46 Before the ice is in the pools

 

Before the ice is in the pools –
Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow –

Before the fields have finished –
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder opon wonder –
Will arrive to me!

What we touch the hems of
On a summer’s day –
What is only walking
Just a bridge away –

That which sings so – speaks so –
When there’s no one here –
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858 and bound into fascicle 2.

Ah, Nature. Summer. Time. What a thrill it is to be alive!

Love and Namaste –

signature

45 I counted till they danced so – “Snow flakes.”

 

Snow flakes.

I counted till they danced so
Their slippers leaped the town –
And then I took a pencil
To note the rebels down –
And then they grew so jolly
I did resign the prig –
And ten of my once stately toes
Are marshalled for a jig!

[Emily Dickinson]

Written late 1858, in Fascicle 2 – the first of three poems to have a title!

This is so sweet, so joyous – the innocence with which nature elicits joy.

Prig – a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if they are superior to others.

Peace, Love, and Namaste –

signature

30 To lose if one can find again

Written late summer 1858 on the last sheet of Fascicle I – just one more little poem in this group and we sojourn onward! But today’s is a gem, and I am relishing this journey. Savor this one with me –

 

To lose – if One can find again –
To miss – if One shall meet –
The Burglar cannot rob – then –
The Broker cannot cheat.
So build the hillocks gaily –
Thou little spade of mine
Leaving nooks for Daisy
And for Columbine –
You and I the secret
Of the Crocus know –
Let us chant it softly –
There is no more snow”!

[Emily Dickinson]

Let me encourage you to spend a bit of time with these poems – often it takes several readings for me to absorb the full weight of her words, and even then I’m sure there’s more. That’s what I love about her poetry: it provides a challenge. Let yourself see everything as a metaphor, every word as an image – wander, play, experiment. Create your own adventure.

Love –

signature

 

90s Mini Dress

Nothing like a little 90s flair, eh? I found this pinstriped dress at a thrift store – originally almost floor length and accompanied by a long matching blazer. It’s heavy polyester – from a classic power suit in its initial form.

90s pinstriped mini dress style

The length didn’t quite suit me, so I tore off the bottom. When I tear my dresses and skirts, I often make them too short accidentally. However, there’s no going back, and I couldn’t part with this! So it’s primarily a winter dress – the heavy material suits the cold, and it layers wonderfully with a long sleeve shirt and tights.

pinstriped 90s dress style headscarf

The high neckline is classy, but the cut is perfectly body skimming – an excellent balance. I like to make this look a bit funky, often pairing it with a headscarf and a bold lip.

headscarf ring high neckline style

It’s subtle, but still a bit of a statement, so I keep everything around it simple. I like to add other long lines with it, mimicking the pinstripes, whether in the form of a necklace or a scarf.

pinstripe dress, high neckline, key necklace

Boots, loafers, and sneakers all work equally well – a true testament to this dress’s versatility.

90s pinstriped mini dress girl winter style

90spinstriped dress style

sneakers 90s pinstripe dress

I found some fun 90s style dresses similar to this one through ASOS marketplaceone big floral print and one small. You could also have a look on Etsy, and don’t be afraid to comb the racks of your local thrift store – these gems often take a bit of digging.

headscarf striped dress style

Love, calm, & care –

signature

 

Spring Pleats in Cold Weather

Spring is in the air! The days are getting longer, the sun shines higher in the sky, and the world feels like it’s smiling on me when I go outside. Even though temperatures here are still flirting with freezing, I’m ready. I feel the energy, the spark, the excitement of spring – this time when the world comes back to life, people leave their homes, and the outdoors become as comfortable as indoors.

I adore this time of year, and it’s making me want to gallivant around in multi-colored tank tops and sundresses. The weather won’t permit this, however, so I’m left to find a way. I want color. I want lighter materials. But I still have to be warm; this pleated skirt provides the perfect solution. I’ve had it for years, but pleats are hot right now, so I guess it’s better than ever.

pleated skirt style

I can still wear it with boots and my super warm tights if I need to, but it has the flirty, floaty spirit of spring time.

pleated skirt style

Originally a dress, I didn’t like the drape of it, so I tucked in the straps and made myself an adjustable waist.

pleated skirt dress hack style

I used to use safety pins, but I got sick of undoing and redoing them every time I took it on or off, so I found two buttons from another shirt I was getting rid of and a little black ribbon from one of those superfluous loops sewn into the shoulder of a shirt, whipped out my mini sewing kit, and sewed it all together.

