From the Heart:
Just Like That

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“I remember riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again.” Tonight I’m stuck on this F. Scott Fitzgerald quote. Because sometime after I was settled in, and started becoming used to the quiet and peace of being alone all the time, I stopped thinking so much about what I left behind, and instead, starting thinking about not much of anything at all. I started living. And then one day, in the last few weeks, I realized I was blissfully happy. To be sure, my life is as unsettled as it has ever been. I don’t have a job. I have no idea what I’m going to do for income when I get back. I spend like I’m still generously compensated as an attorney. But the brilliant thing is, I don’t care. I really don’t care. I’m happy. That weight that laid heavy on my shoulders for almost a decade is gone. Everything is light. I don’t have any important decisions to make. Only what I’m going to do when I wake up each morning, and not even that really, because most of the time, the day just unfolds naturally. It’s like I’m now living in what used to be the spaces in between. Yesterday, I sat on the metro and watched a father blow raspberries on his little girl. Listening to her giggle brought me all kinds of simple delight. In my last life, that moment would have been a space in between – stolen by the distraction of where I was headed and the stress of getting there on time. Every day, I walk the streets of Paris, stopping to look up and admire the beautiful architecture, the flowers hanging from the balconies, the perfectly trimmed trees. Another former space in between. When I first arrived, I stood in line for over an hour at Le Marche des Enfants Rouge for a sandwich I had read about on some website (Chez Alain – well worth the wait)! When it was finally my turn, I was greeted by the most pleasant French man who snuck me a couple of beignets for dessert because he was so delighted to make the acquaintance of a Californian – it reminded him of his newborn granddaughter in San Francisco who he has yet to meet. Even if the sandwich wasn’t delicious, I would not have regretted the wait for the lovely exchange we had. Space in between. Life is happening everywhere. Happiness is happening everywhere. And you sort of miss it when you’re stuck too much in your head worrying about a deadline that really matters nothing at all in the grand scheme of the universe. What really matters is that you only get one of these. And 365 days go by awfully fast. Decades go by awfully fast, too. Strange, how time flies by, but happiness sometimes takes time to arrive. Well loves, I’ve arrived. And it is nothing short of a privilege and a pleasure to be here.

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From the Closet:
All About the Sleeves

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J Crew shirt, Zara jeans, Nicholas Kirkwood flats, Saint Laurent bag

Kind of dying for big sleeves this season and luckily, I’m finding them everywhere. This J Crew version is easily becoming a wardrobe staple. Ironically, I came to Paris to shop at J Crew.

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From the Heart:
On Confidence

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Because of the necessity for a social media presence, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes some women likable and others unlikable, mostly because it’s very clear to me that when it comes to social media, I’m unlikable. In contemplating this topic, I’ve consequently spent a lot of time thinking about Beyonce and Kim Kardashian. Both women are undeniably beautiful. Interestingly, both have approximately the same number of followers on Instagram (around 35 million). The big difference between the two, from a social media standpoint, is that it seems many of Kim Kardashian’s followers don’t like her and follow her only to berate her and spew all kinds of unwarranted negativity at her. Beyonce, on the other hand, is arguably the most famous and well-liked female celebrity in the world. She can do no wrong. Everything she touches, everything she wears, everything she does, is celebrated. I wouldn’t for a second say it’s undeserving on her part. She clearly has worked hard her entire life to get to where she is and her talent is a force to be reckoned with. What gets me is why women can’t celebrate all women the way they celebrate Beyonce. Enter Kim Kardashian. Whatever moral implications surround her rise to fame, you only have to watch a few episodes of her reality television show to understand that she is incredibly business savvy and works very hard. Also, she seems to have a huge network of girlfriends – a telltale sign that she is a decent human at minimum, and likely, a very decent girlfriend. Generally, women with a lot of girlfriends (i.e., Taylor Swift) seem to be the type who bring other women up, instead of putting them down, who don’t succumb to jealousy, and who don’t see other women as a threat or competition. Which brings me back to my thoughts on the social media “likable” and “unlikeable.” I think women don’t like Kim Kardashian because she is unapolegetically confident – she loves herself. Her confidence is roaring loud and why not? Shouldn’t ours all be? Beyonce, on the other hand, has a quiet confidence, much like Taylor Swift and Lauren Conrad, who are also social media likable. So confidence comes in different forms, but why should women be so quick to dislike the most confident among us? What has Kim Kardashian ever done to anyone to deserve such outrageously offensive attacks every time she posts a picture on Instagram? And why are women so quick to speculate about what kinds of surgery she has had? Why can’t women accept that some women are breathtakingly beautiful – born that way – or have the most amazing bodies or physical assets without quickly writing them off as plastic surgery or an eating disorder? I love Kim Kardashian because I think there is nothing more beautiful than a woman loving herself – especially if she is the type who loves and supports other women as well. And I love her because she doesn’t shrink just to quiet the haters. My point is this. The best kind of women in the world are those who are confident enough to love themselves and also to love and support other women, without feeling threatened or competitive. I just finished a brilliant memoir about a woman from Darfur who suffered unimaginable atrocities as a result of her sex. I’ve read many books of this kind, telling stories of how women around the world are treated. As women, there are many fights we have yet to fight, many wrongs against us we have yet to right, many sisters and mothers and daughters we have yet to save from suffering. So to see women lashing out at other women in such a catty way is unbecoming and disheartening. We should be supporting one another and celebrating the strong and confident among us so that they remain strong and confident, and also stand as model for what we all should hope to become. Afterall, isn’t a strong, confident woman the best kind of woman?

