Grey for fall days

greydress5
Dress, Sundry, here; Shoes, H&M last season, ethical alternatives here and here; Bag, souvenir from Paris, ethical alternatives here and here; Earrings, Stella and Dot; similar here

 

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I posted an outfit 🙂 I am slowly pulling together pieces that I feel really good about in terms of fit and style, and also sustainability. This dress from Sundry is a great example of the type of items I am looking for these day. It feels amazing, is appropriate both for work and going out on the weekend, and can be worn with different accessories to change up the look. This time I paired it with lacy oxford shoes and a neat patterned tote that I picked up in Paris on my last trip. The earrings were a gift from a close friend and I wear them constantly. They seem to go with everything. I really like the simplicity of this look and how I feel wearing it, which, I am realizing, is just as important as how an outfit looks. It’s a great transitional look as well.

Through my purchases (and actually my not-purchases if thats a word :)) I feel myself moving toward a smaller, capsule-type wardrobe. I have been systematically purging my clothing collection and it feels good. I have this crazy idea that I want all my clothing to fit on one rack with some overflow in my bureau. No more overstuffed drawers and clothing thrown over chairs! It is interesting though that there are some pieces that I never wear and kind of don’t like that I am reluctant to get rid of because there may come a day when I am like, “Where’s that blue checked crop top?! It would be perfect for this outfit!” Or the item doesn’t fit but I just love the idea of it so much I can’t part with it. I feel like I have gotten rid of all the obvious things and what’s left is hard to narrow down. Plus several of my clothing items have sentimental value. So I’ve hit a little bit of a wall. I think my next step will be to remove everything but my most favorite items and but not donate/sell it immediately. Then I can see how it feels to have less, without the fear of over-purging in a fit of frenzy.

How about you? Have you been trying to purge and hit a wall? What tactics did you use?

xoxo Anna

greydress7

greydress1

greydress8

greydress9

greydress4

greydress6

 

 

 

Six snaps

Yesterday, I took a trip to a magic shop in the East Village to buy a deck of Tarot cards. It was a lovely adventure. It was also a photo walk of sorts which is something that I have missed doing. It felt very meaningful to spend some time by myself and relax, which is funny because the first card I pulled out of my new deck was the 4 of Swords, which signifies taking time to relax, rest and regroup. As an admitted activity junky, I find relaxing to be very hard, but I am working on embracing doing nothing from time to time. I am very new to reading my own Tarot cards, but already hooked and looking forward to learning more. How about you, have you started any new hobbies lately?

In other news, it is day 8 of the elimination diet and I’m still doing okay. I haven’t exactly been craving things, but the restrictions are sometimes difficult to navigate when I am dining out. I am determined to see it through for at least the recommended three weeks as I am interested to see how changing my eating habits changes my perspective on food, and other things perhaps.

xoxo

IMG_4804
Learning about the cards
IMG_4797
Beautiful hot peppers
IMG_4794
Ditmas Avenue after a sun shower
IMG_4793
Urban sunflowers
IMG_4807
Sparkling restaurant in the East Village

Elimination diet here I come

dinner
Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free dinner

Confession time… my stomach has never been great 😦 But recently things got to a point where it was actually interfering with my life and work. I felt a major shift was in order in the way I approached food and stress, as stomach problems can definitely be caused by the later. So for the next 3 weeks I will be following a basic elimination diet; no dairy, no gluten, no alcohol, no added sugar, no soy. Those are the big ones but there are a few more random things as well. Wish me luck! I have to say, once I made the decision I felt relieved and had fun shopping for new and interesting alternatives to my usual go-to foods.