dress to skirt style hack

I can tighten or loosen it depending on how I want it to hang and how much I’ve eaten or what time of day it is, which I love – I wish clothing companies made adjustable waist clothing for adults like they do for kids.

dress to skirt style hack

dress to skirt style hack

I wear it with the closure in the back because I like the way it hangs, but sometimes – in warmer weather especially – I’ll turn it to the side or over my hip. So versatile, I love it – I’ve even worn it as a dress over a bathing suit! The length is perfect – just in the middle of my calves. Green is one of my favorite colors, and this olive color goes with everything. Since it’s still cold, I’m rockin black, but once the flowers start blooming I’ll get crazy.

dress to skirt pleats style hack

If you want a pleated skirt of your own, go to Zara, H&M, Forever 21 – really I see these everywhere, it’s just a matter of finding one that suits you. Or, if you have a dress that isn’t quite right, try folding the top under and wearing it as a skirt – it might become your new favorite thing.

pleated skirt style

Love, calm, & care –

signature

Choosing a Winter Coat

Before winter ends, I’ve gotta talk about my coat. Black, down, puffy, beautiful; a match made in heaven.

big puffy coat

I found it in Denmark a few years ago. I was backpacking through Europe at the time and, before leaving the states, had spent a fair bit of money on a nice, versatile coat from REI. I loved that coat. And then Halloween in Berlin happened, and I found myself leaving a club with a British golf pro at 9 AM in a coat that was decidedly not mine. So, realizing the time, I gathered myself and made my train to Copenhagen, spending the journey wondering about the nights we forget and the ones we remember, and how they influence our growth respectively. Upon arrival in Denmark, in late October, en route back to Iceland and wearing a hideous, huge, and annoyingly not-warm jacket that smelled like cheap cologne, I searched for a coat.

puffy coat winter style

And look what I found! Isn’t she lovely? I remember being shocked at how cheap it was, but it was perfect – simple, sleek, functional, comfortable. I can wear it literally over anything, from dressed up pajamas to a fancy formal dress. I like the length because it works just as well with skinny pants as it does with a full skirt. The zipper, just for kicks, can zip my entire face away inside the brilliantly massive hood. I’ve worn this skiing and traveling and dancing and through the sub-zero Siberian winter of Harbin, and I have stayed warm. And I like to think I looked pretty fresh, too.

A coat is an important piece in a wardrobe. I came upon this one by chance and, until moving to Harbin, would only wear it on the coldest of cold days in Colorado. Using it daily here, I’ve been continually reminded of what a fantastic coat it is – but what makes a fantastic coat?

A coat, above all, is functional – it should keep you warm. Down does this most dependably, but wool and fur work as well if you don’t want to look like a marshmallow. But sometimes you need the warmth. Consider length, color, and style.

coat puffy winter style

Length – many coats hit around your thigh, and some go as low as the calf. What works best for you, what works with the clothes you own already? Or maybe the questions is what can you afford, and, as you can see, I got the cheapest option.

puffy coat winter style

As color goes, keep thinking about your current wardrobe. A coat needs to go with absolutely everything, so black is the easiest color to fit in with what you rock regularly. But maybe blush pink matches everything you own, or white, or brown – just don’t go buying a magenta coat that looks ridiculous over your favorite chocolate brown corduroys.

Finally, style. Do you want a coat with a cinched waist? A fur-trimmed hood? Bell sleeves? The options range as far as you can click your way into online stores, and I figure Burlington Coat Factory and Overstock.com are good places to start, but Google your vision

puffy coat winter style

Maybe you’ve spent this entire winter dreaming of a new coat and unable to afford one. Well, good news, kids, now is the time to buy! Coats everywhere will be on clearance as stores clear room for bathing suits, so make your way to the mall and get yourself excited about next winter.

Love, calm, & care –

signature

Sweatpants. Anywhere.

