doing the workouts for 7 weeks now. I can't tell you that I lost weight. (as you know I don't weigh myself). Someone commented on my arms last week. And I am seeing some attractive definition in my muscles elswhere. I suspect I may have even gained some muscle weight. HOWEVER, the moral of the story is after 7 weeks my pants fit again. My pants fit again and I didn't have to emotionally abuse myself. I'm eager to see how I feel and look as I continue this BBG journey. If you're in the same boat as me, I just want to encourage you to try and set the scale aside and focus more on how your clothes fit. It's less crazy making.

Look. I know you want it to, but nothing truly great happens overnight. Results will come.You are a piece of art. A work in progress, honey. So be patient. Be kind to yourself. Do the work and trust the process. Overthink everything else in your life, but not exercise. Never overthink exercise. I know it sounds trite, to say so because it's a brand slogan, but I honestly can't say it any better or more simply than, just do it.  Just do it and love yourself and those around you.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

The Farewell Tour

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

vintage skirt, leopard shirt, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

In my quest for personal style, true, selfish, unadulterated personal style, I've had to acknowledge and confront things about myself and my closet. I realized that there are pieces of clothing that I only hold onto out of some sort of sentimental duty. 

mixing prints, leopard print and sequins, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

Meryl Franzos, mixing prints, leopard and sequins
photo: Joshua Franzos

I hate the word duty. It sounds like a dirty yoke when you're talking about your wardrobe. But screech the hangers back and there's the biggest skeleton in my closet. My mother's wedding dress. White, dotted swiss with bell sleeves. The kind that makes your heart ache for a California backyard wedding in the seventies, where your guests will later jump in the kidney-shaped pool. And for sunshine and a daisy flower crown. And for the breeze blowing through the window of your Mom's girlhood bedroom rustling the curling Snoopy posters on the wall.

God, if I know anything, I know what I am not. 

I am not a free loving bohemian. I am too...hardened and deliberate, to be that brand of carefree. I am most certainly not going to San Francisco with flowers in my hair, or ever wearing my mother's wedding dress. There are certain things I can't say. Make love. Certain things I can't wear. Boho. Bows. Babydolls. But it doesn't mean I don't feel it or appreciate differences. Never will you find a more conditionally unromantic, hopeless romantic.

"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." - Jane Austen, Emma

But I can't bring myself to drop my mother's wedding dress off at Goodwill. The thought of it makes me ill. The thought of a stranger wearing it makes me feel like a jealous lover, but on the same hand, there is no place for it in my life. I don't want to hold onto things that don't do. don't see. don't serve.

So where does that leave me and the dress? an impasse.

I thought about walking out into the Peconic bay with the gown in my arms and holding the ballooning white fabric under. The gentle fringe of the dots would waver and flutter like eyelashes when I plunge it down down down, into the dirty blue water. Then when the burbling stopped and everything fell silent and still, I'd let the tide carry it out to sea like an exhausted cotton Edna Pontellier. 

I thought about it. Plotted it. Decided on it. Then I remembered that I had a sister.

Mom's wedding dress, you want it?
I texted.

(Fortunately she does and there will be no wedding dresses harmed.) 

photo: Joshua Franzos
It doesn't exactly stop at the wedding dress though. There are the guilty hand-me downs (like this skirt pictured here). The stuff that doesn't fit. The stuff you paid a ton of money for, but never wore. Or wore once. And there's the clothing that you used to love, but have slowly grown away from like a first marriage, where you got married too young, but you keep trying to make it work for six years longer than you should. 

Meryl Franzos, leopard oxford shirt
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos
buckle heels
photo: Joshua Franzos

Stuff works its way into us and our lives, almost to the point that we develop imaginary relationships with it. For awhile I got really attached to things, because my people kept dying. I even managed to find a job where I dealt with more things than people. It was easier, I thought, to distance myself. As if proximity, physically and emotionally would give me cover when another life detonates. Well it's not true. You're left with nothing, but the shrapnel of stuff and regret. So you hold onto the stuff and it adds up and then you end up feeling like the one that is drowning. Even when you're gasping, it's still hard to let go.

mixing prints, Meryl Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos
Perhaps I'm afraid I'll lose my edge if I take away the things that make me crazy...crazy enough to contemplate an inanimate object's homocide. So here's me documenting the angst. I dropped this hand-me down skirt off at Goodwill last week (along with a bunch of other stuff). Here's me acknowledging the love had and the love lost. I used to love the challenge of mixing prints, now I'd rather eschew them. Here's me acknowledging the involuntary luxury I have of raging against an object instead of person that might've been hurt by my actions and words. I'm still angry that my parents are gone. Angry at them for my selfish benefit. For my sister's. For the benefit of any grandchildren I might've supplied them with. You should've been here. And I should've been there. Together we were neither here nor there.

