Pictured above, a few Advent calendars I noticed this year. Number 6 is a link to Walmart, highly irregular! But it is a Spanish chocolatier and I was so taken with the illustration with brown-skinned people (unfortunately rare in American nativity illustrations). It’s hard to see clearly in the photo, but Walmart is the only online retailer I found carrying it in the United States. And yes, the Vosges one is $145 but yes they are one of American’s finest chocolatiers. And female-owned!
I have such affection for Advent Calendars. I love looking up all the options, in particular the ones with edible gifts, or useful ones like pencils or paperclips, or ones with just bits of paper.
(By the way, I’ve never seen the Present and Correct paperclip calendar available, it must sell out November 1st, but I take such joy from their web shop anyway.)
I mentioned in my homeschool newsletter last week that Wednesdays are peak-energy days for us. From the earliest crest of morning I am loading up the car with all sorts of things for the class I teach, reminding the girls not to forget their things, changing Esme into new, post-breakfast clothes and for once washing her face well, packing a group lunch and separate snacks, jumping into the car with my coffee half drank and chilled (but preciously, preciously saved for the drive). The day carries on in this way like a merry rattling wooden cart driving through a parade until we pull back in to our drive around 5pm and spill out, papers and crafts asunder, into Joe’s arms.
At which point I am ravenously hungry, tired, proud, and socially spent, already eager for 7am the next day when I won’t be getting out of bed.
In acknowledgment of the vortex of Wednesday, I’ve been treating myself (the cook) and us (the collective household) by making its dinner the night before. I make it alongside whatever I’m making Tuesday night. It’s twice the dishes, twice the sizzling pans on the stove, and often feels it, but then two dinners are done.
I’ve been making: Dorie Greenspan’s mediterranean shepherd’s pie.
My friend Rachel is the only person I know who has lived the capsule wardrobe philosophy for years. She wears simple colors in gorgeous trendy silhouettes and mixes them with one or two bottoms. She buys higher-end items and resells them while they are still in excellent condition for their next owner. Before I met her, I honestly didn’t believe that there were people who actually pulled that off.
She has also worked remotely for over eight years and is one of the few women that I know who does her work each day, and then logs off. No guilt, no second-guessing the day. I so admire this!
This September we were in Maine together and she had already started wearing turtlenecks (whilst remote working on the porch, with a glass of lunch wine). I realized this might be my window into the clean lines of the capsule mind. She agreed to share her favorites! Here they are…
Turtlenecks have sustained the test of time. My mom recently sent me my kindergarten school picture. Guess what I was wearing? A turtleneck! Guess what I am wearing right now? A turtleneck! Between the months of October through April, you will find me in a turtleneck. Now that I think of it I wear mock-neck tanks in the summer. Something about the cut feels sophisticated, chic, and slimming (because I can easily cover my double chin!)
Growing up in Southern California, I would seize every opportunity I could to wear a turtleneck during “winter” (78 degrees in the dead of January), but when I moved to New York City turtlenecks became a necessity. 7 years later I’m writing blog posts about them. What is life!
This post will mostly be a highlight reel of my favorite turtlenecks, places to find quality turtlenecks and the best material to look for when purchasing your own sacred turtleneck. I also want to highlight how available some of these more expensive pieces are secondhand. I have bought the majority of my higher quality cashmere and wool winter staples from Poshmark + Noihsaf Bazaar. The beauty of buying high quality pieces is that you can resell them listed as “worn once” when really they were worn 150 times… but who could ever tell! I have a capsule wardrobe so I cycle through 15 pieces of clothing per season, so buying quality fabrics is important to me and my closet that is only 2 feet wide.
The last thing that I think is very important to note is that turtlenecks can also double as a mask. Two birds, one turtleneck!
I’ve been checking travel guides out of the library. I love the thorough, encyclopedic nature of them. I love the way you can flip around, end up in a new Arizona city, and to read it about for a paragraph. I love the way I can read a concise page when I catch a few moments on the couch by myself.
I love the bright blue boxes offset from the rest of the text, summarizing a deeper topic. I love the way guidebooks feel parental, like shepherds. Concerned, but chipper.
Today’s post is going to be a little bit different. We’re going to talk about shopping secondhand and vintage, specially on eBay. I could spend an embarrassing amount of time pursuing eBay and Etsy for vintage. It’s thrilling for me and since I can’t add much more to my own closet I end up sending links to people I know telling them to buy this sweater/coat/boots, etc. Part of me is hesitant to give away my shopping secrets but the truer, purer part of me loves knowing someone found something great that they love and will wear, at a fraction of a new retail price. Shopping secondhand is good for the earth, your wallet, and once you get into it, you get a real high from it! Or at least I do. 🙂
I’m going to narrow today’s conversation to sweaters because they are one of my favorite things to buy secondhand. The sizing and fit is flexible which makes it a great starting point to buying vintage–there is not a lot of loss or risk involved. Referring to our sizing conversation from post #1: Don’t be afraid to buy two or three sizes up from your normal size! Knitwear is great oversized.