I’m also cutting out caffeine because, why not! I stopped drinking coffee about a week ago and found that it really helped my stomach as well as my ability to relax. I have  been a die-hard coffee fanatic since college, drinking somewhere between 2 and 4 large cups a day. I was always the one at meetings with a coffee cup in hand. I didn’t hate tea, I just didn’t think of myself as a tea drinker. Truthfully, I think I was a little suspicious (insert side-eye) of anybody who would choose tea over coffee. But now that I am a week in to my new tea-drinking life, I have to say I’m feeling happy and liberated. Tea comes in so many varieties and it is fun to shop for. I have been sticking with herbal teas rather than decaf teas and coffee because I think there is still some caffeine in decaf. I haven’t been missing the caffeine that much and it seems like I might have more energy and focus, which is counterintuitive but I have heard sometimes that happens when you give up caffeine. I also made my own herbal iced tea (pictured at top) with 3 packets of peach tea, one packet of raspberry tea, some lemon juice and agave nectar. My next purchase will be a nice tea pot. Any recommendations?

In terms of stress, I have started meditating in the morning and doing yoga. I have been using the Headspace and Gaia apps. I have meditated/done yoga before but never regularly but I hope to change that. Plus the Headspace app has a great British man leading the meditations who is somehow so soothing to listen to 🙂

How about you? What are your thoughts on elimination diets, tea vs coffee, and stress-reduction strategies?

newproducts
New products I will be trying
avocado
Avocado for healthy fats
tea3
Tea for morning, noon and night!

xoxo Anna

Thursday’s ethical style

An outfit for the fall transition

Summer is almost over! I can’t believe it went so fast and yet at the same time seemed to last forever. Dressing for the changing seasons can be tricky. This year, I am mad about sweatshirts for some reason. I think it is because so many chic options are now available. This black, mock neck version from Everlane seems like it would be great for layering as the weather cools down. Items like this are also very versatile, which is helpful when you are thinking about scaling down your wardrobe. So many uses… for example, you could layer it over a patterned maxi dress, like this one from H&M’s Conscious line. Paired with simple but impactful gold jewelry and black boots it makes the perfect in-between outfit. How about you? What are your tricks for transitional dressing?

  1. Sweatshirt, Everlane
  2. Half-moon bag, Sage + Slate
  3. Maxi dress, H&M Conscious
  4. Gold cuff, Sage + Slate
  5. Booties, Nisolo
  6. Half-moon earrings, Sage + Slate

xoxo Anna

Feeling Friday

Hate, privilege and the eclipse

I am a private, introspective person by nature. I enjoy observing situations and keeping my opinions to myself. I like to keep things light and fun, sometimes at the expense of speaking my truth. However, considering recent events, as well as a long history in this country of similar hate-fueled incidents reported and unreported, I feel it is my responsibility as a citizen and human being to firmly and loudly take a stand against intolerance and violence whether it is outright and ostentatious or creeping and subtle. I feel lucky to have a forum, via this blog, to add my voice to the conversation. According to astrology, the recent eclipse heralds a new beginning for us all and a chance to shed old habits and explore new ways of dealing with problems. I have experienced several types of privilege in my life. I will certainly be thinking on that as well as my general tendency to bury my head in the sand when I feel powerless. I will be challenging myself to go beyond my comfort level and face hate with a clear message of love.

Remember:

“Hate shrivels under strong light.”

—Southern Poverty Law Center, Ten Ways to Fight Hate (a very useful and inspiring pdf)

Easy sweet and sour pickled veggies

img_3735

img_3733

The older I get the more I like, (am obsessed with?) pickled vegetables. This recipe is simple and inspired by the daikon radish pickles served at Korean restaurants.

Ingredients/Equipment

Organic cane sugar

Vinegar (I used a combination of brown rice vinegar and champagne vinegar because that is what I had 🙂 In the past I have also used rice wine vinegar.)

Vegetables (I used carrots, daikon radishes, and red cabbage)

Turmeric (optional)

Glass jars for pickling

Process

This is a fairly loose recipe. The first thing to do is prepare your vegetables. I grated my carrots, thinly sliced my daikon using that thing on the side of the cheese grater, and finely sliced my cabbage. I used the size of the pickling jars as a guideline for how much of each vegetable to cut. Once vegetables are cut, I packed them somewhat loosely in my jars.