It's been almost five years since I left a job as an appraiser in the auction world. The entire seven years I was there, I never broke a thing until about a month before I left.  A light bulb blew out and I dropped and broke a crystal vase in the dark basement of decommissioned church.When I bent over to clean up the largest chunk of glass, I sliced my finger open on a larger piece of lead crystal lurking in the shadows. Part of the glass snapped off within my index finger. I didn't go to the ER, but probably should've. I didn't have healthcare so I cleaned it up myself. It bled for days. Later I realized that I still had a small chunk of crystal healed up inside my flesh.
I once tried to cut it out, but it's in there too deep. It's there to stay and a scar alters the fingerprint I was born with.

photo: Joshua Franzos
 I will literally always carry my old work with me. Just as I will carry around the memories of my parents whether I have an item of theirs or not. I have more memories in the tip of my finger than...than...whatever. Let's not assign value at this point. Just this. I'm saying goodbye to the things that hold me back and Hello to the things that move me and my story forward. Edit your novel, edit your wardrobe, edit your life...I'm symbolically cutting plenty of things that I thought wouldn't bleed after so many years, and yet they are. It's okay though. It only means they're still in there, rattling around my skull, giving me that edge I feel I need in order to write. But hopefully without the physical reminders in my face everyday, I'll be able to come into my own and be whoever I'm supposed to much so that maybe one day when I'm gone, someone will be beside themselves when it's time to let go of my wedding dress. 

"Isn't it pretty to think so." -Ernest Hemingway

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

What I Wore:
Leopard oxford shirt: old J.Crew
Sequin tank: old
Buckle d'orsay heels: old, Colin Stuart
Skirt: my mother's vintage skirt
                                         Bracelet: Tiffany & Co., my mother-in-law's

How to Ride Off Into the Sunset With Your Skin

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

skin in your thirties
photo: Joshua Franzos
I turned 37 years old in February and I have to admit that "aging gracefully" has been on my mind a lot. Things have been slowly changing since I've turned thirty. When I say things, I'm talking about my skin. My skin is changing. When I look at my bare naked skin, aside from its tendency to be dry, extremely sensitive, and annoyingly freckled, it's still pretty great. But I remember that day I noticed it was different. It was no longer the twenty year old skin that I took for granted. I was about thirty-thirty-one and I'd put on the same go-to foundation I'd been using for the past five years and I noticed that it had settled into all the fine lines and creases I thought I didn't have. I suddenly didn't look like the person I'd seen in the mirror all my life. So I changed up the foundation and made a few other lifestyle tweaks that have significantly slowed down the visual aging process for me. So gather round and listen up.
  1.  No more sun exposure without protection- I ignored my mother's advice and tanned until I was 23. I now wish I hadn't. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I thought my own skin color was too pale and olive and that the sun helped it looked better. So not true. If I could tell my teenage self anything it would be to knock the tanning off! So how did I get comfortable in my own pale skin? My husband. He calls me his fair maiden, isn't that sweet? Also,he's a photographer and I watch him light and digitally adjust tonal values on people's skin a lot. All skin colors look great when they're lit well, so don't compare your skin to skin tones you see in a magazine! And further, it  may or may not have helped that tv vampires with beautiful porcelain skin became de rigueur and it suddenly dawned on me that ALL skin colors are beautiful and to be appreciated. SO, stop baking! It only looks like damaged and stressed skin anyway. Be cool with and work with your natural skin color, cuz it's unique and beautiful! Ok? Now protect yourself from sun damage with hats and sun screen. Your future self will thank you up and down. PROMISE. (I wish I had a great sunscreen to recommend, but I'm still searching for a good, non-chemical one. It remains elusive so far).
  2.  RBF  - stop it. stop it right now. My then BF, now husband pointed it out to me...and I noticed at age thirty, that I was on the cusp of getting a line where my eyebrows scrunch together from thinking too hard. I started to recognize when I was doing it and I STOPPED...and so did the formation of the crease for many years. I instead became a "resting Blank facer." Unfortunately, the first draft of my book was emotional and tortuously intense in the last six months of writing it, so I think my "thinker" line and my left eyebrow raising wrinkle is finally settled back in on my face for keeps. So to all my fellow young RBFers, it's your choice and all, I'm not telling you to smile, cuz I know how annoying that is, but a little self RBF facial awareness and censure can do wonders for prolonging a face without the tortured soul lines.
  3.  You're probably not going to like this one, but EXERCISE - Maintaining a healthy weight is great. But gaining muscle is better because it is the foundation for your skin to rest upon. Think about it. Clothes lie better over a toned body, and so does your skin. So build some muscle. Also, when you work out, you sweat out all those toxins in your largest organ, yo skin. Workout=instant skin detox.
  4. You'll like this one. Wine and Chocolate - There's medical evidence that Reservatrol, a substance found in wine and chocolate, has life-enhancing/extending properties. So go coo-coo for cocoa and Chateaunuef du papes.  
  5.  Healthy fats and whole milk - Let's talk about milk. I did this test once. I ate a bowl of rice chex with a cup of whole milk and was sated. The next day, I ate four bowls of rice chex with 2-3- cups of skim milk before I felt sated. The calories were more than double that of the first day. Fat isn't the bad guy, especially the kind that comes from wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, coconut cream/oils. I find that when I increase my fat consumption, I am satisfied quicker, hungry less, and eat less over all. And also, my skin and hair reap the benefits of fat, especially omega fatty acids.
  6. I'm not good at this one, but WATER - The more water you drink, the more beautiful you become. Your skin plumps (in a good way) and smooths out fine lines I should take my own advice and drink more water. I struggle with this one, but you know. I get knocked down and I get up again. 
  7. Gluten free - I tried a Gluten free diet for two weeks, just to prove to my know-it-all sister that I was fine on wheat. Bum-Bum-Bum...turns out, when I eliminated the gluten from my diet. Everything in my life got bettter. Skin problems, stomach issues, and asthma- gone. I was able to get off of nine different prescription medications for asthma and allergies and rashes. It was so momentous that I was completely fine telling my sister she had been totally right all along. My diet is so much more diverse and healthy without wheat. I eat all kinds of vegetables and other grains and legumes to make up for those missing carbs, and to top it all off, more vitamins and minerals from veggies equals better looking skin. Win-win-win.
  8. Skin Care - Here's the product dump, but I should start with the caveat that I have DRY and EXTREMELY sensitive skin, but, I occasionally break out like a teenager. (so what works for me, may not work for you if your skin doesn't fall into that annoying category). I have very few choices for skincare because I'm pretty much allergic to anything from the common drugstore. So, the more natural the product is, and fewer ingredients it has, the better. I try my best to avoid: parabens, phthlates, sulfates, fillers, petrochemicals, TEA, DEA, PEGs, glycols, perfumes, and colorants as much as possible. Some of my favorite products that I found that fit this 'Princess and the Pea' bill are below:

