Fashion Fridayyyy!!

Happy Fashion Friday everyone! It's the last Friday in November which meanssss it's also the last Fashion Friday for holiday party outfit ideas! #SadDay. Although who knows, I had so much fun with this theme I very well may take it into December. Maybe with a titch more sparkle to make it New Year's Eve party outfit ideas — *lightbulb* actually, yup, that's 100% happening. OKAY EVERYONE GET STOKED because the next five Fashion Fridays will be dedicated to putting outfits together for NYE!! Oooooo so excited! In the meantime, enjoy this last little holiday party number with my favoriteeee gold velvet skirt from Topshop. You know the one. 

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Sweater: My Mother | Skirt: Topshop | Shoes: DSW

We Need to Talk About Kevin Pearson. (Also Happy Thanksgiving?)

Okay, I know it’s Thanksgiving but we need to talk about Kevin Pearson. And honestly, what better day to focus on someone else’s family rather than yours for a few minutes? Exactly. Let’s dive in:

Okay so for those of you who don’t know, Kevin Pearson is a character from the hit — and I mean HIT — television show This Is Us on NBC. Before you get all “Why are we analyzing a character from a TV show, it’s just TV”, let me set you straight on something: it’s not. Television programs have the capacity to shape us in largely the same way fictional books and movies do. We see ourselves and our lives reflected in the characters and their stories — or we really don’t — and it affects how we see the world, consciously or subconsciously. That is a subject for another blog, but for now we need to treat the medium of television with respect and proceed with this character study as we would for any other medium of fiction. Oh also, spoiler alert: if you haven't watched last week’s (11/14) episode of This Is Us, I highly suggest you go watch it now and come back when you’ve stopped crying and gathered yourself off the floor.

Alright, Kevinnnnn Pearson. This guy has been a tricky one. When we’re first introduced to him, it’s as a typical LA Playboy — he’s tall, fit AF, bone structure for days, and he plays an actor starring in a bullshit sitcom but who's positive he can take on “more serious roles” (it also kinda feels like the show wants us to believe that’s probably untrue). Kevin struggles to find his groove; he comes off as vapid, self-centered, and kind of (very) annoying.

But slowly, we’ve begun to see his unraveling. It felt for a time like his life was moving forward: he moved to New York to be in an off broadway play that actually turned out to be decent, he reconnected with his high school sweetheart/ex-wife, he was starring in a movie directed by the Ron Howard.... And then during a stunt on set, an old knee injury flares up and the life he’s carefully crafted, his house of cards, comes crashing down. And as the story usually goes with all of us when our worlds collapse, in the wreckage he's forced to deal with emotions he's kept buried about painful events in his past, namely his dashed dreams of playing professional football, and the devastating loss of his father. 

He's been struggling for a little bit now but I'd say this last episode is where things really hit fever pitch. He was invited to his old high school to be honored for, I dunno, being cool or something, and it set off a series of triggers that left him drunk, alone, and begrudgingly recounting the events of his life to himself in the middle of the football field. Homie is spiraling if I ever saw it, and throughout the episode we got to see a little more into his story. 

It feels like Kevin’s whole life has been about two things: crafting the perfect image and being the sibling his parents "never had to worry about". When he’s young, we see him get easily frustrated with his brother Randall’s neuroticism and only slightly less than obvious coddling of Randall by his parents, especially his mother, Rebecca. Randall isn’t cool, and Kevin lets him know like every day. His dad is cool — at least it appears Kevin initially thinks of him that way. But as he grows, his dad starts to look less like Superman and more like a regular man, and I think Kevin distances himself because of it. In high school, we see Kevin as the starting QB on the football team, the epitome of popularity, and well on his way to a scholarship at a Division 1 school. (To really cement the image, I think it's worthy to note he's also at this point dating his elementary school sweetheart Sophie, who is a cheerleader and honestly most likely captain). As I mentioned, in adulthood he’s the LA playboy — he's got money, lives in a penthouse, sleeps with beautiful women, everything on the outside is perfectly coifed and has been for years. We’ve seen glimpses that he’s more than he lets on in sweet moments with his sister, or the fact that he really seems to deeply love Sophie and have done so since he was seven, (ALSO he's Jack Pearson’s son so there had to be something there), but until he is completely broken, we can't really see what he's about. #classic #message

