“It’s more than just a race, it’s a style.”

I used to run…a lot.  With two small kids in school and a tot who readily napped in the jogger, there was a time when I spent most of my mornings taking nice long strides up and down Chicago’s North Shore.  For me, it was an affordable luxury.  There were no fancy gym membership fees.  The jogger was a gift.  And the lake…the rhythm of my steps…the time to think and relax, really to heal from the mommy frazzle that accompanies three kids under the age of seven, was free therapy.

Now if you’ve read a few of my blogs, you know I have a weakness for pricey shoes.  You may even have an image in your head of a gal running lakeside, pushing a bright yellow jogger in patent Gucci heels (okay, I’m not gonna’ lie – I do kinda’ like that image).  However, I am nothing if not honest, so conjure up an image instead of a gal running lakeside, pushing a bright yellow jogger in a pair of well loved New Balance sneaks.

So if the heels were left at home, where did I get my girly fix while I was laying down all of these miles?  Skorts!  Yes, skorts.  They were my fave of all fave running apparel “must haves.”  Don’t ask why.  They didn’t make me run harder, faster or longer.  And they certainly didn’t prevent shin splints.  Again with the honesty here – I think they just made me feel a little feminine.  My favorite were from lululemon.  Hello?  How cute are those ruffles?  Added bonus – the “we made too much” section of their website has nice sales.

Over the summer, I made time for longer runs again (and am thankfully back in a semi-decent half marathon groove) and so I’m treating myself to a few new skorts.  Of course the less exciting news is that with every step I take I am growing older (and wiser, of course), so you can bet I’ll also be stocking up on plenty of Advil and Ben-Gay…though hopefully not an orthopedist.

See you at the finish line!

California Dreamin’

I grew up in Southern California.  I was not a Midwest gal back then.  No, I was a sand-n-surf kinda’ kid, with almost every day of summer break spent beachside.  When I was younger, almost all of my time was spent in the water, and I could body surf and boogie board with the best of them.  Once I caught a jellyfish and brought it home in a bucket (either something ate it or it ate itself, because when I woke up the next morning, it was gone).  Frequently we would see schools of dolphins or pilot whales not-too-far-out, and I’d beg my mom to swim out past the waves to get closer.  We’d also bring our rollerskates and walkmans and roll to the pier and back, again and again.  It was pretty idyllic and quintessential California, and of course now appreciated more fully in hindsight than it ever was in the moment.

When I was a teen, I’d hit the beach every weekend with my girlfriends, and then it was all about the music and the lifeguards.  (If you’re reading this in Cali, does K-ROQ still exist?)  We collected and traded surf tees like they were Pokeman cards.  Maui and Sons, Quicksilver, BodyGlove – I can still see the logos across our backs.  I can still see the tan lines too.  I don’t think we ever used sunscreen, but I don’t ever remember a sunburn either.  After my first year of college in the Midwest, I was shocked to discover I actually have pale Irish skin.

While doing some research on stand-up paddle boards this morning (I remain to this day part water), I stumbled across Swell – a site for all things surf and sun. For a brief moment, I was ridiculously tempted by board shorts and a turquoise body board.  Am pretty sure neither are appropriate for Lake Michigan, but the trip down memory lane has been a pleasure.

And of course now it is almost lunchtime, and I am desperately CRAVING a burger from In ‘n Out, while awash in a sea of Italian beef and deep dish pizza.  Is there no justice to be had in this world?!?!?!

The Scent of a Woman

Neither my mother nor my grandmothers have “signature scents,”  and somehow, I feel a little shortchanged by their oversight.  I am at heart a sentimental fool, and I love it when a girlfriend confesses, “Oh, I still wear Shalimar.  It reminds me of my grandmother.”  I find myself wanting the same…convincing myself that Chanel #5 somehow reminds me of my mother, or that my grandmother never retired a room without traces of Creed’s White Flowers trailing behind her.

Alas, I know I am fabricating memories, and the only real solution to this sentimental void is to adopt my own signature scent.  But where to begin?  Floral?  Spicy?  Strong or subtle?  The world of perfume is vast, and I think it’s a little bit like the old “kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince” adage.  You have to try a lot of scents before you find one that really feels like you.  Fortunately, the experience is nothing so slimy as kissing reptiles or dating royalty, and I have time on my side.

