Six snaps

This is the career edition of six snaps 🙂 I took all of these photos in the neighborhood that I work in, between Madison Square Park and Union Square. I love working in this area. Not only do you have the two parks, but there are great shops and decent places to eat. And of course the Union Square Farmers Market is fantastic. I rarely buy anything there because it makes more sense to go to the farmers market around the corner from my house, but I enjoy seeing all the beautiful produce, flowers and baked goods being sold when I walk to and from the subway. I always do a lot of shopping at the holiday craft market though, and it has been convenient to have it so close to work.

I’ve been so focused on Union Square that I literally forgot that Madison Square Park is only a few blocks away. I headed there recently to see what it looks like in winter. Fewer leaves for sure, but still a line at Shake Shack (which you can see in the photo above). I can’t wait to eat lunch in both parks this coming spring and summer. I also plan to explore what is happening to the east. Irving seem like it might have some hidden gems.

So far this week has been pretty calm. I am keeping up with my fitness routine, though I can’t say I have seen much in the way of visible results yet. I tend to like things to happen immediately and when they don’t I get frustrated. This means that the beginning of any plan, the time before you see results, is often very hard for me. But I am focusing on setting my weekly goals and following through with them so I can get used to keeping my promises to myself and establish habits. I am also focusing on the less obvious benefits of exercise such as decreased anxiety, improved mood and increased strength. I even decided to take a surf lesson when I go to Costa Rica which is definitely motivating me to stick with my fitness plan. I also just started using the Lose It app. I thought I should at least be tracking what I’m eating if I am going to put so much effort into exercising. So far I really like the interface.

In other news, I will be returning with a new outfit post next week. Stay tuned 🙂

Till then,

xoxo Anna

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Some suspicious Valentine’s Day teddy bears
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The original NYC food truck
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Pretty pastries at Maison Kaiser
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This mirrored cat catches my eye every time I walk past it. Tacky, yes! But I still want it.
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A rainbow of candles and party supplies at Flying Tiger.

 

Costa Rica in March

I have been itching to travel again since last summer when I went to Phoenix for a month and then to St. Croix. I usually book my travel plans well in advance but I was recently inspired when a friend of mine jumped on an airplane to Puerto Rico last minute. I decided I wanted to go somewhere too! But where? I knew I wanted to go somewhere that I had never been, somewhere warm, and somewhere relatively close (ie, not Tahiti). I checked out places like Portugal, Dominica, Turks and Caicos and even Iceland (not warm), but eventually settled on Costa Rica because of the diversity of adventures it offers. So, I booked a trip for the end of March, not exactly last-minute but definitely spontaneous. March, through no planning on my part, happens to be a great time to visit the country weather-wise.

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What are my plans, you ask? I will be flying into San Jose and staying downtown at an Airbnb for a few days. I plan to check out the surrounding offerings like the Poas Volcano and Braulio Carillo National Park. After that I am making my way to Cahuita on the Caribbean coast where I will explore for a few days. I plan on visiting Cahuita National Park, doing some snorkeling and drinking cocktails on the beach. I have reservations at a hostel in Cahuita for a private room. I was thinking of renting a little house, but I think it will be nice to connect with other travelers.

I still have a lot of decisions to make. For example, I am not sure if I am going to rent a car or rely on public transportation. I am leaning toward public transport because I think it will be more relaxing. I also haven’t decided if I will take any smaller day tours on this trip or explore on my own. I do know I am looking forward to hiking, eating chocolate, hanging out on the beach and seeing all sorts of cool wildlife. Oh, and I am hoping to swim in a tropical waterfall at some point. It’s on my bucket list. I also can’t wait for all the fabulous photo opportunities 🙂

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I picked up a Lonely Planet guide book and I am going to do some planning leading up to the trip so I know what all my options are, then I will decide while I am there what I want to do day by day. I don’t know about you but I get overwhelmed by all the options available when you travel. So many decisions to make!

I think I will also brush up on my Spanish for this trip by using DuoLingo. I have used it before to practice my French and it is a great app.

