The long and short of it? Well, that’s just it: I’m kind of short and sometimes tops are too long. Especially these days, when high-waisted everything is the norm and I’ll admit to wanting to make cropped jeans like this and midi skirts like this work. I’ve struggled with all manner of tops to get these types of bottoms to look good on my petite-yet-curvy frame — tucking in tees, experimenting with tops with elasticized hems — but it wasn’t until I started pairing tie tops with everything that I felt I could get the look to work for me. If you have any sort of chest at all and are also under 5’3″, tie-front and tie-back tops are a godsend. You can make the tie looser if you want the look to be blousier (meaning it can still pair well with classic skinnies), or cinch it a bit tighter if you want more of a fitted, crop top look. Even more wonderful is tying the top in such a way that you can make it hit at the exact point you need on your specific waistline, making them infinitely usable no matter your bottom half. Plus there’s just something casual and playful about the tie itself — they’re really the perfect style for summer, and for right-now trends.
I ordered this simple cotton tie back tank from J.Crew a couple weeks ago and liked it so much, I promptly went back to the store and bought two more (surprise surprise, they were on sale!). I love the look of the black one with this striped skirt I got from Madewell (it’s sold out now, but here’s a similar one). The outfit is so easy breezy that it’s going to be a go-to in Korea, for sure. I think cotton tees make customizing the tie even easier, since you can be a little rougher with the fabric and make the tie bigger or smaller, making the top correspondingly tighter or looser.
Also, a PSA: I find that sleeveless, button-down tie-front shirts look really good on everyone, but especially if you have a bigger chest. Something about it is just super flattering and balances you out visually. I LOVE this one from DVF — it’s linen, blue and white striped, and even has a matching skirt (seriously, what’s not to love?).
And lots of photos from our Memorial Day weekend trip south
On Sunday afternoon at approximately 10:45 in the morning, it occurred to me how much I enjoy spending time in Carmel, California.
We were sitting in the shade of a large, old oak tree, awaiting our chosen brunch spot to open for service. The pause in the day was welcome—it was easy to revel in how wonderful the sun and light breeze felt, Lucy happily resting at our feet after running the length of the beach we could still hear in the distance. Looking up through the gnarled branches above, fog had given way to the most brilliantly blue sky; a blessing on the coastline this time of year.
This past weekend was our second trip to the small seaside town—and Big Sur, just south of it—since January. In fact, when we went at the beginning of the year, we had barely gotten in the car to drive home when I turned to Joe and said, “So, when can we come back?”
That my enjoyment of this tiny town surprises me is in turn probably surprising to you. But when I first visited the area about ten, maybe eleven years ago, I remember feeling underwhelmed. It felt touristy. It was cold. We wandered past endless art and antique stores, none of which appealed to us as early 20 somethings. I didn’t get it, and it was an easy place to write off.
I’ve been back to Carmel a few times in the interim years, always with groups of friends and always for a quick jaunt focused on eating too much and (if I’m honest) forgetting about our jobs for a few days with the help of too much wine. Never could our trips have been categorized as “romantic getaways.” Joe and I hadn’t been to the area in a couple years, so I’m not sure what prompted our family trip down there in January. Maybe it was the ease, or that the area is super dog friendly. Maybe it was the deal on the hotel we got, I don’t really remember. But it was the first time I felt like I was seeing the area with fresh eyes, and embarking on adventures completely different than years past.
As I sat under the oak tree thinking about this, it occurred to me that perhaps the town is exactly the same, but I’m the one who’s different. Ten years is, after all, a long time. A decade. (Why is it that uttering the word decade always makes the clump of years feel so much longer and weightier than the actual living of them?) I reflected on all that’s happened since the first time I visited Carmel: the losses, the triumphs, the successes, the failures, the lessons hard-learned, and the things for which I’ve become ever more grateful. I didn’t have all those things ten years ago. The experiences have given me a different lens with which to see the world, a new set of eyeglasses that render everything sharper, contextual.
Now, instead of the touristy shops, I see the beauty and care of the gardens that dot the town. I walked past a man carefully tending his front yard; his garden looked like something you’d see at an English countryside estate, made miniature. I told him it was beautiful. He wiped the sweat from his brow and thanked me, turning back to his rake.
Now, I hear the sound of the ocean no matter where you walk in the town. I like that this faint background music always makes me think about the stretch of coastline just south—Big Sur—which I know to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet (no need to see the rest of it for confirmation). At night, when you walk through the sleepy streets of this little town, it is completely silent save for the sound of waves crashing in the distance.
