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Archive for September 22nd, 2011

Taking lessons

22 Sep

{ daily outfit: }

Daily outfits and style tips, mixing patterns wearing red skirt, red striped top

{ personal: }

I’m certain that my husband has an advanced degree in relaxing. Chillin’. Chillaxin’. Call it what you will, he’s got it down and I could learn a thing or two from him. When I lived in the Upper Haight in San Francisco I had a routine. I worked from home and would leave the house every afternoon to walk to the store and buy a cookie. I really did this for years. What can I say, I like a routine. Three blocks each way, one cookie and fresh produce for dinner. I would cross the panhandle, slowly, taking it all in; the dogs, the cyclists, friendly faces and neighbors.

I also started my day with a soy latté just around the corner, journaling and daydreaming. I spent an hour in the quiet hush of early morning orders by myself documenting every thought and emotion, turning stream of consciousness into poetry, day after day. My neighborhood cafe played great music, I rediscovered my love for electronic music. I once told a group of somewhat younger women about my morning routine. “You must really love yourself,” one said. Actually, yes.

Fast forward ten years. I no longer work from home. I have very little control over the kind of demands making their way across my day; I have some control over how I deal with the stress. Running, sometimes a drink after work, sometimes not. The most draining days require prescription strength television watching. We don’t even have cable. My husband and I met at work and carpool together, sharing one car. The routine is gone. It’s been replaced with coordinating schedules, grocery shopping, laundry days. Oh, and blogging.

I was washing the first batch of dusty Burning Man bins on Sunday when said husband exclaimed that he was going to chill for a while, complete with beer in hand. Envious, perhaps, I asked if he hadn’t just been relaxing. (This conversation can now go two ways.) Yes! He was going to relax again he proudly announced. He asked me to join him. Uncharacteristically, I put down what I was doing and grabbed my own beer. We sat and appreciated the million dollar view we’ve been blessed with and listened to hummingbirds whir.

View of San Francisco Bay from Oakland hills

LIke I said, I could learn a thing or two. The impressive stack of laundry that needs to be put away sitting in the back room is not going anywhere. Does it matter if I deprive myself of relaxing with my best friend only to put it away three days earlier? Of course it doesn’t. What matters is this: Carpe Diem. When I’m relaxed I photograph better. I write better. I dress myself better. I’m more creative. I’m nicer to myself and everyone around me. I would bet money that I will age less quickly if I subscribe to my husband’s plan. He’s not lazy. He gets things done. I try to get even more done and then beat myself up for not having done enough. I must be taking funny pills because that kind of math does not add up, does it?

Daily outfits and style tips, mixing patterns wearing red skirt, red striped top

What you see above is proof, actual photographic proof, that I came home tonight, popped open a hard cider and enjoyed our warm summer evening. After a day of such intense pattern mixing who wouldn’t need to unwind?

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Ah, mixing patterns. The old taboo. This one is not always easy to pull off. It’s easier when there are elements in common. In this case, the color red and the graphic nature of the clovers versus the stripes worked. One didn’t overpower the other which kept the outfit balanced, this is key. There are many tips out there on how to do this well. The Chic Fashionista has some good advice.

Don’t be afraid to give it a shot, it takes guts to step outside our comfort zones. There will be misses but there are sure to be hits, too.

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Red clover skirt/Urban Outfitters, striped shirt/Michael Kors, daisy ring/Hatch, red leather cuff watch/Nixon, red jacket/Precious Boutique, black sandals/Dansko

{ giveaway: } 

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway. I’ve got a lightweight scarf straight from Paris just begging to go home with you. Male or female, it matters not. This scarf is genderless and will flatter everyone. Check out The House in the Clouds on facebook to enter.