Who doesn’t want to leave the house in sweatpants? You’re lying if you don’t – they’re a dream. And aren’t we lucky, they’ve somehow become stylish. Personally, I am all in on taking advantage of it. I found this pair at Forever 21 for just ten dollars, and the selection was ample. Jogger sweatpants are so hot right now you could find them at Wal-Mart in exactly the style and color that suit you.

classy sweater comfy sweatpants winter girl style

classy top cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I went for pink. It’s a nice 90s dusty rose kind of shade, which plays nicely with most of my clothes – blacks, burgundies, corals, oranges – and I generally prefer to wear black tops with funky bottoms, although I do have a couple more wild shirts like the brocade you see here.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

As sweatpants, these are powerfully comfortable. They’re also versatile – just wait for the summer post. Still bangin. Here in Siberia, I do have to layer them with leggings or tights to stay warm, but can you even tell?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

I’ve posted photos before of these paired with a pajama top – my cozy Christmas outfit. Here I’ve got three other options.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Start simple – these pants can sing, so let them. They rock well with a black t-shirt, boots, and a hat – perfect for when you don’t leave yourself enough time to get ready or just don’t feel like putting clothes on but have to go to work and haven’t washed your hair in far too long. This is the ultimate lazy person’s outfit.

t-shirt, hat, sweatpants winter girl style

Next we have this Victorian looking gem – a bit more elevated, like the next one. Something about the casual nature of sweatpants makes me want to class it up on top, and what says classy more than a high necked top made out of brocade?

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

If anything can top the brocade, it’s this sweater – classy as hell, right? Boots in all three of these outfits keep it grounded – comfy, but still utilitarian.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Comfort and class, united in three outfits – what could be better? Sweatpants are now acceptable attire for work, for school, for errands, for life outside the house – with a single caveat. Style them appropriately. If this didn’t help you on that front, I don’t know what will, so now that you’re equipped, bust out those sweats. I hear Chancho has an extra pair. Stay cozy.

classy sweater cozy sweatpants winter girl style

Love, calm, & care –

signature

 

 

Winter Mini Skirts and Sex Appeal

Ah winter, a time when the legs must always be covered and skirts seem inaccessible. But are they really? My tweed mini skirt is designated solely as a winter skirt – I don’t wear it unless there’s snow on the ground. Why? It’s too short to wear without tights, the fabric is too heavy for summer, and it’s black and white – my primary winter color combo.

I found this skirt at a thrift store for a couple dollars. It’s originally Forever 21. I like the metallic threads woven through it, and it’s a nice weight – balancing the short length well for cold weather.

close up wool mini skirt

I think we can all agree that sexy becomes difficult in winter. Yes, it’s a way of carrying yourself that flows from an internal well of self-love, but, in clothing, it’s typically considered form-fitting and skin-baring. If this is a part of your style, winter can feel confusing, even stifling. Sometimes all I want is to wear a sleeveless crop top! But alas, my abs freeze with the slightest chill in the air, so I’m left to other means. This skirt, like my leather one, is the perfect combination of cute and sexy. It’s not too much, but it’s fitted, high-waisted, short – just the right dose of winter sex appeal. And, depending on how I style it, I can raise that up or down.

winter wool tweed mini skirt

If I only feel like being comfortable, I throw a roomy flannel over it – it’s more cute than anything since I’m mixing patterns and wearing a massive shirt. And, most importantly, I’m comfortable. And warm.

flannel and winter mini skirt

Medium appeal – a fitted t-shirt, layered with a beanie and, when I get cold, my scarf and cashmere sweater. I would describe this as relaxed sexy, if anything. I’m comfortable, I’m wearing a beanie and sneakers, my body is covered, but I’m wearing a mini skirt and I love it.

winter mini skirt comfortable sexy cool

If you’re not sure about how to stay warm in a skirt or what type of tights to wear, check out this post I wrote a couple months ago. It’s easier than you think.

winter pattern mixing sweater with mini skirt

For a little more, I pair it with a v-neck sweater. Even this is relaxed and adorable because I’m comfortable, I’m warm, and the sweater is kinda long – I like to balance emphases in this way. Since my chest is bare, my waist is a bit obscured. I am teaching children in these outfits, after all.

tweed mini skirt winter sex appeal

So I didn’t get crazy with sex appeal here, but honestly I never do – that’s not my style. And I’m not trying to impress anyone. At least now you know a mini skirt is possible this time of year and, if you’ve got a hot date for Valentine’s day, pop a lacy leotard under your skirt, pair it with some over the knee boots and a bold lip, and you’re set. My date is with myself in a gorgeous Chinese coffee shop, so I will be wearing this because I can –

YOLO hat, comfortable sweatpants, relaxed winter style

I found a couple winter wool mini skirt options online – a J Crew skirt on Tradesy that has some fun color to it and a black and white H&M one on Poshmark. Stay strong, friends, we’ve got a month or two left in winter and then we can toss out the tights! In the meantime, buy yourself some flowers and be your own valentine, because you deserve all the love in the world and it starts flowing when you give it to your self.