How about you? Have you been to Costa Rica? What was your experience like? Any recommendations?

xoxo Anna

Hello again! and 2018 fitness routine

Hi everyone! After a couple months, I will be blogging regularly again. I think I was getting away from the things that I enjoyed about blogging (connecting with others, creating unique content) and focusing on things like metrics, likes and traffic. It began to feel like a chore. Moving forward, I will be taking a more relaxed approach. I will be posting once a week, on Thursdays. You can expect the same type of content including ethical fashion, travel, food, fitness and more, just slightly less frequently. I hope I will be able to spend more time on each post and boost the enjoyment factor for everyone.

To kick off this new blogging plan, I decided to share my current fitness plan, which is something I am currently focusing on.

As I suspect is the case with many of you, my relationship with fitness is complicated and spotty at best. When I was a child my parents made a point to encourage exercise in the form of hiking, biking and swimming. Every week my mother would take us to a local pool and we would swim laps. We earned stars for every week that we went and when we had enough stars we bought a VCR 🙂 I spent hours riding my bike and walking around with friends. I went to nature camp and we hiked almost every day. In high school, I played tennis and joined the winter track team. In college, I continued working out with my roommates, which helped me to maintain my weight. It seemed so much easier then to find the time and energy to exercise. Somehow it was a natural part of my everyday life. Unfortunately, during my senior year of college, I experienced pretty severe depression and anxiety. I stopped working out and began to eat things like pizza with blue cheese dressing on the regular. This, combined with the fact that I was now taking anti-depressants, many of which are known to promote weight gain, resulted in a significant increase in weight beginning in college and continuing after graduation. I have battled my weight ever since, losing and gaining significant amounts over the past 20 years. It all seemed to go in cycles. I would exercise and diet for a period of time and often have success, only to lose confidence because of a difficult life event and turn back to eating for comfort. I have to say, just writing this makes me feel tired thinking about the emotional and physical ups and downs.

But looking back is also helping me to move forward. I have learned a great deal about what works for me in the long-term and what doesn’t. For example, I have learned that setting oversized goals at the outset of a fitness program leads to burn out or disappointment, which, not surprisingly, leads to quitting entirely. For example, I have run two half-marathons but immediately after 3 months of tough training I would give up running entirely for months. I have learned that exercising consistently is very hard for me, but that it is important for my emotional and physical well-being. I have learned that eating to manage my emotions benefits no one, least of all me. Much better to be honest about my feelings and eat to sustain my energy.

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So this is my plan moving forward:

Set realistic weekly fitness goals and slowly build up intensity and frequency of workouts

I have found I prefer a simple workout routine. It cannot include a lot of equipment or complicated moves or be annoying in any way. I recently found this great mini workout on one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes & Cashmere. It is simple to follow and all you need is one dumbbell. I can do it at home or at the gym without too much thought. I still like running, so I am using a mix of running and walking as my cardio. As I gain confidence, I may try some fitness classes (thinking kickboxing or trampoline!), but for now I am keeping it super simple and focusing on just making it to each workout.

I think, for me, the hardest thing about exercising consistently is the negative self-talk I engage in surrounding working out. It ranges from “What you think you’re so great now because you work out!? Who do you think you are!?” (super nice and productive, I know) to “You are never going to keep doing this!” (also very reassuring). It helps just to share these thoughts because they seem so mean and counterproductive when you say them out loud. I think there is power in voicing these things and then letting them go. Also, I feel like some of you might relate.

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Follow a modified interpretation of the Weekday/Weekend plan created by Emma and Elsie at A Beautiful Mess

The basic idea behind this program is that you don’t consume dairy, white rice or flour, alcohol or added sugar during the week, but you’re free to indulge on weekends. You also must eat a variety of wholesome foods. I have done it for a little over a week now and I like the way I feel. I bought the cookbook and am looking forward trying some of the recipes. This eating plan is primarily plant-based, but I enjoy meat, so I am including some lean protein, like chicken, as well. Still, I am excited to try a lot of new plant-based dishes as well. I’m not militant about the weekday guidelines in that I will occasionally have a drink with a friend after work or eat something with a small amount of sugar in it, which I think is reasonable if I am eating on plan 90% of the time.

