park 9park1park2park3park4park6park7park5park8park10

Today the hubs and I went for a walk at a nearby preserve. It’s been the first nature walk I’ve taken since January. I forgot how relaxing and calm it feels to be surrounded by greenery and nature in general.

I was unemployed for a couple years during the recession and every day after I’d do my job scouting, I’d go drive out to my favorite park and hike for hours. I have around 40k photos of that park because I always took my camera and documented the change in the trails I took throughout the years. It was the only thing that kept my depression at bay from being unemployed for so long. I think I was at my most happiest during that time.

If you’re feeling stressed, go to the nearest park and take a walk.

Inspirational eye candy

I love going to a site that turns into a rabbit hole where I find more and more inspiring things within it the more I look.

Rachel Comey black welcome dress
Rachel Comey black welcome dress
Rick Owens black guimard jacket
IM pleats stole shirt
ISSEY MIYAKE black pleats stole shirt
Ellery lace up rail road blouse
ELLERY black lace up rail road blouse
IM fluffy pleats pant
ISSEY MIYAKE PLEATS PLEASE black fluffy pleats pants
IM gray flat dyed top
ISSEY MIYAKE 132 5 gray flat dyed top
IM le pain tapered pant
ISSEY MIYAKE black le pain tapered pant
IM stream pleats dress
ISSEY MIYAKE black stream pleats dress
marni blue black trouser
Marni blue black trouser

RC apricot surveillance

yang li double layer jacket
YANG LI black double layer jacket
Ys u-design s1 hood coat
Y’s black u-design s1 hood coat

It’s fun to online window shop at times. Every one of these items and plenty more that I didn’t include here are gorgeous. Even if they don’t fit me in the ways they should, I still just want to see the clothes and touch them and look at their detailing in person. That’s what good design is in fashion, right? Clothes made so beautifully that no matter what one wants the enjoyment of seeing the clothes and appreciating the styling, tailoring, and texture of them – irregardless of whether or not one even likes or would wear the style.

All of this came about just from looking at one item:

black crane eggshell square shirt
Black Crane eggshell square shirt

All items found at Totokaelo.

Weights and tears

When I started this blog, I was wearing a boot on my left foot for Achilles Tendinitis. It was the second time this year I’d worn the boot.

Last summer I was running a lot and then noticed – I don’t remember exactly when – a pain in my ankle. Like all stubborn runners I thought: I’ll just run through it and take it easy tomorrow. I did this for the following 3 months, realizing that no matter how much “down time” I gave myself  my ankle wasn’t getting better. Some days I could run just fine and not have any issues. Some days it would start out hurting, but then I’d push through it and be fine at the end of my run. Some days I’d have an excellent pain-free start of the run only to have to stop short due to the pain deciding to stab my leg and threaten to cripple me. So I stopped running around Thanksgiving. I “took it easy” and only did my usual weight training every other day.

In January of this year I went on a couple long walks to test the water with my ankle. I’d looked it up and thought: yep, I have tendinitis, but I’m mostly ok. I don’t hurt too much and if I don’t walk much it’s no biggie. Plus, I don’t get too much pain at all with weight training. I could tell after one walk my ankle still wasn’t happy. I finally went to a specialist around March and he said: yep, you have tendinitis, but it’s actually healing since you’ve been off it a bit. He gave me a script for steroids to help with the inflammation (there was a noticeable, small bump on the back of my ankle) and then another script for the boot. He said to wear it for three weeks, wean off it on 4th and I’d be totally fine. Why, he himself had had the exact same thing happen to him! I had a total of 3 visits to him over the course of treatment and the last one he said I was ok. Only walk 1 mile for a bit and no weights for another couple weeks.

One month later I attempted to run, which I was allowed to do – on a flat surface – and only managed a half mile before my ankle fell apart again. Bump back, ALL the pain back.

I didn’t put the boot back on until June after a trip to Scotland. I didn’t want to be hobbling about doing touristy stuff. I didn’t go back to the doctor because I thought he was full of shit, but also maybe I did something wrong with the rehab as well. I wore the boot for 6 solid weeks and very slowly weaned off it this time.  It felt great. There was no bump. I started taking little walks in the neighborhood. Nothing long and not at a fast pace. No pain. I was so incredibly happy and hopeful. I missed talking my long walks, but what I longed for the most was my runs. I’d gotten up to 7 miles before stopping last Thanksgiving.

