All-Nighter

28 Jul

NYC, Paris, Los Angeles, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Windblown bob, cat-eye sunglasses, floral kimono, lace bralette, wide-leg crepe pants, simple heel sandals
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Windblown bob, cat-eye sunglasses, floral kimono, lace bralette, wide-leg crepe pants, simple heel sandals
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Windblown bob, cat-eye sunglasses, floral kimono, lace bralette, wide-leg crepe pants, simple heel sandals
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Windblown bob, cat-eye sunglasses, floral kimono, lace bralette, wide-leg crepe pants, simple heel sandals

It’s sort of become tradition for Liz and I to wrap up every adventure we embark on together with an all-nighter. We’ll start by reminiscing about “the good old days” over a bottle of wine (OK maybe, like, two?), talking about our little San Francisco “crew” and how everything just felt…simpler. From our charmingly sleazy local dive bar that was a weekend go-to, to regular girls’ nights in, and afternoon escapades aplenty. We all had boyfriends, our boyfriends were all friends…we had roots.

It is amazing how your whole world can change in what feels like the blink of an eye. It has been over four years since I left the City by the Bay, and Liz moved to LA even before that. It truly does feel like just yesterday that we were frolicking around Dolores Park with our puppies, meeting in Union Square for a shopping date, or wandering Polk Street in search of god knows what.

The good news is we’re both happy with the unexpected directions in which our lives pulled us, but it is hard being across the country (soon across the Atlantic, yet again) from my best friend, my family and that comfort zone I once knew. I guess “nostalgia” is the best word I can come up with to describe the many emotions ignited by these special conversations we fall into, but really it is a combination of so many feelings: heartbreak, happiness and confusion, all fused together.

At the end of the day, I feel so lucky and comforted to know part of my “old life” will always still exist through these friendships I hold so close to my heart. There are few things more special to me than people I know I can call up at any hour, after not talking for a month or two, and be able to pick up right where we left off, without so much as skipping a beat. The ones where an early dinner somehow turns into watching the desert sunrise, and it feels like only a few moments have passed. My once in a lifetime friends…mad love to you girls. You might keep me up all night, but you also keep me afloat. <3

*head to toe: Vint & York Copa sunglasses (similar style here), Threadsense Reyna floral kimono, For Love and Lemons Sex Kitten bralette, Lafayette 148 wide-leg crepe black pants, Office UK block heel mule (seriously the best, most comfortable shoes ever)

White Wedding

24 Jul

NYC, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog, French braid, sheer lace dress, straw hat, country fashion editorial
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: French braid, sheer lace dress, straw hat, country fashion editorial
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: French braid, sheer lace dress, straw hat, country fashion editorial
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: French braid, sheer lace dress, straw hat, country fashion editorial
NYC, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, LIfestyle, Travel Blog: French braid, sheer lace dress, straw hat, country fashion editorial

“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” -Seth Godin

Life can be a very unpredictable whirlwind. And while I wouldn’t have it any other way, being 27 years old and having no clue as to what my next move is going to be can be daunting, and at times a bit stressful. My head and my heart are constantly at battle, and what I think to be “practical” often conflicts with what I’m most passionate about and inspired by.

I was once a creature of routine. I was content with my life at the time, but looking back I don’t think I was ever truly fulfilled with the life I had. The steady relationship, the 9 to 5, the long-term plans for my future. Plans that never came to fruition. I went with it as gracefully as I could, and made new plans. Those, too, didn’t turn out how I expected them to. Jobs, relationships, goals, dreams…everything changes. And over time I have transformed from this creature of routine into a girl who wakes up in the morning, completely unsure of what the day will bring. This doesn’t come without anxiety (trust me I am no stranger to freak-outs), but it is a lifestyle I have learned to embrace and one that I truly enjoy.

Fortunately I have the discipline to sustain my nomadic lifestyle, not just as a blogger, but primarily through digital marketing consulting and in launching my own practice almost two years ago. Working around the clock is much more rewarding when you are doing it for yourself.

I was at wits end working on other peoples’ terms. I took a leap of faith, as I have done so many times, and I like to look at it as a successful one — highly strenuous, but fulfilling at the same time. My life is a motherfucking hustle, but I get to work while hiding out in a cabin upstate, and having deer run by me as I drink my morning wine coffee. Or road trip through the desert and explore magical places I never even knew existed.

But here I am finding myself at a crossroads, yet again. I left Paris exactly one month ago to return home for my cousin’s wedding and figure out if France would take me back for a longer time period than the 3-months a tourist is allowed to stay. I jumped through many a hoop, but am very excited to share that I got approved for a 1-year visa TODAY! Something I do feel to be a personal milestone of sorts, as they don’t exactly make it easy. Now I have the freedom to return to the city I quickly fell in love with, continue exploring Europe, and experience more of the world.