To jump start the healthy eating portion of my fitness plan, I signed up for Hungry Root food deliveries once a week. They deliver vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free ingredients and side dishes which can be combined into healthy dishes. My first week was last week and I enjoyed the food. There is minimal prep time and everything was tasty and satisfying. I ordered the 3-meal plan and I found I was able to make and finish everything within a week.

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So that’s my plan. As you can see, I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from the blogosphere! I think that’s one way to add a social element to working out and eating well that feels positive. I will be keeping myself honest by posting updates here regularly.

In general, I am also thinking about ways to deal with stress and emotions differently. I’m already taking a ceramics class at this studio in Williamsburg and I am enjoying it a lot. I didn’t know I would like wheel throwing so much! I’m thinking some form of journaling might be nice, as well as working on being present and focused for all of my daily activities.

How about you? How are you approaching fitness/health in 2018? If you have any tips for maintaining a consistent exercise/eating routine I would love to hear them.

xoxo Anna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three looks from my capsule wardrobe

Hi everyone! Today, I thought I would share three looks from my fall/winter capsule wardrobe. I am still adjusting to my new, smaller clothing selection. I have been struggling with ways to combine items, especially in the mornings when I have to get dressed for work. Often, I am not pleased with the outfit I end up in. And I have noticed that if I don’t like my outfit, I tend to feel off for the entire day. It’s really such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in my mood. So, I feel like I have to take some time and really look at the items I have and figure out how to make outfits out of them that I feel good about. Today’s post is the beginning of that effort. Hope you like 🙂

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Dress, Everlane, here; Belt, H&M, similar here; Boots, Steve Madden, ethical alternatives here and here.

For this look I paired my Everlane sweatshirt dress with my all-time favorite belt from H&M. This dress is super comfortable. I sometimes wear it without the belt for a more relaxed look. I have enjoyed having several relaxed dresses I can throw on to run errands and still feel put together. These boots are also one of my favorite purchases. I got them at Steve Madden last fall. They are no longer available, but I’ve found some cute ethical alternatives.

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For look number two, I paired a blue polka-dot button down from Uniqlo with a thrifted denim midi and thrifted boots. I feel like this look has a vintage appeal. I have always loved the fashion and aesthetic of the 70s and I think I channeled that when putting together this outfit.

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Shirt, Uniqlo, ethical alternative here; Sunnies, drugstore (I think), ethical alternative here; Skirt, Calvin Klein, thrifted, ethical alternative here; Boots, Nine West, thrifted, ethical alternative here

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For my final look, I combined my favorite graphic tee with a black pencil skirt and my new fall jacket from Aritzia. I have never shopped at this store before but was impressed with their selection. I also liked there statements about corporate responsibility which you can read here. I added a red lip for more drama.

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Tee shirt, Sezane, here; Jacket, Wilfred from Aritzia, here; skirt, H&M last season, ethical alternative here; Boots, Steve Madden, ethical alternatives here and here; Lipstick, Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick, here

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You may have noticed that I wore the same jewelry with every outfit. The necklace is a simple gold charm that belonged to my grandmother. The emerald studs are from Catbird and were a gift for my last birthday. The crystal studs are from Shashi (here) I have been enjoying wearing jewelry that has meaning to me. I am also interested in growing my fine jewelry collection. There are so many new jewelry companies creating ethical and beautiful fine jewelry these days it’s hard to keep up with. I will keep you updated on what I find out.

How about you? Do you have ideas for what you will be wearing as the days cool down?

xoxo Anna

 

My take on a fall/winter capsule wardrobe

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Hi everyone! I mentioned in an earlier post that I was going to share more about my capsule wardrobe choices, and that is what this post is about.

