Well, here I am, a new Mom to a beautiful baby boy who my husband made it back from deployment just in time to see born!! Phew! We had 3 solid months together as a family of 3 (+1 fur baby) and it was the absolute best. I am currently back to work after my maternity leave and just had to say "sea you later" to my husband who had to deploy once again. It was very hard this time to see him go, especially with the new addition to our family. Because of the nature of this deployment, we had to have tough conversations that made me thankful that our son is too young to understand where Daddy is going and what he is doing. This will be his last deployment, so positive is the vibe I will be carrying until his boots touch the ground where I can see them.
It is best not to dwell so instead I turn my attention to linear art. I find Linear art to be very calming. The simplicity it holds especially when paired with a fresh splash of color could entice me to stare at it all day if I had the choice. Last night, during the 30 minutes of free time I had to myself (haha!) I doodled a little. and added a thought. Just something simple to calm and refocus my mind. "Guerrier de la mer" is French for Warrior of the Sea. May my husband have fair winds and following seas. (and come home ASAP!).
I took a hiatus from broadcasting my personal and professional thoughts because the last 8 months have been a bit of a blur personally. My husband and I are expecting our first child, a baby boy, in early December. HOLY CRAP. It feels weirdly real when I actually say it out loud.
Back in March, my husband and I galavanted off the grid for a long weekend in Old Montreal to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary, and also hit as many champagneries as possible. We had talked about having children before, but this time, I took a look at his new deployment schedule for the upcoming year, and saw that I would only actually be seeing my husband for less than 3 months out of the 2017 year. I remember telling him, "I don't think I can do this without you. We have to wait." So we cheersed with our 24 carot gold flaked champagne that a good friend gave us as a wedding gift, and said, we can wait. Two weeks later I took a pregnancy test just to make sure there was no chance I was pregnant. My husband was about to deploy and I did not want to find out I was pregnant while he was gone. I got up in the morning and peed on the stick. I left it in the bathroom in a fit giggles (because it was weird) and jumped back into bed and told my husband, "you go look." I was sure as shit that nothing would happen. When he came back into the room, his face was not what I was expecting. He was literally beaming ear to ear and I could tell he was not messing with me. I screamed, "MATT WHAT!?" in literal sheer terror. And he said, "we are pregnant." My heart sank and I immediately started balling my eyes out. I was in complete shock and terrified because my husband was about to deploy in a matter of days and I all of a sudden felt like I was on an island and completely alone. A flood of thoughts went through my head - how was I going to do this without my husband? This is just like the movies. What about my career? I can't have wine? What am I supposed to do now? How am I going to be a Mom? What's going to happen to my body? I have to go through this without my other half? We are going to be parents? Why is he crying tears of joy and I am devastated? Am I a horrible person? Women are always told, pregnancy is a beautiful thing, it is the happiest time of your life. Well, honestly, it wasn't for me in the beginning but I eventually got there. When the doctor confirmed our pregnancy, I was scared and felt alone. I was sick 24 hours a day for 5 months straight and lost weight. I ended up in the ER with hives head to toe and had concerns of placenta previa. All while my only communication with my husband was spotty emails and shitty phonecalls from Oceans away. Once I got past the sickness, my clothes started to not fit. I hate the word "maternity" and didn't want to buy maternity clothes. I cried when my favorite pair of skinny jeans made me feel like an encased sausage and left my legs swollen after I took them off after work. I couldn't work out or run because of previa concerns so I felt like I had no outlet. I had also started a new job very early on in my pregnancy and wasn't ready to tell them I was pregnant so I had to hide it. My husband missed hearing the heartbeat and the first ultrasounds early on, my Mom and Dad came with me to my appointments but it wasn't the same. Everyone kept telling me, "you make it look so easy" ... but it was not one bit easy. Just like everything else, these feelings did pass and I pulled myself out of my rut, embraced my baby bump and focused on my new job., I'm sharing my personal thoughts in an effort to be transparent because no one talks about the negative side of being pregnant, and I felt negative for months - that's a long time for someone who is usually optimistic. Transparency can be weird, offensive and/or helpful depending on who you are. Pregnancy related things aside, Transparency is totally in style right now and I think it's weirdly awesome and it totally makes me happy. And that's what we're all here for, am I right?