The next step is to determine how much pickling liquid you will need. I do this by adding up the volume of the containers that I will be pickling in. This gives you a rough idea of how much liquid you will need. You will probably have some left over because the vegetables take up some of the room in the jars. For the pickling liquid, you will make up half that amount with vinegar and half with sugar. So if you need 16 oz (2 cups) of liquid use 1 cup vinegar and 1 cup sugar. Place your vinegar and sugar is a stock pot. If you are using turmeric add in a small amount at this point. A teaspoon should be enough unless you are making a really large amount of pickling liquid. Turmeric will give your radishes a bright yellow color, so I use it for them but not the other vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil stirring to dissolve sugar and turmeric if you are using. Remove the mixture from the heat. Let it cool down a little. Pour slowly over your vegetables in their jars. Close jars and refrigerate overnight.

After they have spent the night absorbing the pickling liquid, your pickles are ready to eat! Here are some ideas for how to use them:

  1. Make a grain bowl with pickled vegetables, tofu, sesame oil, sautéed kale and peanut sauce.
  2. Serve pickles over an arugula salad with tahini dressing, burger patties and feta cheese.
  3. Add them to lettuce wraps with lentils, coconut rice and cilantro dressing.

How about you? Have you made your own quick pickles? If so, how did you use them?

img_3734.jpg

img_3738

IMG_3743

IMG_3745

IMG_3746

img_3763

xoxo Anna

Thursday’s ethical style

I am obsessed with the combination of this dress with these shoes. The color reminds me of some beautiful stucco houses I have seen on my journeys. I’ve finished the outfit with simple jewelry and a subtley patterned clutch. I don’t pay much attention to hair jewelry but I think I might start trying a little harder after seeing this hair pin. How about you? Do you like the idea of matching your shoes with your dress? Do you have a strong hair accessories game?

  1. Dress
  2. Hairpin
  3. Clutch
  4. Bracelet
  5. Sneakers

xoxo Anna

 

 

Adventures on St. Croix

 

courtyard
The courtyard of my Airbnb

I recently spent a week in St. Croix for a wedding. I will always look back on this trip and smile, but not because everything went as planned. It was, in fact, a combination of minor frustrations, comical mishaps, interesting characters and truly heartwarming moments. It was the first time that I have traveled out of the country with a big group of friends. I’ve done a fair amount of solo travel and have enjoyed it, but there is something very special about being abroad with a bigger group. There may be more time spent organizing the group, but I loved being able to share adventures with some of my closest friends and meet new people as well. It was also very special to me the way that our group came together to handle inconveniences and potential problems with grace and kindness. Here are some of my favorite moments from the trip:

beach2
Rainbow beach view
crab
Hello Mr. Crab!

Rainbow beach and this crab

Our first beach day was at Rainbow Beach. I rented a beach chair and an umbrella for $20 and proceeded to lounge and swim. There is a cute, beachy restaurant/bar where I got a piña colada and some fried shrimp. Everything was tasty! Overall it was a successful day and I would recommend this beach 🙂

 

fort
Fort Christianvearn
park
Limpricht Park

Exploring Christiansted

I’m a sucker for historic architecture, especially of the colonial, island variety. My Airbnb was in Christiansted and I really enjoyed walking around and looking at the beautiful old buildings. Fort Christianvearn was just down the street and was a great place to wander. There was also a cute park down the street that had a lot of character.

beach
Beach at Hotel on the Cay

The beach at Hotel on the Cay

We went to this beach two days in a row. I went the first day on my own and liked it so much that I convinced other people to come. It’s a short (it felt like 30 seconds!) ferry ride to a cute island with a small beach. There is a hotel on the island but non-guests are asked not to explore the island beyond the beach and bar. The water was calm and clear and there was a bar/restaurant (great pineapple daiquiri) and a watersports stand where I rented a snorkel on the first day.

rooster
There were so many gorgeous chickens!
iguana
An iguana grabbing a maraschino cherry!

Good weather

Rain was predicted for our entire trip. There were a few storms, including one torrential downpour, but we also had plently of sun and beach-worthy weather. The weather even cooperated on the day of the wedding which was a blessing.