Then this past Saturday I went to a friend’s house for a BBQ and we all walked into town for a car show. We walked very slowly among the crowds, but it was a lot of walking. Sunday morning I felt fine, but then crossing my legs while sitting at the dining room table I felt a stab of pain. By midday I had a bump again on my ankle. I iced my leg twice that day, but the bump didn’t go away. It was still there Monday and all the old pains started coming back. I’d read enough about Achilles Tendinitis to know that in some cases, it can turn into a chronic condition. I may not have a tear bad enough for surgery, but the usual lighter treatments like what I’d been doing may not ever entirely work. There is the option of surgery in case there’s lots of scar tissue or if bursitis sets in….. I did the worst thing possible by reading so much about it online and collapsed into a blob of angry tears on Monday.

I love running. I ran cross-country in high school as a means of getting out of the house when I was younger. I took it for granted then. Years later I picked it up again and realized it was the only “sport” of sorts that I like  – competing against myself and trying to get better. I love having runner highs. It’s addicting, but in a good way. Running also helps me sleep and regulates my mood swings by relieving stress. I zone out when I run – sometimes to the extent of not even remembering the run itself when I’m done. It’s my way of meditating. It also helped me lose 20 pounds when I made more of an effort to get into shape. I weight lift also, which has greatly helped me and I love feeling stronger and don’t mind the sort of muscle pains one feels when lifting. They’re growing pains – growing to be stronger. But no matter how much I lift, I always look forward to my runs.

Now, due to my own stubborn stupidity I may not be able to run again. I might’ve given myself this chronic condition due to how long I refused to accept it for what it was last autumn and should’ve stopped much sooner. That realization made me so utterly miserable I couldn’t do much of anything other than hold back tears all day Monday until I got home. My husband let me cry on him and said I should take it easy and not despair just yet. We did a lot of walking on Saturday so maybe my ankle was being cranky about it and I just needed to rest again. I was comforted by his kindness in being optimistic for me, but part of me knew I may need to face the reality of not being able to run again – let alone taking my long 4-5 mile walks in the neighborhood, or hikes in my favorite parks.

The bump went down a lot on Tuesday and Wednesday and today it’s sorta back, but that might be due to the shoes I’m wearing, which are new and the heel is digging a bit into my ankle, but it’s looking like that on both ankles. My calf has felt tight, so I did some stretching yesterday and did some light weight training (body weight mostly) because I can’t give up all exercise. Even when I had the boot on I was still doing exercising – mostly upper body and core – but hardly doing anything at all for legs.

I’ll hold my breath for now about it and give it some time. I don’t want to call it a chronic condition just yet. More like – I’m afraid to accept it right now.

Reflection in mirror hanging on the back of the basement door to the workout room. I use to to check my posture for dead lifts and squats.
weights (1)
Husband had a shit winter/spring too health-wise and he’s gradually getting his weights back up. 
Rusty old dumbbell set from the in-laws. 
We have two barbells, a few dumbbells, a weight bench, a rowing machine, a treadmill, and lots of mismatched weights from relatives and Craigslist finds.



So a while back I mentioned how I liked the over-sized look. Well, it’s got a name – lagenlook. I learned something new! It’s apparently a German term and means “layering look”. From what I gleaned doing a basic cursory search on it lagenlook is about layering clothes that are loose and appear over-sized. Some might associate the look with peasant style (think medieval times), areas of boho style, Jane Austen style, mori style (forest girls in Japan), etc… It can be very frilly with lots of ruffles. But it doesn’t have to be frilly. Eileen Fisher is the best example of a put-together, chic lagenlook.

I really love this. It definitely wouldn’t work easily in really hot weather, but when cooler weather comes around I definitely want to work on making this look happen.

Anime Slang Fail

Game of Thrones started up again on Sunday night. So naturally my FB feed explodes with GoT posts and memes again – from all my friends because I am one of the minority who doesn’t watch the show. (I watched the first 4 seasons and then gave up because I found it boring.)

I noticed my husband put an image up in a comment and mentioned anything with more Tormond and Brienne was a good thing.

  • Me: Do you ship Tormond and Brienne?
  • Him: …….
  • Me: You know, re-la-tion-SHIP?
  • Him: …..
  • Me: *explains “shipping” and where the word comes from*
  • Him:….. this is an anime thing, isn’t it?
  • Me: It’s in regular pop culture……. to a degree….
  • Him: …..
  • Me: … ok, so yes, as far as I know it started in anime culture…
  • Him:….
  • Me:…..

Style inspiration – Over-sized

I love boxy, big, voluminous looks with lots of layers. I hardly ever wear that style though. I do have one super large sweater I wear in the winter, but that’s it. I’ve been wondering why I don’t attempt to wear this style more.