If you grew up in New England like I did, you are used to this rollar coaster ride of weather and emotions as it becomes 65 and sunny and then rudely dumps a foot of wet snow on your doorstep the next day. I thought we were done, Winter? I personally start to get weird this time of year because I want to skip Spring (after my birthday obvi) and go right to Summer. Also, my husband is about to deploy again, he usually gets to miss out on the feet of snow we get, spring snow showers, and May flowers. Instead of let all of these things bring me down, I have to stay up, and embrace Spring the only way I know how - through my wardrobe. If there is one thing I have learned in celebrating our first year of marriage, and my first year surviving as a Military Spouse, is that I am VERY lucky that my career parallels my passion for fashion, I literally feel a tingle in my heart when I see a good French Terry Knit or a Nep flecked Pima. And, I get to focus everyday on what I love, especially since my first love is gone for more than half of the year. Speaking of textile tingles, there are a few fabrics/styles that i've added to my Spring Wardrobe Need list:
1.Adorable graphic tee. 2.Distressed jean shorts, a must. 3.Twist back sweater: I love it. 4.Bell sleeve top, not sure how I initially felt about it, but now I need it. 5.Heavy Gauge grey sweater, for basically all New England seasons. 6.Comfy romper just because. I'll be over here online stalking all of the above.
Bomber Jackets are a cool classic that have made their way back from uniform must haves for WW2 Fighter Pilots, protecting them from a chilly cockpit, to this seasons hottest item. I've seen them in leather, satin, athletic-style, varsity-style, and in an array of lightweight fabrics. I hadn't found one that I absolutely love yet, and was trying not to buy myself anything this close to Christmas. But earlier this week, I fell in love with this high pile fleece bomber with yarn dye rib cuffs hem, and collar by Hem & Thread.
It was a purchase-upon-seeing situation at a little boutique in Downtown Portsmouth called Juliette Lovely's. The inside of the jacket and pockets are cotton lined with a super cute and dainty flower print. I admittedly wore it twice this week, since I worked out of two different offices, and no part of me is ashamed. Plus, back to back compliments. I paired it with light skinny jeans, an off white blouse, tassel necklace, and heels the first time, and dark skinny jeans, knee high boots, and a longline plaid button down the second time. Dress it up or down, it is soft and warm AF, and is the perfect winter white. Now for real, curbing my spending for a bit.
I've said it before and I will say it again, when it comes to buying myself things, I can be super impulsive. This year, Burgandy is the IT color, so I of course bought everything possible in the color and repeatedly have had the same Burgandy color manicure. I can't stop, I just get obsessed and I have a one track mind when it comes to color and prints. I need them all, it's just who I am.
Marble is one of those prints that has really been on my mind lately. There is just something about the natural crispness of a marble print that is beautiful to me no matter how it is used. The print has permeated the fashion world, tech market, and has even made its way to athletic wear. This is the right time of season to be flaunting those winter whites. Love love love.
Summer is flying by, I woke up this morning and realized August is literally next week. I am not ready for Summer to be over by any means and all I want to talk about is my obsession with round towels. So humor me. I pretty much never want to use a normal french terry beach towel ever again, because I am THAT committed to my ever-so-chic bohemian accessory. It's really very simple, I was void of inspiration one day so I went where anyone would go when feeling uninspired: Instagram. I was scrolling through my feed and saw a photo of a girl on a tropical beach sitting on a pretty round printed tapestry. I googled it and came across a company called Epoch Collective. Worth it all day, every day, all Summer if you ask me.
Amazon also has some really great options that are a little more affordable. I have brought my round towel to the Dominican Republic and to Costa Rica for our Honeymoon, so I can attest to it making a good blanket on the plane as well. Definitely one of my most favorite accessories for Summer of twenty sixteen by far. I suggest to invest.
Lately I have been obsessed with the Pineapple trend...yes, a fruit can be trendy! The Pineapple actually has more meaning than just being a trend right and delicious fruit, which could possibly be why I want to decorate our entire sweet little home with them, not excluding my wardrobe. The Pineapple became a symbol of hospitality in early America when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and landed on the Caribbean islands. He found that the natives there would hang Pineapples in front of their doors to show that they welcomed strangers into their homes. The trend sailed back to America and thus the Pineapple was dubbed a universal sign of hospitality, amongst other meanings. More importantly to me, it became tradition that when Sea Captains came home from being away at sea, a Pineapple would be placed infront of their home to symbolize their safe return. Now three years into my husbands deployments to God only knows what seas, the wait for him to come home sometimes gets shorter, but feels like it never gets easier. So why not surround myself with things that make me happy, like Pineapples? Says everyone always. These are just a few of my favorites:
I love pineapples as a home decor trend, I love them as an apparel and swimwear trend, and I love them tattooed on my husbands arm as part of his beautifully illustrated sleeve piece. They are meaningful to me in more than one way, and I love the exotic vibe they give, and if you know me, I am a sucker for all things exotic. I dare you to not want to surround yourself with this adorable and meaningful prickly fruit that has become a staple in our newly wedded lives.