Micellar Water: I start by cleaning the day grime and make-up off my face with micellar water on a cotton ball. Garnier Miceller Water All-in-1 Waterproof  (available at drug stores or, here)- since I added this to my routine, I breakout about once a year (as opposed to monthly), though I might trade up to Caudelie Micellar Cleansing Water, (here) because it's much more natural.  

Facial Brush: the Clarisonic Mia 2, here. For a squeaky clean face.
Cleanser: Acure sensitive skin facial cleanser; it smells like banana beer to me, yum! (at Whole Foods or here) or Jonathan Masters Organics Rose Foaming Face Wash, here.  
Masks: Andalou Instant Age Defying 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Face Mask. This mask exfoliates with enzymes, making my skin clear and so soft. It's cheap and available in a sample size at Whole Foods or here
If my skin is pissed off, and I need an extra moisturizing and calming mask, Jonathan Masters Calendula Hydrating and Toning Mask is a life saver. At some Giant Eagles or here. 

Serum: Caudelie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. This one kills me because it's $79 and I hate that, but it really works. I never wanted to be someone who spends more than $60 on face care, but my skin is clearer, brighter, prettier, so uugghh, I reluctantly suck it up. Here.

Moisturizer: Dr. Roebucks Anti-Aging FACE. -You guys. This moisturizer has BLOWN me away. I first put this on at night, when I had flaky, dry eczema patches on my face. I woke up to dewy skin. DEWY skin. I've never freaking had DEWY skin! I use it morning and night. It's surprisingly great under makeup because it's incredibly moisturizing, but not greasy; I could write a whole blog post about how much I love this product, but I won't. I found it at my local Sephora or, here

Misty Waters: I like to keep a bottle of Jason Wu for Caudalie Beauty Elixir at my desk so I can mist it on through out the day. I find the all natural scent energizing too. At night, right before I hit the pillow, a little ritual of mine is mist my face and neck with rosewater. Rosewater was part of Cleopatra's beauty ritual btw. Rose oils do all sorts of glorious things for all types of skin, but the real truth is, my skin loves the extra boost of moisture and I love the smell of roses right before I fall asleep.

