How to Wear Your Summer Dress into the Fall

Thursday, October 14, 2021

I love it when it still feels like summer well into the fall. LOVE. IT. Gimme all the warmth and sunshine for as long as possible. I'm happy to say we've had our fair share of it here in Pittsburgh this year. I kind of wish it would last until January. But, and here's a huge admission on my part, I still like fall clothes. It's a weird time when you're still incorporating lighter summery things from your closet and shuffling in newer warm things you're longing to wear, but the morning are often cool, the afternoons, blistering hot, and the evenings cool again. It's best to dress in layers for the many heat levels of fall and here's how I styled one romantic vintage floral wrap dress I picked up from @Thriftwares on Instagram for those levels. 

Look #1: Hot Fall 

Meryl Franzos floral dress
photo: Joshua Franzos

Hot Fall acts like summer in many ways. It's hot out. You're still sweaty. But it's past the autumnal equinox and the casual slip-on footwears of summer don't seem appropriate anymore, and it's just too hot for boots still. Maybe it's just me, but I find there's a certain gravitas to fall, probably because of years of starting school in September. Hot fall is the perfect time to wear those open-toe high heel sandals with your summer dress and feel like a grown up woman for a hot second.
photo: Joshua Franzos

Hot Fall is a good time to trade out your summer time straw bags for something leather, letting that be the only thing that hints at the cooler weather that is sure to come. It's also a fun time to think about accessorizing with jewelry again. With plunging necklines, I usually like to forgo necklaces and instead wear earrings that bring the gaze back up to my face. It's about balance. 
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos

Look #2: Fall Fall

photo: Joshua Franzos

 Good news fall fans. Fall Fall is the 50-63 degree moment you've been waiting for. You can start bringing out the boots and other fall finery you've been dying to wear. You'll still find my summer dresses on rotation, only with frilly lace blouses layered underneath and tall boots. 
photo: Joshua Franzos
Fall Fall has even more gravitas than Hot Fall, and though my boots and bag are classic examples of brown (embossed) crocodile leather, I opted for modern and untraditional sunglasses and jewelry with pops of neon to keep the look fun and from venturing too deep into "school marm territory."
photo: Joshua Franzos

Look #3: Cool Fall

photo: Joshua Franzos
Cool Fall. It may be in the high 30's and 40's but it's still warm enough to be stylish and wear that summer dress if you keep adding on the layers. For this look, I added a tie-neck blouse and a pleated midi skirt that peaks out from underneath the dress like a black petticoat. Add a hat, tights, and a slightly over-sized blazer for additional warmth. I'm also wearing OTK boots in a low kitten heel because it's starting to get slippery out and I can't teeter totter around on high heels on potentially slippery surfaces. That's how you break a hip.
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos
It's difficult to see, but I accessorized this with a large, shiny vinyl clutch. I also layered a fun charm necklace I assembled on top of everything to keep this Tombstone-esque look, light-hearted. I'm your huckleberry.

photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos

 This is the first time I've done a "three ways to wear" on the blog. The older I get, the more I want the items in my wardrobe to be more than one trick ponies. I much rather they were jacks-of-most-trades. The more ways I to style things, and wear them, the better. Let me know if you'd like to see more "three ways to wear" posts. If so, I may be happy to oblige you, m'am.