Is it because it’s not the norm here? I don’t think any of the above looks are the norm anywhere, but they still make me want to dress that way. Most people want to show off their figures no matter what their body shape looks like. That’s always a given. Since I’ve lost weight I’ve also been in the “woohoo I can wear smaller sizes and look fab!” mode as well, which is why I purchased two pairs of skinny jeans and am rather meh about both of them. Am I reluctant because I’m used to being told I look frumpy or like I’m wearing a potato sack if I wear over-sized clothes? Have I not found the right kind of over-sized clothing that does actually “fit” well and drape in a way that while still looking “big” also look amazing? Am I too focused on showing off my figure instead of the clothes?

Several months ago I was at a Nordstrom Rack and saw a girl that took my breath away. She looked as if she’d walked straight out of a South Korean fashion shoot. She wore an over-sized v-neck tee in green over a voluminous brown skirt that fell almost to her ankles. A black floppy hat, Birkenstocks, and an enormous leather tote completed her look. She was different. I followed her throughout the store, hiding behind racks so as not to look too obvious. I personally thought she stood out, but most other people didn’t take notice. Maybe I was just so entranced with the fact that she wore the perfect summer combination of an over-sized look that I adored so I singled her out easily.

I’ve had my finger on a couple of items online I’m tempted to purchase that fall into this style. The key clearly is buying items made of good materials that drape in flattering ways, which means lots more $$$ than what I’m used to paying. I can always send them back if it doesn’t work out – right?

Most of the photos above are from collections from Exception de Mixmind, which is a clothing line from the Chinese designer Ma Ke.

“Staples” I don’t have in my wardrobe. Part 2

This portion of all my rambling thoughts on wardrobe “staples” includes items that I, as a woman, lack. I’m not saying women should all have these items. Again, this is just based on fashion/style/influencer blog sites I’ve read that seem to assume women have or need these items in their wardrobe. There are plenty of women who don’t. Power to all of us.

Despite my love of black clothing, I do not own the prized token of any woman’s wardrobe (or so people would say…), the Little Black Dress. In fact, I currently don’t own any dresses at all. Zero. Nada. None. Zilch. Last year I had three dresses. Two of them I’d worn only once and the third one I wore to a slew of weddings the year before. Since that time I’ve lost 17 lbs so none of those dresses fit me anymore. All three of the dresses were black, but not plain black.

In general, I’ve never been the type of person to wear dresses. I’ve always preferred jeans or trousers. I suppose one could say I’m a bit of a tom boy and that’s fine. There are plenty of women who cut a mean figure in a formal pants suit for special occasions. I’ve not done that because I always assumed I’d need to wear a dress for formal occasions. Maybe now that I’m entirely dress-less I’ll try that out. I do have two upcoming weddings to attend this autumn, so we’ll see. I’m not entirely against wearing dresses and perhaps I just need to find my own perfect Little Black Dress to change my mind.

So, based on the above information, what’s the likelihood of my actually having skirts, which tend to be another wardrobe staple for a woman? Yeah, not quite. I do have one skirt right now and it’s too big. It feels like it’ll drop off me so I’ve only worn it around the house when I’m washing all the jeans/trousers. I recently washed the skirt (it’s cotton jersey so it feels like PJs) and have tucked it on the shelf in my closet I usually designate to clothes on their way out of the wardrobe. So that means – zero skirts! Again, I’m not against wearing skirts, but I normally don’t reach for them or dresses (when I have them).

Another “staple” that is one of my least favorites, are high heeled shoes. I hate heels. Lots of women hate heels. Some totally rock the high heeled look and it does make for a flattering silhouette, but I am Queen of the Klutz People. There are many of us in the female realm and we simply do not know how to walk in heels without looking like we should be in some slap-stick comedy where we perpetually harm ourselves. I’m not talking about the 1-2″ kind or “kitten heels” on booties or boots or sandals. I’m talking about the 3″ and up crowd of heels. Barbie heels. Stiletto heels. Heels that make women sound like Clydesdale horses – and vaguely look like them while attempting to land each step they take in them. I have one pair of black wedge heeled shoes. I think they go up to 3″. All other heeled shoes I have are shorter. I’ve worn those shoes maybe 4 times for special occasions. I’m ok in those because they are a wedge and I’m not trying to balance my heel on a needle head. I’d be willing to try wearing more dresses and more skirts, but high heels are a big, fat NOPE.

Out of the three traditionally known items to be most women’s wardrobes, high heels are one I won’t budge on. I don’t care if I have a meeting with the god of the universe and need to look formal. I’m not doing high heels. I’d be willing to wear a skirt or dress if the need arises. But first, I need to have some in my wardrobe.