*Farsali  Unicorn Essence: I just started using this product a week ago. It's a combined serum and makeup primer and I love it. I've used makeup primers in the past (I'm looking at you Smashbox and Benefit) and I've never liked them. They felt to slippery and my make up felt like it was going to glide right off my face...and I also became too aware of the way primers felt on my face...heavy and that's not good. This is not the case with the Unicorn essence. It moisturizes and has an invisibly tacky feel, if that makes any sense...Farsali unicorn essence feels like it grips onto my makeup, and then when it's on, it feels like I'm not wearing makeup or just feels like my skin isn't dry. And if my skin isn't dry, my makeup isn't sinking into my fine lines and creases. Again, it's not a cheap product, so I'm still evaluating if it is truly worth the $54.(It will help if it lasts awhile.) But so far I'm really loving the way this serum/primer helps my skin to look younger and great all day long. You can nab Farsali Unicorn Essence here, or get a sample from Sephora and try it out for yourself. 

         9. Foundation Polygamy -  Sometimes your skin matures out of products (or sometimes product formulations are changed). So what worked for you for years, may no longer work for you and it's not your fault. You just need to find one that works for you in the present, and...I'm still looking. It's hard to find a foundation that isn't drying to my skin (and accentuating of fine lines) but has medium to full coverage (I like to downplay my freckles). So I bounce around a lot. I have my two foundation wives, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish SPF15 Foundation in Natural. Nordstrom keeps it in stock, here. I also really love Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation, especially for photo shoots, here. I want to wear it all the time, but I tend to put it up on a pedestal. I don't want to ruin a good thing. So instead, I have a wandering foundation eye. I'm always looking for something better. I keep having booty calls with Sephora 10 hr Wear Perfection foundation because one of my favorite bloggers recommended it, but I don't love the way it feels on my skin..too heavy...but I'm also reluctant to throw it out because that's's so annoying to be me sometimes(!) I'm also having a tryst with YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint foundation(here) mixed with a drop of Urban Decay All Nighter Liquid foundation (here), but it's really only because I bought one too light and one too dark and lost the receipts to both ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Just call me Dona Juanita.

         10. Sleep - Not getting enough is the thing that seems to age you the most. So do your best to get enough. But I know. I know. I have a new puppy. I know. It's serious. It could beThe Smiths song,I know.

EXTRA CREDIT: Did you know there's an extra credit element to riding off into the sunset with your skin? Well there is. You too can happily ride off into the sunset with you skin just like the Marlboro man, so long as you don't actually smoke cigarettes like the Marlboro man. I won't go into all the other reasons you shouldn't smoke, You know em. If you want ageless skin to an indeterminate age, don't ever start and/or quit while you're ahead. And that's all folks. That's all the non-invasive skin secrets I have to date. 

Do you have dry, sensitive, aging skin? Do you have any economical beauty secrets or products you swear by? Tell me in the comments below! Thanks.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

Sartorial Cognitive Dissonance and the Kentucky Derby

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

derby style
photo: Joshua Franzos

Have you ever felt like a fractured version of your self? Like there were so many pieces of past, present and future glittering on the ground like a broken mirror shining in the sun?  No? Okay maybe that's just me and the puppy induced lack of sleep then.

Guys, I think I'm currently in a state of sartorial cognitive dissonance.

I'm a people pleaser, an ADD artist, a writer, a wife, a nose-in-a-booker, a non-profit employee, a dog mom, a friend, an athlete, a cook, a partyer, a get my hands dirtyer, a woman, a tomboy, a capitalist, a socialist, a consumer, a feminist, a wannabe fashion stylist, and a perfection seeker. So all THAT and my all over the place personal style that goes along with each. of. those. compartmentalized. versions. of. myself. needs to cease and become one.

Some how.

It started with my parents moving me in and out of new school systems when I was growing up (I think at least 9 different school systems before junior high). I got used to inserting myself into new social structures and quickly recognized how shallow and visual people truly are. At about 9 years old, I knew that you are firstly judged by what you look like. #sad The shaping of my "style" merely became a defense mechanism, a mask that had next to nothing to do with me personally and really only reflected what I knew would impress my peers.

photo: Joshua Franzos

I'm naturally an introvert, but through necessity, became a Meyers-Briggs borderline extrovert/introvert. I tested smack in the center, but only because I was smart enough to recognize the tangible benefits of acting like an well-dressed extrovert when entering the Roman lion-fighting arena of a new school. The goal is survival, but social stability is definitely on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. So if you ask me, fashion is merely shorthand for extroversion. If you wear something bold or cool enough, someone will usually break the ice for you.