Some items might have small imperfections, I say: embrace them. I’m not looking for 100% perfect condition when I’m shopping secondhand, it has a history!
Everything we’ve linked is one of a kind, they are currently all available when this post went live but things move quickly!
Sam McFadden and I met when our oldest children were in the same kindergarten class at a fabulous Boston Public school. We both showed up with their younger siblings at pick-up, splitting snacks between the two and managing to watch both the playground-play and the fountain-play at the same time. Our kindergarteners became fast friends, built on a shared love of Minecraft, drawing, Star Wars and imagination.
In quick succession Sam and I both began showing up looking fatigued, queasy, and then subsequently announced/explained: pregnant.
Right around when we finished our lease on our North End apartment and moved to Vermont, Sam and her husband Aaron made the decision to follow a lifelong daydream and move their family onto a sailboat. They have been living and homeschooling on their 42′ boat since last year. After watching them spend this past summer sailing around Maine’s harbors, I had to follow up with her and ask a few questions about life these days!
Dear readers, a few dated elements of my old theme broke last week. So I am reconstructing and reimagining this blog space. It’s not perfect yet. But seasonal footwear goes on, and we have a few favorites from my sister Joanie this week. Thank you Joanie!
Okay, let’s do fall/winter footwear! Yes, I live in Los Angeles but I take several cold/snow trips every year to Michigan, New York and Colorado so I’m well versed in the subject. I have to keep my shoe lineup tight as I’m generally packing things in a suitcase and don’t have a ton of room. When I’m traveling, I like to bring one boot with a stacked heel that I can wear with pants or a dress with tights, one all weather boot that’s waterproof and a boot that’s weather appropriate but maybe a bit more stylish for when it’s cold but not sleeting or snowing.
Something that took me way too many years to learn is that when you’re investing in a boot or a shoe, take it to a cobbler and get the sole and heel re-enforced before wearing them. It will add a lot of life to your boots and also prevent you from having to do damage control down the line when you wear a hole in the sole. Many fall/winter shoes are expensive and should last you for years. Properly caring for them from the minute you buy them will help. This doesn’t apply to rubber soles, but ones like the Madewell or Everlane pairs below.
October, a strange kingdom wherein I try to begin to care about the indoors–organizing, giving away, ordering shoes, check socks sizes. But the outdoors is still the most rewarding and wonderful. There has been weeks of drought here, so I took a chance and left the bedsheets on the line overnight. It rained for the first time in weeks!
a few things to share…
This week’s style advice column written by my sister Joanie. Most links are affiliate. Thank you Joanie!
Rachael has made a request for a denim post, which is coming, but before then we’re going to cover something that I would argue is even more basic than denim and that’s the t-shirt. They can be the workhorse of your closet and something that goes with everything from a pencil skirt to your favorite pair of sweats.
Remember the sizing discussion we had last time? That applies to this area as well. There is a time and place for the fitted tee and also for a gently oversized one. There is something very chic about a fitted skirt or pair of jeans with a loosely tucked in t-shirt that falls slightly open at the neck. It makes your whole outfit more comfortable which in turn makes you feel better in it which is really the most important part. The #1 key to anything looking good is that you feel good in it. We’ve all (or maybe it’s just me?!) worn those outfits that required constant pulling and tugging and making sure the hem isn’t flying up or the button isn’t gapping and even if it’s this seasons Gucci dress there is nothing stylish about an outfit that requires constant pulling, tucking or tugging. You have to want to be wearing what you’re wearing, that’s really the biggest part of style.
So if you find a t-shirt you love, buy two and start wearing them with everything. I think, as a foundation, you should have a white, black, grey and striped t-shirt in your closet. Those four will cover most of your needs. And then once you have those you can start adding in other options, like a graphic t-shirt or variations of a white tee. A short sleeve t-shirt is a year round item
One note on t-shirts that might be slightly see through, I recommend wearing them a white bra. I think it’s chicer than a nude bra but that’s just personal preference.
Also, I’m going to suggest a couple of t-shirts that will probably seem way over priced. Reason being, I have a couple of $50 tees that have lasted me years and that I truly wear several times a week which makes cost per wear pennies.
Here are my picks!
Foamed milk. I was reminded of the glory in a pan of warmed foamed milk with a touch of sugar when we stayed overnight with friends recently. There is something about the shared collective milk pan, tipped to top off each mug, a few extra moments of effort to make a cozy cup of coffee. Laura used a dansk butter warmer to do it on the on the stove, so cheery, and a basic $12 frother.
Getting better at toasting pumpkin seeds. Ideally making them taste like they’ve actually been toasted. Will defer to Heidi on this one.