Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wedges are what the Doctor ordered

Made in USA: 1: Julie Bee's // 2: Nanette Lepore // 3: Nanette Lepore // 4: Cordani

I hate wedges. There, I said it. Okay, hate is a strong word. I hate Crocs. I have strong lukewarm feelings about wedges. They aren't my least favorite heel type (see previous statement about Crocs), but they just don't excite me the way a pair of stilettos or chunky heel does. 

However, since I've been wearing my beloved hated plantar fasciitis boot nearly every available second I've been home the past two weeks it's safe to say it's that time of the year again where I have to give up my favorite type of heels. And before you get all "just wear flats you idiot!" on me please note that a licensed doctor actually said that flats are NOT GOOD for those with plantar fasciitis! Something about letting the fluid build up in one's heel. Wedges, on the other hand, are the ideal shoe type for those suffering with PF.

With that being said, I'm on the hunt for a pair of wedges that I can wear to work and after hours. In brutal honest talk, I wasn't overly impressed with the pump options in the American made category. Booties - done! Julie Bee's and Nanette Lepore have got me covered. If I can't find made in the USA footwear that I love then I look to the Italian options. And man did I like what I found. Honestly, I can't pick a favorite, but those Acne Studios, Anyi Li, and Aquatalia by Marvin K. wedges pulled at my heart and I'm just trying to make a rational decision.

What's your favorite wedge? Seriously, I'm in the market because I've got just about 2 months until my next marathon and 3 months until my next half marathon. I need shoes to wear outside of the house!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

American Made at Need Supply Co.

I do find as I get older I shy away from the typical brick & mortar mall stores. I think it's mainly the fear of showing up wearing the exact same thing as someone else that keeps me away from the Gap, H&M, Banana Republic, Express, Old Navy, and yes, even my former love J.Crew (who is slowly working its way back into my heart). I appreciate trends just as much as the next person, but I'm always trying to make my clothes my own, rather than a mannequin's.

I think that's why I love smaller boutique's that much more because their curated selections bring in designers I've never even heard of and definitely do not see at the mall. I've been smitten with Need Supply Co.'s selection for the past few years. They do an amazing job of bringing together the designers you know and the ones you don't. Plus, any place that has thousands of American made pieces is top-notch in my book.

Last November when I was in Richmond I had every intention of stopping by the Need Supply Co.'s actual store and I'm sorry to say I ate dinner right around the corner and literally ran by, along the marathon course, and didn't make it in. I blame the searing pain in my hip and the massive chip my pride took with my worst marathon time ever for the reason to miss visiting. That's not happening again this year. I'm definitely stopping by for a proper visit this November on race weekend.

What's your favorite boutique?

Monday, August 11, 2014

7 Years of Wedded Bliss (well, mostly)

August 11, 2007

I don't believe in luck, but I count my blessings that I met my husband. Truth be told the idea of marriage still scares me to this very day and I have difficulty grasping the concept. But, being married to my husband - well that just makes perfect sense.

Marriage, like any other relationship, is constant work. There are easy months and then there are really hard moments that make you question everything in the world all the way to your core. The key is finding balance between the two extremes, unless of course you can find a drama-free life and if that is the case please share your secrets.

Over the past 7 years of marriage the hubs and I have come up with a few observations of our own:

Keep the fights clean. My husband doesn't swear and yet even when I've done my absolute worst he hasn't said anything to me that can't be repeated in a Disney cartoon. That level of decency provides a safety net during disagreements where we can actually discuss our differences without descending in pure madness. Oh trust me, I'm a ginger with a German temper to boot and I can fly off the handle like a psycho, but our fights are clean.

Support each other, don't suffocate each other. For the love of all things please have a few separate hobbies. Do your own thing and enjoy some time apart from each other. Take a few vacations here and there with friends and without your partner. My husband hates running, yet he will show up at a few of my races and be supportive. And I might think his video games are stupid, but I buy him Madden and MLB The Show every time a new version comes out (hey, at least I get brownie points for buying the games!).  It's really nice asking each other "how was your day?" and getting to share stories. That doesn't happen if you spend every second together.

Go to bed angry. Dumbest advice ever is to never go to bed angry. I don't know about you, but I make really bad decisions when I'm angry + tired. This goes back to tip number 1, but sometimes the very best thing is a few hours of sleep (I won't say a decent night of sleep because let's be honest that's not happening if you're ticked off).

Compromise better. We try not to compromise in the traditional sense - instead we rotate who gets to pick what. If we're splitting a dinner and a movie one of us gets to pick dinner and the other the movie. I picked the granite and stove in our kitchen and he got the backsplash, dishwasher,  and microwave. We rotate whose day or month it is based on each other priorities. That way we don't have to settle for some lukewarm, middle ground and instead each of us gets what we really wanted. Again, we struggle with time to time with finding the balance, but overall this works exceptionally well for us.

No one is perfect. I repeat that to myself every time I get angry or upset with my husband. Sometimes I remember the last thing I did that frustrated him just to remind myself that I'm no peach 100% of the time.

Don't compare your behind the scenes with anyone else's filtered life. In today's social media world it's really easy to get caught up in the hoopla of "why doesn't my life look like that?" Everyone's got problems. I repeat, everyone has problems. Think of it this way, that perfect couple you know posts one or two snippets from their life once a day. The rest of the time you have no idea what is going on behind the curtain. That gorgeous flower arrangement, "just because" might look great on Instagram, but you don't see the dirty dishes piled up, the mail collecting, the dried up tissues, and the laundry that still hasn't been put away because it's been concisely cropped out of the frame.