The running theme I think with Kevin is his absolute incapacity to handle it when any part of his image is threatened. One night we see him walk in on his father, who suffers from alcoholism, on his knees reciting the Serenity Prayer, and the mere sight of his dad in such a posture of humility and surrender seemed to conjure extreme disgust and disdain in Kevin. It doesn’t fit his "cool" image to have a father with a weakness, and so he rejects it (and I have a strong suspicion with it, his father, which then leads to tremendous guilt when he passes, but I'm getting ahead of myself). As hard as last week's episode was to watch, I found it so heartbreakingly human and relatable. To work so hard at perfecting your outsides, thinking that if you get the right job, if you make a certain amount of money, if you can befriend the popular kids, if you can live in the right neighborhood, if you can wear the right clothes, if you can marry the right person, you will be validated. You will be good enough. And not only that, but also to have the compulsion to rebuff anything/one in your outside world that does not fit your idealized vision. Kevin suffers from the same malady we all do: the inability to accept himself and What Is. Even as he recounts the blessings he's received in his life, he does so with contempt, as though he is fundamentally flawed and thus unworthy of good things. And he's been running from those feelings for what must be decades — recently opting to numb out with painkillers and alcohol — absolutely unwilling to process his complicated relationship with his dad and fully grieve the loss. 

It finally catches up to him when he has a one night stand and loses his father's necklace (I'm literally still crying about that scene, I can't get over it). At last he reaches rock bottom and gains the gumption to reach out to his brother and admit he's not holding it all together, he's not the sibling no one has to worry about. But at this turning point, when healing can begin because he's finally ready to allow himself to be seen, he's silenced by tragic news from his younger sister. In that moment you feel the weight of the heartbreak of the entire episode. Kevin doesn't get to collapse, he doesn't get to be held, and that has been the story his whole life. He is first but has always also seemed to come second, as taking care of, if not setting the example for, his younger brother and sister felt like it assumed priority over his needs.

It was hard to watch, I won't lie to you. From the heartbreak of what it looks like when the image you've built for your life collapses, to the heartbreak of what it looks like to run from your grief, to the heartbreak of not having space to grieve when you're finally ready, like this shit was a tra-ge-dy. And though it did not end in a neatly wrapped little bow for Kevin Pearson, I profoundly appreciate the show's willingness to dive deeper into a character that could have easily been written off as "The Hot One". It feels like there's a lot more to uncover, not just for Kevin but for this whole family. I'm ready for it. 

WATCH THIS IS US Y'ALL I'M TELLING YOU THE SHIT'S GOOD.

Also shoutout to Justin Hartley for his performance in that episode, it was literally so wild.

This Is Us, Tuesdays 9/8c (At this point it felt like I might as well go for the full plug)

Monday Inspiration: Pick Up Your Mat and Walk

Have you ever been lovingly told to get off your ass? I know we have a hard time conceptualizing love, so a loving version of a phrase so often used to scold might be hard to grasp. But “pick up your mat and walk” feels like that kind of command to me. For context, this is a directive from a story in the Bible where Jesus, speaking to a man who for whatever reason lacked the use of his legs, told him to pick up the mat he was lying on and walk. Spoiler alert: the guy walks and it’s a miracle and everybody cheers and high-fives. Countless sermons have been given on this story and how Jesus telling a man with disabilities to just get up and walk might have been a borderline douche move, but I’m not super wanting to dive into all that. For today I want us to think about that phrase with a broader scope. Not just physically walking, but how it calls us forward into something maybe we didn't think we had the capacity to do.

I mean, “pick up your mat and walk” feels a little demanding right? Like I said at the beginning, it’s kind of a loving “get off your ass”. That’s why everyone thought Jesus was being a jerk, like how dare you ask this man to walk who is clearly incapable and has been for literal years. But the command is rooted in belief, and not only that but belief without pity. It is encouragement from the front: “Come with me. Carry yourself because I know that you can”. And there’s responsibility in that command, all of a sudden you’re having to account for yourself, for your weight — the thought of which can feel scary when maybe for years, decades, your whole life, you built your identity around being Unable. Maybe your parents, friends, teachers, the bank, all told you that you can’t and you believed them. But you can, that’s the whole point. You can start a business, you can write a book, you can play an instrument, you can try to sing. There will be new responsibility and shifting weight in these new roles, but you can hold it. Pick up your mat and walk.

Fashion Friday!!!

MORE. VELVET. 