photo: Joshua Franzos


Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh, 

Pleasures of the Damned

Friday, September 10, 2021

Meryl Franzos, boater hat outfit, Bukowski t-shirt
photo: Joshua Franzos

For the longest time, I couldn't tell you why the ice breaker question I dread the most is, "Tell me about yourself."
Under a stoic veneer is heart-racing panic. I shrink back into the liminal sidelines of anonymity. Who, me? I don't exist. I'm just a mutable enigma existing in the inbetween. Why would I think to define myself, when it's always been done for me?
My Grandmother is Japanese. My mother half. Me? As the apple is sliced, I should be 25%, but my DNA test insists that I'm 29%, and at least 1% Korean. 30% Asian in total, my genes were stacked in favor of my Asian ancestry and it shows on my face. White people have always stared. There was something about me they couldn't put their finger on, and their curiosity usually won out over their manners. "What are you?" As early as age six, I tried to explain, clumsily navigating the language of my identity with a first grade vocabulary. At first I was proud, then I grew to resent it when I wasn't Asian enough to call myself Asian with my Asian playmates, or when white people kept stumbling over the clues written on my face. Through their narrowed eyes, I knew. I didn't belong. From a distance I could pass as white, but under tough scrutiny, I didn't. "Oh, I thought you might be Mexican, or Italian, or Israeli, but you got some Jap in ya instead!" During my modeling years, I was often too ethnic for roles, or not ethnic enough. Too much or not enough, never "just right," like Goldilocks was rumored to say.
Meryl Franzos, Greenport Long Island
photo: Joshua Franzos

The year 2000 marked the first year the United States Census had a bi-racial check box. Before that I had to claim Asian or claim white, but certainly deny one part of my heritage. Different forms sometimes had an "other" check box. I often checked that because it was my only option. I was twenty years old in 2000, and by then, after years of not fitting into neat boxes and being constantly othered, the damage was already done. My race, my chameleon sense of style, even the values that might define my character were so fluid, I was practically water. Recently, I became agitated—but not surprised when I learned mixed race individuals often experience developmental delays in self identity. No wonder I've been farting around so long with fashion and how I could use it to help define myself. Funny how I chose a wordless language to try and communicate.
photo: Joshua Franzos

 In 2019 a friend showed me an art book called, Part Asian, 100% Hapa. It featured Kip Fulbeck's portraits of multiply ethnic people that were at least a little bit Asian, and they called themselves Hapa—which is a Hawaiian term meaning a person of mixed ethnic ancestry. These beautiful and oddly familiar faces were celebrating their unique mix and embracing Hapa-ness. Though the book was not meant for me (it was meant for the awesome Hapa children of another dear friend,) tears lined my lower eyelids that day. Finally, there was a term, a two syllable word for what I was instead of a rambling dynastic prologue. And, I had a tribe. Not to name drop, but I have a friend with an ardent infatuation with Keanu Reeves. As I watch pictures of him float by in her stories, one day I smacked my forehead and laughed. Keanu! Our most famous fellow Hapa tribesman! Why have I never noticed it before? Goddam.
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos

I'm not implying that everything became hunky-dory overnight once I learned I was Hapa. In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Asian hate crimes and racism are at an all time high, and I'm still doing a lot of soul searching on what defines me, if only accepting that I may be indefinable. But even as late as November 2020, I was filling out a form for a state permit when I was informed that I couldn't be bi-racial, or Asian. I could only check: black, white, or unknown. Every option available to me was a lie. Instead of letting the racist ass form define me, I decided once and for all that forms are stupid and while their intent might be to impose imaginary limits, I won't let them anymore. Cue Whitney Houston's Greatest Love of All. (I'm not crying, you're crying.)

“invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don't swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can never categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
Charles Bukowski, The Pleasures of the Damned

Meryl Franzos, ta-dah!
photo: Joshua Franzos

 What I wore: 

T-Shirt: The Avantehermetico Etsy Shop Bukowski Pleasures of the Damned
Paper clip necklace: Universal Thread, Target
Sunglasses: old Ray-Ban (this link is the cheapest new version, I could find $160 vs. $211)
Bag: Vintage Carlos Falchi butterfly bag in black python, bought from The Real Real
Lace mini: Forever 21 c/o Thred-UP
Gold boat shoes: Sperry. Now a collector's item. They haven't been re-issued in some time. There are still some sizes available on the internet if you dig for them.
Meryl Franzos, Mrs. Franzos, Boater hat
photo: Joshua Franzos

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

No Vacancy

Wednesday, August 18, 2021


Photo: Joshua Franzos

Thanks to a year of working from home, my once rigid daily schedule is toast. I have new, bad habits--getting up a whole two hours later than I was previously. I have some new, good habits--though, nothing comes to mind. Regardless, there are patterns and behaviors that will be hard to shake, if and when we get back to "normal." And strangely, the thought of returning to normal has been panic inducing for me. Do I like working from home? Or do I just hate commuting more? Slow work periods at home often meant hours of uninterrupted writing which provided the luxury of looking at both the forest and the trees of my novel. Truthfully, this deep dive would not have been possible without our collective sojourn into COVID-19 isolation. However, the reduced socialization and the general monotony of day-in-day-out sameness has not done good things to my mental health. It's hard to know what to root for anymore, but the knowledge that my days of poring over my edit would come to an end in September 2021 haunted me.  