I have always been a big advocate of empowering women through sport and it's awesome to see this same support trending in the apparel industry as of late. Nike being one of the most noteable brands in my humble opinion. For those of you who knew me way back in my high school years, I started my own apparel company called "Girls Rip Too." At the age of 18, I was super in to graphic design and competitive terrain park skiing and obviously thought I knew everything. I bought blank tees, hoodies, and hats from local suppliers, drew the graphics I wanted on them, and had them screen printed and embroidered locally. My first media attention with my brand was on a ski forum where I was literally torn limb from limb by a bunch of tweens in the comment section about my choice of company name, "Girls Rip Too." I got everything from "Girls Fart Too" to "Girls Rip Their Pants too" and on and on as you can imagine. Now I know how Justin Bieber feels. So much hate! I ended up changing the name of my brand because I grew up a little and realized it wasn't so marketable. I eventually let my company die a few years later because I had landed a full time position designing lingerie, and the conflict of interest was not appreciated. The brand may have fizzled out but my affinity for recognizing women in sports has not.
Females can be just as in to sports as men, infact I know some ladies that could rattle off stats faster then some men can say their own name, and win their fantasy leagues just as easy as any man could. Just because we are female, doesn't mean our fanwear and athletic representation has to be all pink and sparkly all the time, but it's nice to rep some femininity.
I have been working as an apparel designer in the sports licensing industry for 3 years now. I am responsible for designing and developing Old Time Sport's branded women's line, as well as our line of knit hats for men, women, and children. Each year as we try to integrate the color pink into the women's line, it either gets dropped down to the youth line, or gets dropped from the line altogether because we base a percentage of our designing and development decisions off of previous years sales. We rolled out an allover baby pink hoodie for women a few years ago and it completely tanked. When it's too pink, it doesn't sell. For 2016, we dropped the only pink colored active top we had down to youth girls because it looked too young for our women's line. When it's the wrong color, it looks too junior. We were stuck in the middle of wanting to use pink, and needing it to be the right shade of pink in order to appeal to our female consumer. While working on 2017 development (we develop a year in advance) I fell in love (along with the rest of the fashion world) with the current blush trend splashing the runways this Spring. Like, give me all blush everything is basically what i'm saying. Disclaimer: I only bought shoes, a scarf, a hat, and a purse in blush. That's it though I swear.
Personal retail therapy gives me visions, so I got right to sourcing some perforated pleather in a gorgeous blush color and some other blushy sweater knits and space dye fleeces from our suppliers. When my swatches came in: instant blush crush. I mean, I doubt I was the only one dying over it. As long as the women's pieces are designed to be athletic looking, with just a touch of blush detail (perforated pleather details?), the ultimate mesh of athleticism and femininity that I and our consumer have been looking for can be achieved. Will blush crush? Only time will tell. I've come a long way from my Girls Rip Too days, and people still make fart jokes to me about it, but that's totally fine because I clearly made a lasting impact. Kind of like shoulder pads.
It is the end of December and the other night I went for a run in capri pants and a tank top. I'm not sure what was more disturbing, the fact that it was warm enough to wear capri pants in December in Boston, or the fact that I could feel the hair on my ankle where I missed a spot shaving blowing in the wind. Either way, in light of the atmospheric trend of warmth currently sweeping the East Coast, I thought I would share my most favorite and appropriate accessory for the Global Warming trend : A Snood. A Snood is like a tube or infinity scarf but sits a little higher on your neck, goes over your shoulders, comes down as a cowl, and can double as a hood. Snoods come in all fabrications and shapes, but in light of the fringe trend, I knew I needed this particular one from American Eagle.The reason its my numero uno accessory for this wack weather is because I can wear a tank top (in December) with my snood and still feel like i'm dressing for "winter" but not be too hot since it's a light weight knit. Also, it goes with just about everything. The snood first caught my eye a few months ago and I told myself, it is not cold, I don't need one yet, I have like 7 billion scarves. I eventually gave in on Black Friday and decided that my future needs included one in every hue. The color that ultimately stole my heart is sold as 'Teal', but it's more of a dark navy with a hint of green, none the less, goes with everything. My coworker bought a charcoal one while we were trend shopping because let's be serious, what apparel professional doesn't end up buying themselves something while on a company trend shop trip? Guilty. Anyway, we both showed up one day to meetings unbeknownst wearing our snoods. She sported hers over a blazer and I wore mine with a boxy drop tail tunic. We looked so versatile and amazing in them, that no one even noticed we were wearing the same thing.
