I just put the kids on a plane for their first unaccompanied minor trip to stay with their grandparents for 5 days. Brian is OOT for 10 days for a grad school writers retreat. And while I can putter around the house for days – organizing, cleaning, tackling some of the rooms we haven’t finished – I decided that was not the type of alone time I needed. I have a lot of thinking/planning/journaling to do – mostly about mid-life stuff + business/professional future and while I can do that alone here, obviously, I KNOW myself and I will end up doing laundry, organizing, and marathoning Outerbanks (SO GOOD) or Never Have I Ever. That is all GREAT but it’s not really what I need right now. Sometimes you need to get out of your day-to-day environment to help you challenge your own thoughts. So I’m going alone but taking my friend Brené Brown (finally reading Atlas of the Heart and its SO GOOD), and a lot of workout clothes on a 3-night retreat in Northern California. This is one of those places that has yoga + hiking + workout and spiritual classes all day (plus delicious/healthy food and a spa). Two of my closest friends and I did something similar in January (somewhere that didn’t even allow alcohol and no phones except in your room or designated areas) and it was nothing short of transformative. I know it’s bougie/goopy, but I consider it more just personal research/reflection and restoration. I would have NEVER done a girl’s weekend like this 10 or even 5 years ago. But we loved it so much that we did more of a DIY self-led version last weekend with yoga/workouts, psychology/self-help books (and restaurants + wine this time). I’m a little nervous to go by myself mostly because a lot of this stuff can be uncomfortable if you haven’t done it before and I love processing/debriefing with friends after doing something new/weird together. But I can do it! It’s what I need after wrapping up (almost) this massive family home project that has been 4 years in the making. My goal is to plan out the next year which is more granular, process the last two years (self-reflection can be brutal y’all), and make literal calendar space for some things that are important to me but can get easily shoved down the road for years. It’s so easy to just go through the motions in life and then all of a sudden another year has passed and you didn’t do the things that are really important to you – professionally, personally, or with your family/partner.
Anyway, as I was packing I took some iPhone pics (and then ran out of time because I wanted to spend time with the kids before I left). So here you go:
This Nike pullover top is what I throw on when I want to have a slight layer (that is very flattering). The shoulders have a lot of structure and the wide zippy neck and color-blocking plays with your eye (in a good way). My “Covid 7LB” is going nowhere (which is ok, these squishimama love pillows are full and happy:)) so I have been really noticing what I feel good in and this is really flattering. The Vuori shorts are nice because they have a really wide band (so they don’t cut in and they are very high-waisted). I wish these had pockets:)
Like expensive wedding dresses, I don’t recommend trying on Nili Lotan trousers unless you are prepped to buy or cry because, despite the insane price tag, they are incredible (and yet so basic!!). These are my new ones (I’ve had that pair of drop crotch now for 6 years and still I wear them ALL. THE. TIME.). The cut. The fabric. The quality. So flattering. The way they sit and fall. The stitching at the knee and the zipper/elastic at the bottom. I know they look boring and basic, and maybe that’s just what I am now, but y’all I can’t not put them on (almost) every day. The store I bought them from was out of size 6 which is usually what I wear so these are an 8 (which fit great, but maybe a little bit big). It feels pretty accurate/true to size. The shirt is one of a few new things I bought from Frank & Eileen (along with this dress and jumper). I don’t think I’m really selling it here, but it has dropped shoulders, a good slouch, and doesn’t really wrinkle (their fabrics are strangely good).
This retreat has a co-ed spa/sauna area which admittedly I’m not psyched about. Is it just our forever burden to not feel totally comfortable in a suit in front of the opposite sex? Maybe I should try one of those nude resorts? That would fix that really fast I’m sure… (kinda not kidding). Anyway, this suit is my favorite for being comfortable and fairly modest (it has a great shelf support for those of us with larger ladies and the buttons still make it flattering should you want to show off the cleave). I’ve also reached the time in my life where I’m VERY into wearing cute nylon sporty shorts in the water with my suit. The key (IMHO) is that they have a wide soft band, are super short, and kick out to give your legs some space (and playing with proportions like that is very flattering). Maybe it’s my laziness towards maintenance. I wear a small in this suit and that busy pattern is EXCELLENT for hiding all the bits and bobs underneath.
I have bought this running jacket in another color, but I still prefer this super dark purple (this is 5 years old at least). It’s slimming, warm around the torso, but lightweight on the arms (almost like a vest with sleeves). The shorts are Vuori and I like them, but honestly, my hips jut out more than I want them to in these because of the pockets, so I’m still in the market for some that are more flattering (my dogs ate the crotch out of my favorite printed shorts).
This is a newer Madewell shirt that I love so much I tried to order in the bright blue linen but it sold out too fast. It’s poplin but has a great wrinkle to it and if I grab it out of the dryer quickly I don’t have to do anything to it (historically poplin can be too high maintenance for me). The pants are pajama joggers from Gap (love) part of their Tencel collection that is trademarked, and whatever they do to this fabric is magic. It’s just so soft. I wear exclusively these pajamas (well one set of Target) and I have 3 sets of them. Anyway, these joggers are SO SOFT and I think you can wear them out if you need to (this is my solo dinner outfit).
OK, so I ran out of time of shooting my iPhone shots, so here are some shots/links of the other stuff I love.
For working out I brought this Vuori set (tank and matching heathered pants) that I love and have worn so much since I did the partnership. The top isn’t supportive enough for any cardio so I also have a couple of sports bras and workout tops (always in the market for these). This heathered fabric is IT and it’s been very hard to wear other workout pants since I tried these on. I bought them in 3 colors and I wear one of them most days. Not restrictive AT ALL, yet supportive. Likely not great for running long distance, but for lifestyle pants (yoga, pilates, or strength training) I don’t know if I’ll try something else for a while.
I wish there were more patterns and more options with pockets for long walks. I’m still toying with the idea of creating a line of leisurewear specific to walking dogs (or anyone who goes on very long walks in all four seasons, rain or shine, day or pitch black). And it’s not because there aren’t enough walking or hiking clothes out there (there are) but trust me there are some holes in the market and I know how to fill them (as a former professional dog walker – not joking – and no I’m not talking about like weird bone graphics on leggings or anything).
I also brought some facemasks and body scrubs and 2 new “happy ending” romance novels to read (I just read Happy Place and Meet Me At The Lake and LOVED them both). If I’ve moved my body enough during the day, spent enough time in nature, and dedicated time to personal growth (all my chores) I will enjoy some wine and binge Outerbanks after my alone dinner (no room service!). I also have like 7 blog posts that are prepped and ready for me to write, so don’t worry I’ll be thinking about you, too. xxxx