I had to finish. If I couldn't cut the words and finish my novel during a pandemic, would I ever? I've been writing one book for nearly ten years. 


photo: Joshua Franzos

Failure not being an option, I jettisoned the stuff that ate time and my limited quarantine energy (this blog, instagram posturing). I swiveled my full creative beam into the cutting of 39,054 words, yet keeping the story's core intact, but also stronger and better. It was a tall order, but I did it. I finished in July, and it only took three years and seven months.

The first time I finished my novel, the first draft mind you, was September 23, 2016. I was so excited and proud, I popped a bottle of Dom Perignon. Now, I roll my eyes because it's gone through so many edits and versions since then, I truly don't know what number pass I'm on. It doesn't matter. If what I'm told about literary agents and publishers is true, and I'm fortunate enough to land one, there will be many more edits and passes on my manuscript in the future. It's never ending. 

Meryl Franzos, red wool hat, vintage bathroom photo shoot
photo: Joshua Franzos

photo: Joshua Franzos

Oh, and work informed us that October 2021 is the new tentative back-to-the-office date due to the continued viral spread of covid variants--also never-ending.

The point of all this is, for the first time in a long time, I'm not straddling the real world and a fictional world. As I look for an agent and busy myself with the administrative side of writing, my consciousness is popped up like a prairie dog on high alert. Anxious AF. Trying to prepare for winter and worst case scenarios. Worrying about catching Delta. Worried about accidentally spreading it. Checking my email every few minutes, hoping for responses from the umpteen agents I've queried. Each day that passes without a response, more cracks appear in my cuvee blend of hubris and optimism. The cracks widen and gape, and that's how The Fear gets in. 

I want to be anywhere but this perpetual state of unknown. 

Prevailing writer wisdom says to immediately start writing a new story. Or take a vacation. Anything, to get your mind out of the dark corners of your imagination. You know, the what-ifs and what-would-you-dos? The one niggling thought of the last literary agent on earth rejecting the book you'd spent ten years writing. What do you do with your life then? 

photo: Joshua Franzos

Even though it seems like we're frozen in a catch 22--Time marches on, beholden to no one. So, in an effort to delay another existential crisis and alleviate some chronic cabin fever, we booked a vacation, and pretended for a little while that we had ninety-nine problems, but aging and the creative process wasn't one.

photo: Joshua Franzos

Your Bosom friend in Pittsburgh,

What I wore:

Hat: Lack of Color

Sunnies: Gucci dupes

Dress: Zadig & Voltaire c/o The Real Real

Heels: Numero Ventuno

What I drank:
 Rosé: One Woman Wines
Bourbon: Angel's Envy

Writer's Block: A Gin & Lemon Thyme Summer Cocktail

Thursday, September 3, 2020

london dry gin, gin cocktails, lemon thyme and gin cocktails, summer cocktails
summer cocktail recipes, gin cocktails,
Yield: 1 drink
Author: Meryl Franzos
Writer's Block: A Gin & Lemon Thyme Summer Cocktail

Writer's Block: A Gin & Lemon Thyme Summer Cocktail

Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 4 HourTotal time: 4 H & 10 M
A quietly strong, herbal summer cocktail with rare ingredients that will send you on an a scavenger hunt to obtain, is a challenge to make, but a delightful experience once crafted – basically, just like writing a novel.