This week we keep the Holiday Party Outfit train going with — you guessed it — more velvet shit from Target. I grabbed this emerald crop top and paired it with a gold headband, bright red lips, and *pearl earrings*, because if there's ever a time to pretend you're a rich white woman, it's the holidays. Just ask Joanne the Scammer. 

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Shirt: Target | Pants: Urban Outfitters | Headband: Target | Lipstick: MAC

Work That Heals

I’ve been mulling over the idea that our work, whatever it is that each of us specifically has felt called to, will be the thing that heals us. 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being "High Maintenance", and shared a story that, when it happened, made me feel low, small, shamed. But as I brought it back up to write about it, I noticed a shift. In sharing it, I was also able to reclaim it. I could explore the parts that hurt and bring salve to them. I could reprocess the memory and store it in a way that no longer caused injury — and that was largely possible because I was able to write it out and work it through here, through the process of writing.

I’ve not just noticed it in myself, but in the people around me as well. My friend Kara has invested in gardening and developed a lovely flower business (#SomethingWildFloral #shamelessfriendplug) and she is constantly learning life truths from the little and less little plants she cares for. My friend Nathalie understands food and complementing flavors, and as she works to bring people together around a table, she also learns about herself and how things come together in larger forms. This is what work is supposed to be, and this is what, in my mind, defines success. Is your work healing? Does it bless you and other people? Well then that’s it, that’s all there is to do. 

Find work that heals you and let it be a positive feedback cycle so that as you put beauty into the world, you also receive it.

Monday Inspiration

Coming at you with mere hours to spare because I just got back from a lovely weekend celebrating a housewarming with friends in Sacramento. While I was up there, I found myself marveling at the fact that while I don't think it's true that time heals all wounds, it is remarkable the amount of healing that can come in time. Most of the friends I spent time with this weekend I've known for close to or over ten years. A lot can happen in that time — broken hearts, broken friendships, shifting landscapes as jobs or love move us away from each other to new places. But as I reconnected with them it was heartening to see that through all that there can still be an abiding familiarity. And even a connection you thought was dead can show budding signs of life and healing. It gives me hope for resolution that though may still remain outside my current scope, sits on the horizon.

Fashion Fridayyyyyyy!!

Alright you guys I'm kind of obsessedddd with this outfit. First of all, I need to tell you Target's got like mad velvet going on right now — there are velvet shirts, velvet dresses, velvet skirts, velvet jumpers, ALL THE VELVET YOU COULD EVER WANT! Go getchu some girl. I spotted this dress (and a crop top I'll show off next week ;)) and HAD to go into debt to have it. I paired it with my other new favorites — sheer socks— and chunky heels from Madewell. Since the dress is so light and the socks/heels combo is so cute, I thought I'd ground everything with a dark burgundy lip and of course, throw in a chunky fake diamond necklace because what are the holidays without some sparkle? Check it out y'all!! 

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Dress: Target | Shoes: Madewell | Necklace: Forever 21 | Socks: Lulu's.com | Cardigan: Mom's Closet (not a place, my actual mother's closet) | Lipstick: Too Faced (Sephora)

Thursday Inspiration

Anybody else sometimes feel like they get overwhelmed for no reason? I mean there's always a reason but maybe you were being overstimulated without knowing it until all of a sudden you sit down, or park the car, or look away from the screen for a second and you're like "whoa I am EXHAUSTED." I had one such moment like that this afternoon and after using Brené Brown's technique to reset and figure out what you really need (it's called DIG-ging deep, I high recommend you look it up and employ it) I landed on a coloring book and classical music. Let me tell you, it has been a LOVELY late afternoon, look at my owl!

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Anyhoo, friendly reminder to all of us to check in, reset, and maybe take a couple hours to color. Namaste y'all.

Monday Inspiration

White men who commit acts of terror are terrorists.

Thoughts and prayers are bullshit and borderline tragically comical at this point.

Civilians don't need AR-15's.

Change. Gun. Laws.

Fashion Friday!!

You already know I had to devote a post to the Halloween costume, BUT I alsooooo wanted to let you guys know that (besides this week obvi) for the month of November I'm gonna be devoting Fashion Fridays to HOLIDAY PARTY OUTFIT IDEAS because it's that time of the year and who doesn't need inspiration on how to rework velvet and sequins? Right, so that'll be coming at you next week. In the meantimeeeee, UNICORN! 

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Photography by the lovely Steph