The wedding

The wedding itself was beautiful and intimate. It was on the beach at one of the island’s resorts. I was asked to perform the wedding ceremony and I enjoyed the process of getting ordained, writing a ceremony and performing the actual marriage. I am not a confident public speaker, but when the time came to do the ceremony I was reassured by the happiness of the moment and everything fell into place naturally. The wedding was followed by a dinner/reception. There were only about twenty people there in total and I really liked the intimacy and relaxed nature of a smaller wedding.

hammock
Relaxing before the wedding

 

A few frustrations…

Lack of transportation options

I would recommend that anyone traveling to St. Croix rent a car. A great deal of our group’s frustrations came from figuring out how to get people staying in a variety of locations to and from different places. The island is fairly big and places were farther away than they seemed they would be on the map. It was off-season and finding a cab after 6 pm (and sometimes even during the day) was difficult and expensive. I didn’t end up renting a car, but some of my friends did and I would say it saved the vacation. I will note that driving is on the left-hand side of the road and some roads have sharp turns, and steep inclines or declines. But I think these discomforts would be outweighed by the convenience of more control over your transportation.

Comically (?) strange lodging experiences

To the person, all of us had some sort of funny, annoying or awkward story about the places we stayed including strange Airbnb hosts, poor service, remote or hard-to-reach locations, flooding, and beaches overrun with seaweed. I’m purposely not including the names of the places as this is not meant to be a review of specific establishments and more of a commentary on the travel in general. When you think of spending a week on a tropical island, or really on any vacation, you have certain expectations built up in your mind about stress-free, perfect travel. But that’s not always how things play out. Previously, these imperfections would have weighed on me and affected the joy I took in the vacation, but this time I was able to focus on the good things and really enjoyed the time I spent with the other people on the trip. I think it was the difference between dwelling on what you imagined your trip would be rather than being present and thankful for the opportunity to share experiences and find beauty in unlikely places.

I would definitely return to St. Croix. I feel like I just got a small taste of what the island has to offer.

How about you? Have you ever taken a group vacation? And how do you handle unexpected trip snafus?

xoxo Anna

Bound for St. Croix

Hey everyone! It has been a whirlwind few days. I came home from Phoenix on Saturday and tomorrow I am headed to St. Croix for a wedding and some tropical fun. I have never been to St. Croix before, although I have been to St. John where I got stuck in a tropical storm! I love the tropics almost as much as I love the desert. There is something so magical about that aqua water. I have my own tiny Airbnb apartment located in Christiansted. I am looking forward to snorkeling, hanging out on the beach and discovering the history of the island. By the looks of the map, I will be in the heart of town and very close to the historic Fort Christiansvaern.

I will be taking the week off from posting to focus on spending time with friends and drinking things out of coconuts! If you don’t already, follow me on Instagram for snapshots of my vacay! I have plans for lots of content when I get back including a St. Croix travelogue and more ethical fashion looks.

Till then,

xoxo Anna

 

Thursday’s ethical style

I don’t know about you but I love striped shirts! I am always drawn to them and own several versions. This relaxed one from H&M’s Conscious line seems both comfortable and stylish. I paired it with a pair of distressed jeans also from H&M Conscious for a casual look that is still polished. I could see wearing this outfit to a weekend get together. It might even be okay as a work outfit for some of you depending on your office dress code. The ring and the necklace are from Favor Jewelry, an ethical jewelry company from Portland with a great selection of handmade, minimal pieces. I have my eyes on many of their items! Finally, I like the graphic imagery of this wallet, which is made from a recycled cement bag.

Here are the details for today’s look:

  1. Shirt, H&M Conscious
  2. Ring, Favor Jewelry
  3. Necklace, Favor Jewelry
  4. Jeans, H&M Conscious
  5. Shoes, Tom’s
  6. Wallet, Fair Trade Winds

Let me know what you think about today’s ethical style. Would you rock this look? And where?

xoxo Anna

P.S. This post was not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned. I’m just sharing my humble opinions 🙂