  • 2 fistfuls of lemon thyme sprigs (divided among the infused simple syrup, muddling, and garnish)
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 True Lime packet
  • 1 fresh lime wedge
  • 1 Tablespoon Turbinado raw cane sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur (I must insist you used this brand of elderflower liqueur - all others aren't right. I've tried)
  • 2 1/4 Teaspoons of Lemon Thyme simple syrup
  • 3 ounces of Gin (highly recommend only London Dry style Gin: Bombay Blue Sapphire, Regular Bombay, or Beefeater only)
  • Lots of fresh ice
Kitchen equipment needed:
  • Whiskey glass with straight sides
  • Small sauce pan with lid
  • One ounce shot glass
  • measuring spoons 
  • shallow bowl
  • wire mesh strainer
  • small container for storing simple syrup


  1. Obtain a Lemon Thyme plant and fertilize it so that you have plenty of Lemon Thyme throughout the summer.
  2. Bring the water and white sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat. Throw in a large handful of lemon thyme sprigs (pre-rinsed and cleaned) put a cover on and let the lemon thyme steep for a few hours, stirring and swirling every so often to help the essential oils infuse syrup. Stronger the better! Pour through a strainer to keep the leaves out of the final product. Store in in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a two weeks.
  3. Get a low ball whisky glass with straight sides. Wash your hands and rinse 3 sprigs of lemon thyme, gently pat the herbs dry. Set aside 1 nice sprig for a garnish, and use the other two to smush and muddle on the insides and bottom of the glass. Really work the essential oils onto the sides. You should be able to smell it. Discard the smushed sprigs.
  4. Get a shallow bowl and empty a True Lime packet and the Turbinado sugar into it, mix. Get the lime wedge and moisten the rim of the glass with it. Dip the glass rim into the sugar/True Lime mixture until it is covered.
  5. Add the Lemon Thyme simple syrup, St. Germaine, and one ounce of gin. Mix. Add enough ice so that it almost reaches the top of the glass, then pour in the remaining two ounces of gin. Stir until combined. Add more ice if needed.
  6. Add a sprig of lemon thyme and serve.
  7. Marvel at how easily and enjoyably all that gin goes down the hatch.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @theicecreamsocialistparty on instagram and hashtag it #thewritersblockcocktail
Created using The Recipes Generator

Gin & Lemon Thyme Summer Cocktail, Joshua Franzos
photo by: Joshua Franzos

It took over two years of experimenting with different gins, different liqueurs, tinkering with amounts, adding lime juice and taking it away again, shaken not stirred, stirred and not shaken, until I settled on the perfect combination of flavors and fuss in this recipe. I'm very proud of it, everyone I make it for, likes it, (even the non-gin people.) I realize Lemon Thyme is not the easiest thing to find, but if you see it that farmer's market or at a nursery PICK IT UP.  It's so worth it. It would be like me to post a recipe you probably couldn't immediately make, right?

I'm usually a red wine and whiskey on the rocks type of gal, but this quarantine has me wanting fancier, complicated libations at the end of the day. I shook so many manhattans May through July that I broke my shaker. I'm trying not to drink away my quarantine and upcoming election anxiety, but this cocktail is too tempting. Hope you are well.

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

The Book of I Regret Nothing: A Quarantine Love Story.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

magenta lips and polka dot scarf
photo: Joshua Franzos

I started a short-lived journal in 2018. Bought at Kards Unlimited, it was trompe l'oeiled to look like a beat-up ledger. The cover is confidently titled, I Regret Nothing. I was embarking on a hormonal journey of assisted fertility and reproduction at the time. The journal was mostly medical in nature with the occasional glimpse into my head. It documented exact times I took certain pills and hormone shots and assessed how real the ghost-like the ovulation line looked on my daily urine strip test.Then the medical notes and mental check-ins became less frequent, then, stopped all together when the medical procedures and first course of expensive treatments didn't work. The book was only filled 25% of the way through.