Valentine's Day roses self-love

Love, calm, & care –

signature

 

 

 

Cocoon Sweater

I love wearing black in the winter. Excessive color just seems wrong to me this time of year – I take a cue from nature, and let the color fade out of my wardrobe, blanketing myself in cozy neutrals. It’s easy and comfortable, and makes getting dressed a breeze. One of my favorite winter pieces is my big black cocoon sweater.

I found it at a thrift store a few years ago – the tag says 22W, so it’s massively oversized, and that’s what makes is so ideal. I can layer a shirt underneath if it’s really cold, but, even in these subzero temps, that’s hardly necessary. It’s roomy and soft, like wearing a hug, and it works with any pair of leggings or skinny pants in my closet.

cozy black sweater winter style

The sleeves hang low, giving it that safe cocoon feel, and the neck is fitted without being constricting. There’s a little zipper up the back to give it an extra bit of polish – zipping up a sweater feels far more fancy than just pulling it over your head.

sweater neckline zipper

I can throw on my loafers for a pedagogical look –

teacher loafers black sweater winter style

Or boots and leather leggings for a bit more swag –

maroon leather leggings winter style

Or if I just need to run out of my house to the market or something quick, it’s the easiest thing to reach for to be dressed in a hurry. Stay warm!

Love, calm & care –

signature

 

Leaning In to Winter Blues

Ah, February, the month of international depression. The time when winter gets real, when seasonal adjustment disorder (SAD) becomes more than just a funny acronym, and when New Year’s resolutions get thrown out the window. It seems to be a good month for a slump.

And sometimes, a slump is just the thing. Depression can seem like a looming spectre – something to be afraid of, to dread. But honestly, it can be a gift. I know it sounds crazy, but we all have phases of ups and downs in life, and the downs don’t have to be so miserable.

Maybe you’ve been pushing yourself really hard all month, taking on new responsibilities or relationships and getting exhausted – you feel yourself draining, emotionally and physically, heading for a collapse or an explosion. Notice that. You can keep your eyes open, stay aware of where you’re heading. It doesn’t have to be scary, doesn’t have to have power over you. It might feel like you’re falling, but you can catch yourself.

I’m always telling myself to “stay woke” – my words for staying aware, maintaining mindfulness, not sleeping on myself, on my emotions or moods, not forgetting that I need tending to. Because it’s when you forget, when you ignore yourself, that depression or anger or sadness will blindside you like a tsunami and sweep you along with it. But if you’re watching – if you’re staying woke – you don’t have to drown. You can just ride the wave.

abstract pen and ink drawing

I’ve learned to take depression as my body or mind telling me to take a break. I have a natural tendency to be really hard on myself, to push myself and maximize the use of all my minutes, so when I start to feel dull, I listen. I step back, watch a black and white movie, take a bath, and allow myself to enjoy the dullness instead of getting swept up in a pity party of malevolent coping mechanisms and lies.

You don’t have to listen to depression. It might tell you terrible things about yourself and the world and the people around you, but they are not true. Make lists of truths about yourself – you are capable, you are worthy, you are strong, you are beautiful, you are exactly where you need to be. One phrase I really like – the universe is for me, and so is everything else. I got it from my favorite Youtube yoga instructor, Adriene – it might seem a bit abstract or even unbelievable, but repeat it to yourself along with some deep breaths. Say it out loud. Speak it into existence. Write these truths down and hang them on your wall, say them to yourself in the mirror. Carry them in your pocket. Just because you’re depressed doesn’t mean you are worth any less.

Depression is hard, but, if you’ve experienced it before, you know that even when it seems like it will last forever, it does end. You’ve seen the clouds break and felt the sunshine beam down on you, you’ve climbed out of the pit and stood on solid ground. You’ve done it once, so have faith – you can do it again.

Trust yourself to navigate the caverns wisely, take solace in the existence of light. Even if you can’t see it right now, it’s still there, and you’ll make it out alive. Maybe even better for the experience. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and before you know it, depression isn’t quite a friend, but at least a frenemy that you don’t mind seeing now and again because you are prepared for it – you know how to treat it, and you know how to make sure it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

abstract pen and ink drawing

So welcome, February. Bring on the depression. We can handle it.

Love, calm, & care –

signature