Like seriously, be cuter snood. And just to give you a little background on the history of the snood, they date back as far as the Middle Ages and were originally used to keep women's hair in place and back. Kind of like a hairnet, but now evolved. Snoods became popular again in Europe during World War II when the British government placed strict rations on the amount of material that could be used for making clothing. Since headscarves were not rationed, snoods became popular again and were worn to show a commitment to the war effort. Fashion always makes it's way back around and it's equally important to look back on fashion as it is to look forward. It's like the circle of life, but prettier. Basically i'm just waiting for parachute pants to be on the shelves again. So on that note, excuse me while I hibernate in my snood to avoid the snowsleetrain situation in Boston right now. #snoodlife
In light of Veterans Day, I felt inspired to talk about what it means to be successful and what it means to be a military significant other, which is a role I have been living since the day I met and fell in love with my Matthew. Matt and I recently relocated back to the East Coast from living the California Dream in March of 2015. At his current station, his boat deploys six plus months out of the year. During those six months, our communication is limited to spotty emails and if i'm the luckiest, a phone call once a month. I told him, I can handle this. I have a career in the fashion industry that I love. I have worked very hard over the past 8 years to get where I am and when he is gone, I am usually able to focus all energy into my job and separate the emotions that come along with the absence, loneliness, planning our wedding alone, and above all, missing his presence. One weekend over the Summer, I had zero plans so as if I didn't have enough alone time, I decided to take all my Glamour and InStyle magazines that were collecting dust (because Matt came home for a few weeks) to the beach, sit, sip wine, and get real with myself. I opened the first Glamour magazine that had Anna Kendrick on the front - love that girl- and went straight for the Editors note because it's always the most inspiring to me. Of course, it spoke to me like the best aged wine ever would. "Success is sometimes measured in how you make the people around you feel." I quite literally burst into tears alone at the beach with a Glamour mag and a glass of wine - picture that wouldya? It hit me; that if I am feeling SO lonely and SO miserable when my significant other is gone, I must be unsuccessful. I have suddenly gone from being independent and happy and loving my career to feeling like I was becoming this dependent, needy woman who can't be happy without her man. We're going to move a lot, so what am I going to do? I won't always work for a company that lets me pick up and go. I'm a designer, how am I supposed to feel inspired all the time when my inspiration is gone? Who am I now, how did I become her,and how am I going to pull myself out of this feeling? I ended up packing up my things and going home, thinking that a run would clear my head since it usually does. I started with the intention of doing my normal 3.1 mile loop through downtown Portsmouth but somewhere in there, my music and my thoughts got to me. I started crying while I was trying to keep pace, and I swear it was like the Forrest Gump scene, except a little bit prettier I hope. I literally felt so lost without Matt that I couldn't keep it together even while I was doing the things I loved. Running always makes me feel better, for me it's a stress reliever and it clears my head instantly. This time was different. I was crying so ugly that I ran straight through downtown to the beach and stopped only a split second to dump my iPhone and bright pink, oversized SkullCandy headphones in the sand and jumped in the ocean in all my clothes, socks, and running shoes. I needed it. I needed that clarity to get my head in the right place. And let's be serious, I could have jumped in the water while I was at the beach earlier- when I was in proper beach attire, but I am never one to follow rules. It was in that moment of despair and slight embarrassment from onlookers that I realized something as I walked out of the water fully clothed and soaking wet. Matt is who motivates me, Matt is who pushes me to be the best I can be, Matt is who inspires me. "Success is sometimes measured in how you make the people around you feel." Matt makes me feel wonderful. Matt suffers too when he's deployed. He's on a steel boat unable to see land for the better part of the year, he's saving lives, performing drug interdictions, stopping illegal immigrants, and staying up until all hours of the night to ensure that our Nation is protected from Land to Sea. Matt feels alone too and separated from me and our life and our dog. Matt comes home and doesn't feel comfortable in our own home because he's been gone so long. We both have different emotions when he deploys but they end up being the same. We've been separated for almost half our relationship and there are times like I just described where I go nuts. And then there are the times when I write Matt emails 5 times a day that are all inclusive - like dude, guess what I ate today- shameful. And I write him letters as if they are written by our dog, Nyia. I send him photos and created a Vine account so he doesn't miss every. thing. He takes all of the time he can spare and puts it towards writing me something that makes me laugh, or when he has enough internet access, sends me a dozen roses at work or orders me slippers and a throw for our couch when the seasons changed to not-so-California-like weather. So, what I am getting at is, if success is measured in how you make the people around you feel, than we are a successful couple, both personally and professionally. I couldn't be more proud of Matt for his time in the Marine Corp, the 2 tours he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his current active duty status. He always goes above and beyond to help others, and always finds time to make me feel like I am not alone and like I can achieve anything. He is my most favorite Veteran, and I will be just fine as long as I have him by my side (figuratively and literally). When you think about Veterans Day going forward, think about what you're really thanking your Veterans for.