At that point, we were on the verge of doing IVF because of "momentum," but then we didn't. Already stinging with failure, I didn't believe in myself enough to beat the 30% IVF success rate. If we spent $100K on IVF and didn't have fat baby in our arms at the end, I didn't see myself bouncing back from that, and I'm not talking financially. I saw nothing, just game over black. And that was a huge red flag to me. Here Be Dragons, And Death.

orange dress against blue bricks
Photo: Joshua Franzos

I spent a year + recreating, rebuilding, reinvesting in that hollowed out shell of my former self. I busied myself with New Meryl. Who was she, who she wasn't, what did she wear? I started posting my daily outfits on instagram and that simple act of getting dressed but never wearing the same thing gave me a routine, re-ignited the creativity pilot, and gave me hope for the future. I began to plan.What would she do? Where would she travel? New Meryl got accepted into a writing workshop in Boston. She also booked a February trip to Mexico, and a European vacation in April. Edinburgh, London, and Paris. It was all going to happen. If we can't have kids, we'll travel the world, we said, and looked forward to trying the jet-set lifestyle on for size.

photo: Joshua Franzos

At the end of February, we had a little trouble coming home from Mexico. Airport officials were cross questioning us. "Have you been to China?" No. "When was the last time you were in China?" Never. "Let me see your passport." *hands passport over.* "Okay, you're fine." Trust no one. "Excuse me?" Yes, I'm fine.

photo: Joshua Franzos

On March 3, 2020, the administrator of my writing conference cancelled it. I could not believe it. I thought they were being weak babies. Around this time, I pulled the I Regret Nothing journal off my bedroom shelf and read the last entry.

"May 30, 2018 - A lot of time has transpired since the IUI. Call me a hypochondriac, but I haven't felt normal since the IUI. I've felt crampy everyday, not painful, just weird, like something is tugging on my insides. And of course I'm micromanaging all my "early pregnancy symptoms" into my usual hopefulness. I am actually terrified to take this pregnancy test on Sunday. I wish I hadn't told anyone because I don't wan't to be watched and questioned like the office science experiment. I'm terrified that the test will be negative and all this will be fore nothing. Money, time, health, weight gained, emotional stress, months of juggling our schedules around my cycle, HERE pay thousands of dollars for this supreme stress package! Part of me is excited that this could be it, but part of me wants to squash that optimism so I don't get my hopes so high that they crash down and shatter into a five million unrepairable pieces. I need a break from this awful headspace I've been occupying."

On the page opposite this, I decided to write my first Covid entry.

"March 8, 2020 - The Work Conference was cancelled. A lot of stuff going down this week. Daylight savings starts today. Full moon. Friday the 13th. The ides of March on Sunday. The corona virus is coming for us all."

"March 9, 2020 - My foot and ankle have been hurting. I got an inconclusive X-ray. The doctor says that is consistent with most stress fractures. I'm now the not very proud owner of a storm trooper boot. Work is preparing us to start working from home at some point, wtf. Also, my boss quit."

Then Friday the thirteenth happened. We had our last, in-person, all staff meeting. By 2p.m. I was packing my desk into a wine box to begin WFH on the following Monday. COVID-19 was in the US and spreading like, well, an un-contained virus. 

"March 14, 2020 - I went to the gym. Josh didn't want me to. He got a lot of food supplies from Costco including a prime rib. He thought we'd be able to have dinner parties. Our friends all say no. We learn we're all on our own, and isolation really means isolating. We put the slab o beef in the freezer."

"March 18, 2020 - Gyms are closed. I haven't worked (cardio) out since March 14th. I do yoga, but with the stress fracture I can't do much, not even walk the dogs. I'm getting stir crazy so I ordered a "cheap" spin bike $330 off Amazon. Got take-out from Spice Island. Did a facetime happy hour with Amy. It was nice."

"March 21, 2020 - Josh was getting melancholy so I put his brain to work with a short film. It occupied us from afternoon to dinner. We edited into the night. Last of the whiskey consumed. 1st corona virus death in Allegheny County."

"March 24, 2020 - Got first workout in on the new spin bike. I don't like it as much as walking or HIIT, but it's something. It feels great to be tired from it. Maybe I'll sleep tonight. Called Delta and canceled flight to Boston. 851 cases of Corona in PA as of 12:10pm."

"March 30, 2020 - our CEO said we'll probably be doing this work from home thing at least another month. But probably two."