Challenge Each Other. The greatest moments are life are not when you settle for anything. Rather, they are when you challenge each other's every fiber and find your own way. Take advice from others and make it your own. Realize that no other couple has your unique path in life. There is no "one fits all" pill for life's happiness. You've got to fight for happiness all on your own. You might not win the battle each and every day, but think long-term.

I remember vividly when my husband and I were taking pre-marital classes. We were forming our vows and the traditional Catholic vows contain the phrase, "I will obey you." I told my soon-to-be husband I refused to say those words on our wedding day. Even after our deacon joked, "the word obey comes from Latin meaning of 'I listen.'" I told my betrothed I would listen to him, but I would not obey him. I would hear his perspective and I would respect it, but I would not follow it blindly. And that man, who knew my soul said, "we will not follow each other. we will race each other."

That is the path we take in life, never leading, but always sharing. That is why he is my mate in every sense of the word.

Any other tips out there? Please feel free to share them below.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

American Made Copper

I've got copper on the brain. The hubs and celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary next Monday and we're romantic saps when it comes to our anniversary. According to Hallmark Google the traditional gift ideas for the seventh anniversary are copper, wool, or desk sets. Now that we're home owners we try to buy gifts that will double as decorative pieces in our home so that we can both enjoy them. A large wool blanket sounds amazing, but every nice blanket that comes into our house has been claimed by two Boston Terriers and while we knew the pups would rather enjoy a new blanket we elected to go after something shiny for our anniversary this year.

Hence, the copper items above. I did put it out there that we should get matching copper hued sunglasses, but that idea didn't go over well.  Instead we're adding this copper tray from Jacob Bromwell to our kitchen and we can't wait.

If you're in the market for some copper, well then don't forget to give a glimpse at one of the above American Made copper pieces. My nerdy hubs told me that our copper tray will outlive us which I took to mean it should be a highly durable material.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Heels for Beer

Made in USA: Blazer: Helmut Lang // Jeans: James Jeans // Blouse: old Bobeau // Bag: J.W. Hulme (now 50% off!) // Necklace: old Spike the Punch // Nails: Essie 'Naughty Nautical
Imported: Shades: old Ray Ban // Shoes: old Jimmy Choo 

You know you're a heel lover when people point out that you wore flats three days in a row. Sorry, I'm tired and it's getting to that point in the summer where running takes over and there will be a few weeks here and there where I just want to wear flats.

But, now that summer running season is here it brings with it one of my favorite weekly occurrences - Thursday Date Night. Can't go out on Friday nights because I run long on Saturday mornings and sometimes on Saturday nights I fall asleep randomly around 9pm. It happens. This is why iced coffee exists.

Thursday night was date night and I'll be damned if I didn't use it as an excuse to break out of a flats rut. A beer tasting was on the menu and the hubs took one look at my shoes and said, "I'll do the driving tonight." He knows how tired I've been and if I was putting on sky high heels that meant no way in heck was I driving.

We're headed to the Orioles game tonight and I'll be wearing my sneakers and acting in the role of designated driver. It's all about balance!

Heels or flats for date night - go!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

American Made Rompers

I can't explain it, but I've been inexplicably drawn to rompers lately. Not actually wearing one out of the house just yet, but I've tried on 20+ over the past month and even brought one home. The tags are still on it because I'm still stuck on "will I look like a small child when I wear this?"

And I've got this Buzzfeed list bookmarked and keep coming back to it. Safety in numbers because clearly I'm not the only one concerned about having to strip down to go to the bathroom.

Alright romper crowd - who has one? What does it look like? And how long on average is a bathroom trip?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Patio Makeover: In Progress

Two things:
  1. This patio makeover is taking FOREVER. The hubs and I thought this would be a two weekend job - three at the most. Um, no. We just gave it our fifth weekend. Although we haven't given it full weekends every weekend if that makes sense. 
  2. This patio makeover is almost DONE. Which is fantastic because I have more cuts, bruises, and bug bites on various limbs than I care to admit or contain. 

This past weekend the hubs and I banged out the last remaining pieces of the patio 
- finished the natural stone trim;
- finished removing the previous deck's anchor to the house;
- replaced the vinyl siding under our patio door and where the previous deck was attached to the house;
- re-drained our sub-pump. Oh that was a fun find. That was one of those things we couldn't figure out about our house, but never went looking for the answer, "where does our sub-pump drain?" Turns out the drain was under our old deck and it was badly designed and clogged. Awesome. We just had the sub-pump motor replaced a few months ago and we'd like to keep this new one around for a bit so this was pretty important. Thankfully the hubs is licensed to design drainage systems so this worked out nicely for us. We went above and beyond what was needed, but the drainage field is now the basis for a rock garden. 
- made a last minute decision to add formal edging to our patio. Definitely turned out to be one of the better decisions we've made thus far. 
- power washed our house and our uncovered concrete steps. The steps need another round with the power washer and then the hubs is going to fix a cracked step.

All we have left is to add locking stand and fix a few loose pavers. We just need mother nature to cooperate and give us a few days of clear skies so we can get this done after work. Of course I say what we need to do and make the assumption it's going to be easy, but if this process has told us anything is that it will be tedious, time consuming, and back breaking.