 

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From the Closet:
Saint James

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Saint James x J Crew tee, Zara jacket, Frame Denim jeans, Valentino rockstuds, Gucci bag

Currently obsessed with this Saint James tee, mostly because its quintessentially French. I’m absolutely loving the way Parisians dress – especially the older women and men. It’s so the opposite of everything Southern Californian, which makes it new and exciting for me. Along with everything else in my life these days.

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On Skincare

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I don’t claim to be an expert on anything in life – I’m only passionately curious about almost everything. Still, there are some areas where I’ve spent enough time dwelling that I can confidently say I know enough to share a few pearls of wisdom. Skincare is one of those areas. I was blessed with acne as an adolescent. I call this a blessing because the embarrassment of feeling like you are always standing out (and not in a good way) during those fragile years caused me to become extremely vigilant about taking care of my skin. My forehead was covered in bumps and scars and redness for many, many years, but its been almost perfectly clear for the last ten or so. It’s not perfect – I have baby lines developing around my eyes and my allergies cause the skin around my nose and under my eyes to become puffy quite frequently – but as far as blemishes are concerned, those are a thing of the past. Ok, pearls of wisdom:

1) Say no to face makeup.

Unless I’m going on a date with a guy I really, really like or it’s Saturday night and I’m going out on the town, I don’t wear face makeup. This goes back to my teenage years when I was so petrified of clogging my pores that I would cringe anytime anything was being put on my skin. So I got into the habit of putting nothing on my skin. And I have to say it’s my favorite habit! I feel like I’m doing my skin a huge favor by letting it breathe.

2) Water. Lots of it.

I saw a nutritionist years ago who told me I was supposed to drink half my body weight in ounces of water every day. The easiest way to do this is by giving up other beverages. That way when you’re thirsty, you only have one option – water. Also, when I was gainfully employed, I always had a huge bottle right next to my keyboard – it gave me something to do when I was bored.

3) Stay away from products with a lot of chemicals.

I’m not an expert here and I won’t claim to use only all-natural or organic products. But I do try to avoid products that have an ingredient list reminiscent of high school chemistry. I’ve been faithful to Origins and Aveeno for years. I also just discovered the Grown Alchemist, which is awesome.

4) Retinol.

Like most women my age, I’m terrified of aging and wrinkles. I’m always reading about new anti-aging technology and products and the truth is the sheer volume of information out there is overwhelming and it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t. The one thing I’ve read over and over, though, is how amazing retinol is. Apparently, retinol interrupts the free radical damage process that causes your skin to look older.  I get mine prescription strength from the dermatologist, but you can find it over-the-counter as well.

5) Peels.

I’m new to peels, but I just started using the Dr. Gross Alpha Beta peel and I love it. It is supposed to have anti-aging benefits, but in truth, I just like the way it leaves me skin feeling after I’ve used it.

6) Face Oil.

This one took some time for me. I have fairly oil skin so it seemed counterintuitive to put oil on my skin. But actually, for reasons I can’t explain, it leaves me skin less oily. Again, I use Dr. Gross, which contains Vitamin-D and leave my skin moisturized, but not oily.

7) Facial Scrub.

I’ve tried many facial scrubs over the years, but for the last few, I’ve been faithful to Kiehl’s Facial Fuel, which is actually a product marketed towards men. I happened upon it in my ex-boyfriend’s shower (when he was still my boyfriend). I knew I was addicted when I found myself showering in his bathroom more often than my own (we had separate bathrooms).

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