Meryl Franzos orange dress and blue bricks
photo: Joshua Franzos

I documented the daily death tolls, the climbing number of cases. I note our cooking menus, I note work gripes. I note how silent Shadyside has become with all the bars closed that we can sleep with our windows open. I noted that I hope an estranged family member is doing alright, but I don't ask, and neither do they. Sometime between April 9 and April 18, I start having weird dreams about owls and cuckoo clocks.

"One owl in one hand and a bat in the other. The bat bites me and I wake up thinking, 'How do I get a rabies shot during Covid-19?'"

"I'm standing in my driveway and hundreds of owls, all sizes and colors are swarming into my driveway. I can see sunlight illuminating the tips of feathers on their extended wingspans as they swoop down over my head. I'm a little scared, but I also can't stop looking at them staring back at me. They're so beautiful and curious."

April 26, 2020 - Josh, my friend Dana (whom I haven't seen in years), and I walk into a cuckoo clock and the wall is filled with more cuckoo cubbies. The cubbies are filled with money, treasure, old jewlery. There was also a big cupboard filled with fabulous fur-trimmed caftans and floral girdles – apparently weird dreams are a thing during COVID, for everyone – our brains are unstimulated by our lacking daily routine, or we're anxious so our brains dig deep into our subconscious and past to provide fodder for REM sleep to repair us, or something like that."

Uh oh, I thought. I'm typically a: working my routine, routine-ing my work, block out everything, keep my head down, and definitely, absolutely, a keeper of emotions on a distant island (like Alcatraz,) where you can see, not touch, not make out specifics... but hopefully it's just always foggy and you never even know they're there. What am I in for? I haven't processed shit. 

Meryl Franzos golden hour
photo: Joshua Franzos

By the end of April I'd tiled the fireplaces, made and installed my curtain pelmets, painted the  north wall and closet doors, cleaned the basement, given away the toys I hoped to give to my kids, perfected macarons, and ultimately run out of house projects to occupy the moments where I couldn't sit in a chair a second longer. Now I was alone with my thoughts. Who would've ever guessed that our thoughts would make such horrible companions? The effects of social isolation, a cancelled trip to Europe that I'd spent months planning our daily itineraries for, plus watching the joyful chaos other peoples' children wreaked on zoom meetings was starting to intensify the feelings of everything we were missing out on.

"April 29, 2020 - 30 min of yoga. Very challenging day. I decided to add an element of a friend announcing her pregnancy to my main character in my book. Which was emotional for me because of all the times I've had to pretend i'm overjoyed when all I see is what I can't have, then work was super intense and challenging with cloud issues plus demands from ALL the people I'm supporting [Post note: I was doing the work of three support staff at the time.] Then I get a group text where redacted announces she is pregnant with her fourth child and how old she feels at 40 and how it will be her last 'planned pregnancy.' My phone was exploding with this and the congrats while I'm on a zoom meeting and I JUST LOSE IT. I actually left the text conversation like a big ole drama queen, and I walked off screen of the work zoom to go muffle my sobs in the powder room. I didn't want Josh to see/hear this mental breakdown. I feel bad now. I've been apologized to, which was nice to hear, but honestly, I should be the one apologizing. But I couldn't do that, or even respond." [Post note: Redacted, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. I love you, I'm going through some stuff and I hate that my pain diminished your joy for even a millisecond.]

As the months wore on and death tolls mounted, I began to obsessively revisit the topic of family and IVF and my own one day demise. Once again, the guilt about not being able to give Josh something that he is so suited for surfaced. Maybe it wasn't too late for IVF? Maybe we still had a shot? Maybe there was a clinic with a better track record than the one in town? For three weeks I drug my husband through the awfulness all over again. I googled IVF statistics, and was dismayed to learn by taking a year off to screw my head on right, I effectively cut my chances of ever getting pregnant down from 30% at age 38 to about 5% at age 40. I ordered the Modern Fertility hormone test that further spelled out the unlikelihood of me conceiving a child of our own flesh and blood. It seems a literal miracle is my last option.

photo: Joshua Franzos

All the well meaning people came to mind, the ones that say "God has a plan, or, life tends to work out the way it's supposed to, in the time its supposed to." Meaning what? I don't know, but I obsessed. why oh why oh why did I wait until thirty-six to get serious about kids. And why oh why did I pick this journal, this Domesday Book accounting of some of the lowest points of my life? The only thing I knew was that I'd fucked up, and contrary to the book's braggadocios title, I REGRET SO SO MUCH.