There are the practical things, too. That the beach is so dog-friendly is a major logistical plus for us; that the sand is the texture of powdered sugar under your feet is a bonus. The town is tiny, so you can walk everywhere, making margarita-filled, Uberless nights a reality. Hop in your car and head south for half an hour, and you have access to some seriously beautiful views, more great food, amazing places to stay, the works. It’s nice there.
But really, the reason I wrote this essay isn’t to sell you on Carmel and Big Sur just south of it, as I realize I’m very late to that party. Instead, as I sat under the tree, happy and sweaty from a morning at the beach and wandering the quiet neighborhoods, I wondered what else I’d written off because of circumstance and where and when and how I experienced something in my life. Maybe it’s the foible of youth, this ease with which we can cast things aside. The key, I have found, is to constantly don fresh eyes—that new pair of glasses, so to speak—so that you can continue to assess anew.
a quick little update on what's been happening over here.
Less than a month; no turning back now
I can’t believe it, but one month from now I’ll have already been in Korea for 4 days. That this trip has completely snuck up on me is an understatement! I’ve started making lists of things to remember to do, find, buy, and pack before I leave. One of them is to investigate new luggage. I’ve had Away’s original carry-on for a couple years and I love it. I used to think it was too small, but over time, perhaps I’ve just become a better packer. So much better in fact, that last week I packed for a 5 night, 6 day trip in it (I’m very proud of this, if you can’t tell!). Away just launched a new bigger carry-on that has an exterior pocket (perfect for a laptop if you’re carrying on), and I’m thinking about getting the medium size for my trip. I had been scheming ways I could carry on for a two week trip, but was quickly disabused of this notion by tour alumni — apparently, you’ll come home with a lot of stuff! Have you purchased an Away suitcase? I can’t recommend them enough!
Went home; now I’m home again
So where was I on my fabulous 5 night, 6 day trip? Texas! I flew home to Austin last week on Tuesday, to spend some time with my mom and also see how renovations on her house were going. She’s had a team working on it in earnest for the past 4 months or so, though planning and designing has been happening since last summer! I was hoping the entire thing would be done and moved into, but you know how a big renovation goes… I missed the big reveal by about a week. My mom used local designer Sarah Stacey to help her with space planning, all the decor choices, really everything. Her design is gorgeous; hope I can share it at some point!
Oh, so the other part of the trip: after a few days in Austin, we drove to Houston to attend my cousin’s law school graduation. Other news to report from the home front is that Texas was rather hot, culturally I sometimes felt like I was visiting another planet, the Tex Mex made me happy, and the amount of change Austin has undergone since the early 2000s still weirds me out.
What I’ve been shopping
Been doing a little shopping as I lead up to the trip! Everyone keeps warning me that Korea will be very hot and humid, intensified because we’ll be walking around a lot. I had ordered this skirt from Madewell a while back and it finally arrived after being backordered. It’s so cute! Flowy comfortable, soft, it’ll be perfect for humid temps. If you order it or happen to find it in your local store, I recommend going a size up. I also bit the bullet and ordered a Hanover backpack from Lo & Sons during their Mother’s Day sale. I’ve only recently become a backpack convert, and for traveling, this baby seems like it’ll be perfect.
While I was in Texas, I read the book Educated. If you haven’t picked it up yet, I can’t recommend it enough! Have you read it?
A quick review (before another review)
So I’m going to do a longer review of a few things I recently purchased from Everlane, but I wanted to mention how much I love these slingback flats before they sell out. These shoes are SO flattering, with their gently rounded point toe and vamp. They just make your legs look longer. I love the tan woven style for summer too — it looks so cute with jeans, skirts, even shorts (I wore them on repeat in Austin!). I personally have sized down in Everlane slingbacks (am normally a 7 or 37 in Italian sizing, and bought a 6.5 for these). More to come on these, some Everlane denim, and another pair of Everlane shoes soon!
Blogs on sale!
Over at <em>press themes, we’re having a sale on all themes and plugins, starting today! If you’re a blogger who’s been thinking about changing up your theme, check out ours right over here. You can get 15% off with code MEMORIAL18.
On to Big Sur!
I am SO excited to be heading down to Carmel and Big Sur over the long weekend. Nothing like a short road trip, insanely gorgeous ocean views, and Mexican food on a Friday night to kick the summer off, amiright? I’m hoping to take lots of pictures on the new camera too (that particular goal is going fairly well, though I’m still getting used to all the settings on the Fujifilm!). What are your plans for Memorial Day? Doing anything fun?