First, I have to admit that I didn’t do a ton of research about what technically makes a capsule wardrobe a capsule wardrobe. Most of my knowledge comes from seeing what other bloggers are doing and being inspired. I feel like, as capsule wardrobes go, mine is pretty large, maybe even too large, but I think it is a good place to start. I’m sure that over time certain items will rise to the top of the clothing heap and others we get donated. I didn’t include shoes, jewelry or bags, but I could see doing that in the future. I like taking the process gradually. It somehow makes it less unnerving.

My process for creating my capsule wardrobe was somewhat “Marie Kondo” in that it was based on my gut reaction to any given item. First I stored away all my very summery clothes to get them out of the way. I plan to purge them come next spring/summer. I also stored away anything costumey or super fancy. I divided what remained into several categories: “I can’t even look at you anymore!,” “Meh,” “I love you but you don’t fit,” and “You’re a keeper.” I donated the first two categories, stored the third and what was left became my wardrobe for fall.

I didn’t purchase anything new for my capsule wardrobe, although I may purchase one more outerwear option (I have my eye on this coat). Everything I chose had to fit my body in the present moment.

So (insert drumroll)… here are my choices:

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I kept a total of 12 tees and tanks. For this category, I seemed to favor basic items and a few graphic tees.

It was interesting to notice during the purging process what my heart was gravitating towards. I seemed drawn to simple graphic patterns and textures, rich earthly solids, and the occasional pop of red or purple. This is especially obvious when you look at my long sleeve top selections below. This category is by far the largest, which I guess makes sense for a fall/winter wardrobe.

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I’m especially happy with my dress selections. 4 out of 5 of these are recent purchases from ethical clothing lines. I like their simple lines and subtle colors.

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I’m also pleased with my skirt selection. I chose a sequined mini (thrifted), a denim midi (thrifted), and a black pencil skirt (H&M, a few seasons ago). For pants, I went with 4 pairs of high-waisted jeans and 2 pairs of leggings.

I am least excited by my outerwear category. This has always been a tough area for me. I long for a structured, minimal coat collection but never seem to be able to make it happen. I don’t hate the things that I chose, I just don’t love them now that I am looking at them, so I guess this category needs some work.

Finally, I chose four scarves. There wasn’t any particular reasoning behind my scarf choices. In fact, I think I might narrow it down further to just 1 scarf, the red and white striped one.

I am very excited to see how these pieces come together into outfits. I will be sure to share some of my favorites on the blog!

So that’s it for my fall capsule wardrobe. How about you? Do you feel like you are ready for fall, fashion-wise? Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂

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xoxo Anna

Thursday’s Ethical Style

I don’t know about you, but I always struggle with finding outerwear that keeps you warm, looks stylish and works with multiple outfits. I think this herringbone coat from Amour Vert checks all those boxes. It’s so awesomely chic, I might add it to my fall capsule (sort of) wardrobe. I paired it with dark skinny jeans, a silk sleeveless button down, some fantastic low-heeled pumps and a tiny pearl necklace for a classy, sophisticated look that is appropriate for work and/or walking the city streets looking fabulous.

  1. Silk blouse, Everlane, here
  2. Skinny jeans, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  3. Herringbone jacket, Amour Vert, here
  4. Pearl necklace, ASOS Eco Edit, here
  5. Block-heel pumps, Amour Vert, here

On the subject of capsule wardrobes, I did a big purge this past weekend. I donated a fair amount of stuff and stored the rest. It was immensely satisfying and I feel so happy to be able to see most of my fall wardrobe on one clothing rack. My drawers are no longer overloaded and hard to close. I even organized my hangers 🙂 It just feels lighter. Without all the sartorial noise, I feel closer to defining my personal style and it is easier to see the types of items I may need to purchase to fill in gaps. I may add a few more pieces (like that jacket!), but I feel like I’ve got most of my bases covered. I will be sharing more about what I chose to keep in a later post, so stay tuned!

How about you? Do you struggle to find the right outerwear pieces for cooler months? Would you ever do a capsule wardrobe?

xoxo Anna

Grey for fall days

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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

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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

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