I also have knights to help in my crusade.  A dear friend sent me a bottle of Jardin sur le Toit by Hermes.  The enclosure card read, “To celebrate your rooftop garden, and the three blossoms within.”  The scent is perfect, as was the sentiment attached to the gift.  I’ve worn it everyday since.

Good Night, Sleep Tight, at Least Try to Match

I have many vices (shoes, stationery and coffee come immediately to mind),  but sleepwear is not one of them.  In my PJ drawer you will find four distinct categories of clothing:

1. Ratty tees from college (I hate to put it out there, but this makes the tees 20+ years old).

2. Yoga pants in which I have not once EVER done ANY yoga.

3. An assortment of hole-y (not holy) socks with which I cannot bear to part because they are brightly patterned with things like monkeys, santas and sunshines, and my girls love them.

4. And the piece de resistance: for winter – a couple of wool sweaters (don’t ask me how I have three kids).

I’ll admit, I naively assumed us moms all fell into pretty much the same sleep fashion circle, but lo and behold, I have recently learned this is not the case.  Over a long reunion weekend with some of my BFFs from college, I was subjected to nothing short of sensory overload by my gal pals’ array of color coordinated PJs, loungewear and robes – and some of them in my fave, fave, fave fabric prints: Liberty of London!  Holy (not hole-y) smokes!  How did I miss the boat on this one?  So of course I immediately requested the 411 on the jammies: what’s the brand, can I find it online, and do they have sales?  To my delight, the answer was BedHead Pajamas, yes they are available online through department stores like Neiman’s as well as through their own site, and yes they can be found on sale.

So I got home, I perused, and I purchased.  Oh happy day (I mean, night!).  If anyone photographs me at 3:00 a.m. taking care of a sick child, I will be wearing something that matches!  In fact, I will be wearing something that is actually attractive!  Heck, I might even drive the morning carpool in these comfies!  Snap away, paparazzi!

FYI, I treated my girls too – the toile and the blush prints were too sweet to pass on, and the sizes run all the way up to 14.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

My LBD

In my neck of the woods, the beginning of a school year is the harbinger of the “black tie season.”  In a matter of weeks, my calendar will start to fill with school fundraisers, corporate dinners and holiday dances, and I will inevitably find myself pining away for a personal assistant to manage the RSVPs, purchase and wrap the hostess gifts, and of course babysit the girls for free while I mingle and mashed potato (I said I had good shoes, not good dance moves).

My go-to outfit for all is an LBD.  The same LBD, in fact, that I have had since my ten-year high school reunion.  Talk about motivation to maintain your weight!  Way back then I splurged (whole-paycheck kind of splurged), on a very high end “runway” item, and to this day, I do not regret a single penny spent.  This little number has seen me through rehearsal dinners and anniversary dates, awards ceremonies and weddings, with equal amounts of class and lovely and yes, just a hint of fun.  It hangs in my closet and I joke with my girls it is my “storyteller” dress, because it has been witness to and participant in enough moments to underwrite a novella.  Some of the stories are happy, like the time I told my family I was pregnant with my first child.  And some of the stories are sad, like the time my dear friend learned mid-dinner-dance her mother had passed away.  And some of the stories are funny, like the time I lost my shoe in the Museum of Science and Industry while dancing – never to be found!  But all of the LBD stories remind me that life is made up of moments, and our best foot forward is to handle each moment “as if the dress itself,” with equal amounts of class and lovely and yes, a hint (or more!) of fun.

But after so many events in the same LBD, how best to mix it up?   Accessories, of course!  Sometimes I go with a simple, understated stud earring and pretty bangle, and sometimes I pull out chandelier earrings in an unexpected color.  And sometimes I go with a sentimental favorite (I have a fabulous pair of drop earrings in a lovely shade of green that once graced the lobes of my grandmother).  Regardless, now is a great time to plan ahead.  I often turn to Net-a-Porter for inspiration, and their “Shop by Occasion” section is a fun place to start.

And don’t you worry ’bout me, dear friend, I’ll also hit Zappos up for a complete pair of heels.  🙂