Rachel Zoe says "Style is the way to say who you are without having to speak." That's only true if you're being honest.

Do we use style to tell people who we are or who we want to be?

(Or who we want them to think we are?)  I manipulated many a school social system through my clothing choices and lost my self in the process. And to date, I don't think anyone, save for maybe my husband, has a clue who I really am.
photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos

I'm thirty-seven years old and my closet looks like I'm a spy that specializes in masterful disguises. I can probably transform into whoever you need me to be. Ditch digger? got it. MadMen night? done. Night at the Opera? Got that. Mousy secretary? squeak. Mr. Rogers? yep. Chanel suit wearing lady who lunches? got that too. Rockstar? uh huh.  I've always dressed for the situation and have a closet full of clothes for all those situations. But what if I didn't? What if I only owned and wore the clothes that were me? 

Sounds scary. And like freedom.

striped dress
photo: Joshua Franzos
red flower hat
photo: Joshua Franzos

Chanel sunglasses
photo: Joshua Franzos

It's weird to try and evaluate personal style through the lens of fashion blogging. There is a lot of style copying and style homogenization throughout the blogosphere. There is a lot of posturing and hopeful selling of goods and services (and "Lifestyle") through the seemingly grassroots blog. So how meta is the personal style of a blogger? Is it in fact personal? Or is it funneled through what one knows will sell? After three years, I have not made a cent and I will probably forever be a hobby blogger.This realization made me feel like a failure. I then allowed fashion blogging and my low number of social media followers to make me crazy for a period, so I took a blog break to reassess its importance in my life. It wasn't important at all I decided. And for awhile I was sure I'd give it up.Then I remembered the writing. It used to be about the writing and self discovery, and being creative with my husband. And so for as long as this blog continues to persist, that's what it should be about.

Furla clutch
photo: Joshua Franzos

christian louboutin
photo: Joshua Franzos

sporting jewelry
photo: Joshua Franzos
I've been thinking a lot about my personal style and about my desire to let go of the many masks I don. It took writing and this blog, I think, for a voice and a genuine sense of self to bob to the surface amongst the flotsam and jetsam of my disguises. I got caught up in the bizarre horse race of blogging and started to feed the fashion machine, instead of letting it nourish me creatively. In a virtual world that shows you the highlight reel of beautiful people's carefully curated lives, I'm telling you not to believe everything you see. Even right now.The photos before you are lies. It's so easy to fake stuff (I would know, I've been doing it my entire life). But back to the photos of this blog post. This is not me, this is me styled through the glowy lens of fashion blogging that taps into a singular and persistent female fantasy. It's a fantasy that's nice for a fleeting afternoon and that's about it. You think I'm going to be cleaning up puppy accidents with perfect hair and lipstick and high heels? HA! 
I'm done trying to appeal to the masses. I'm going to do me now, and the personal style path I'm heading down will not be as sweet as this dress and these pictures. I don't know how or entirely what yet, but I know that I've already started. In the meantime, I'm going to document some articles that have me all hung up, but don't speak to who I currently am-or will be. This post is one of those instances of document and release where I'm saying goodbye to things and former selves that won't follow me into the future peacefully. 

kentucky derby style
photo: Joshua Franzos

So, the first thing I'm saying goodbye to is this hat and the first self I'm saying goodbye to is the Spendthrift Stylist-who likes to "rescue" high end fashion from auctions or thrift stores even though they aren't her style. She is wowed by beautiful things, big designer names, and she likes to hoard. She likes to make pictures perfect without a care to the future and as a result, sometimes things get worn only once. That is incredibly wasteful. Case in point, the spendthrift stylist bought this hat seven years ago for a "My Fair Lady type photo shoot some day"... Who DOES that?? It doesn't even fit on my head! So in a final Derby-time-of-year-look/heave-ho/last hurrah, I let her buy this $49.95 dress from ASOS (that I will never wear again) simply to make this photo POP. And pop it does, but boy is that Spendthrift Stylist self a manic bitch....Let's call her Felicia. 

BYYYyyyyyeeee Felicia, move your bloomin' arse!


 What I Wore:
Hat: Vintage, Miss Alice.
Clutch: Vintage Furla
Heels: Christian Louboutin, similar HERE.
Chunky plastic Bracelet: vintage.
Bracelet: Early 20th Century reverse painted intaglio sporting bracelet 
Sunnies: old season Chanel.
Lip: Dior 999 

Have you come to terms with your own personal style? How'd it go? Were there selves that were hard to kill off? Did they stay dead? Let me know in the comments.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh, 

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