Veuve Clicquot orange
photo: Joshua Franzos

At the end of May I was extremely tired and nauseous for several days in a row. Stress will do that to you.The outer layers of my hell heart started to get excited that maybe, I was pregnant. There has been an awful lot of cohab nooky. And, those people. The people that say the things about timing and life. What if something amazing came out of this awfulness? Wouldn't that be the most amazing idea for a romantic covid comedy? The section of my brain that recognizes a good story idea started blaring an air horn.The Book of I Regret Nothing: A Quarantine Love Story.

magenta lipstick and 3rdEyeView Eyewear
photo: Joshua Franzos
photo: Joshua Franzos

Despite all the fluttering hope and beautiful literary parallels, the faithless knowledge that I wasn't pregnant sat frozen in a lake of ice at the center of my hell heart. Judas and Jack Torrance are frozen there too. A few days later, my period came and once again proved myself right. The journal contributions grew fewer and fewer, and on May 27, I put in my final entry, our dinner menu.

"May 27 - Seared tuna with wasabi sesame crust. Watermelon and arugula I planted by seed in the early spring, tossed in a blood orange vinaigrette. Green onion and Korean pepper salad. Al Fresco dining. Fresh and amazing dinner, best in awhile. My husband has the most beautiful green eyes at sunset, like jadeite at 7pm, like celadon at 8pm."

Now that my short-lived journal is only 1/3 blank, I wonder what, if anything will convince me to put a pen to it again? If only life could be so kind as to conveniently tie all the loose ends up or frame the suffering with a golden lining. I guess that's why fiction is so compelling. Three acts, the heroine gets her hearts desire after a bit of trouble... Despite all my rage, I'm still getting dressed in the morning. I'm just tromping down two flights of stairs to go sit at our dining room table, but it's part of my mental health routine. I'm especially loving cotton dresses with roomy skirts that allow me to sit cross legged or lay on the floor while I type. White and cheery colored dresses are my favorite. Pre-covid, I would never describe myself as feminine or as a "dress lover." I didn't know what was happening until I read a vogue article. Michelle Ruiz wrote, "But it doesn’t take much self-psychoanalysis to realize I’m dressing the way I want to feel—happy and colorful—in throwback pieces that remind me of simpler, more innocent times."

photo: Joshua Franzos

I'll say. It doesn't get more simple than a dress and slip on shoes. While it has been impossible to escape this time unscathed, I know you've had your dark moments too. I hope my sharing of this makes you feel less alone. In some ways, this time was a curse, in others, the forced self-reflection was a gift. We sorted, confronted, and hopefully made peace with our demons and acknowledged that our thoughts, pains, traumas, and our regrets are valid. It helps us recognize it and empathize with others. But we must never forget the joy and to actively seek it out if necessary. It's more important than ever to preserve, and celebrate life, and cling to those "just because" moments. Oh, and one last thing. Go, drink that special bottle of something you've been saving. You're special now.

photo: Joshua Franzos

Your bosom friend in Pittsburgh,

Details on what I wore:

Lipstick: Urban Decay Vice lipstick in comfort matte. Color: Menace.

Sunglasses: Elton in black/sherbert at Black owned business 3rd Eye View

Dress: ASOS Design tiered broderie maxi, out of stock, unfortunately.
This dress is so comfortable and perfect for sitting cross-legged while I WFH. Wish you could experience the comfort of this stylish dress that feels like the softest t-shirt. This dress is likely the same feel, but in white...I kind of want to buy it.

Sandals: Adidas, here.

Earrings: resin hoops from Banana Republic, here.

Scarf: 70's polyester skinny scarf I inherited from my mother:)

Bottle jacket: Veuve Clicquot, I bought this in New York, but it's hard to find in the wild. You can buy the jacket used on Ebay, Etsy, and Mercari.

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