This is something I was very certain that I wanted, and I remain eager to pick up where I left off at the end of last month. But at the same time being “home” in Los Angeles and New York, seeing friends, and spending time with the people I care about most, does bring up questions in the back of my mind that I guess I will have to accept leaving unanswered for now.

One thing I cannot do is live a life filled with “what if’s”, even though this does mean experiencing some inevitable sadness and frustration. Knowing I am leaving behind some of the best years of my life with the best people, unmade memories, opportunities I’ll never see through, and most of all, unfinished love (a love that has grown to be quite important to me), isn’t easy. But I guess I can justify it with the knowledge that my decisions are driven by a passion that’s helping me become a stronger and more independent individual. This is a passion that cannot be satisfied right here and right now. And so I keep on moving…

At the end of the day, routine or no routine, none of us really know what each day could bring. Some of us have a better idea than others, but predicting the future is impossible. I found having unfulfilled expectations to be more upsetting than some might, and so now I try to expect nothing and go wherever the wind blows.

For me, finding the perfect husband or settling down in one place to raise a family, something I undoubtedly want for myself one day, simply cannot take priority over continuing on my road toward self-discovery (sorry, Mom). Perhaps I seek comfort in being uncomfortable, but for now I choose to be married to a life of adventure. And even though this relationship won’t always be easy, at the end of the day at least I know it is one that I can commit to with sparkling eyes and butterflies in my stomach the whole way through.

*wearing a very delicate lace dress by TheWhole9Yards, an amazing brand I was introduced to in France (even when it comes to fashion, there is so much to discover abroad)!

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Color Outside The Lines

20 Jul

Color Outside The Lines: Salvation Mountain, Desert Fashion, Straw Hat, Flowey Dress, Strappy Romper, Jeweled Slippers
Color Outside The Lines: Salvation Mountain, Desert Fashion, Straw Hat, Flowey Dress, Strappy Romper, Jeweled Slippers
Color Outside The Lines: Salvation Mountain, Desert Fashion, Straw Hat, Flowey Dress, Strappy Romper, Jeweled Slippers
Color Outside The Lines: Salvation Mountain, Desert Fashion, Straw Hat, Flowey Dress, Strappy Romper, Jeweled Slippers
Color Outside The Lines: Salvation Mountain, Desert Fashion, Straw Hat, Flowey Dress, Strappy Romper, Jeweled Slippers

Another glimpse at the desert exploration Liz and I took, and our visit to to Salvation Mountain. After miles on a dirt road driving through vast flatlands, which I can only describe as pure nothingness (with an abandoned town or two along the way), the last thing one would expect to see is this technicolored castle, standing strong, bright and all alone.

This special place was built and nurtured by one amazing man, Leonard Knight, who passed away last year after devoting 25 years of his life to a creative work inspired by pure love for his God. It is an artistic expression of his belief that God’s love is universal and excludes no one.

Love is a simple “word” with a strength that was so powerful to Mr. Knight that he chose to dedicate well over two decades constructing something tangible that would represent what he felt, in his heart, to be true. He lived in seclusion (aside from the occasional passerby who came to see Leonard’s place of worship), and slept in a small pickup truck. He said these were the best years of his life.

I have said it before, but I am a person who has faith yet I don’t fully identify with any particular organized religion. In my mind, generally speaking, I feel everyone should be entitled to have their own beliefs (religious, cultural, political, etc.) without being chastised, so long as they are not chastising or physically hurtful to others, and sand on a foundation that includes kindness and respect for the human race.

Leonard’s mission had nothing to do with the many outside influences society has a tendency to push. It wasn’t about one church being “better than” another church, or whose beliefs are right whose are wrong. It all goes back to LOVE, and a passion for it’s infinite and non-discriminatory nature.

So if you ever find yourself driving through the California desert, I highly suggest you make the trek to Salvation Mountain. Christian, Buddhist, Atheist, whatever you want to call yourself – it is a national treasure, an unconventional work of art, and an inspiring landmark created by a quirky guy who thought for himself, constructed with admirable purpose, and never thought twice when it came to coloring outside the lines.

*head to toe: Worth & Worth bolero,  Go Freely High-Low Top from Threadsense, ACEVOG v-neck romper (very affordable and comes in many colors!), LMN Luxe Me Now Versailles slippers

So Busy

17 Jul

Post sponsored by DSW:
So, first and foremost, muchas gracias for hooking it up with the perfect summer sandals, in my all-time favorite color. An especially excellent pair for those of us who are just, you know, “so busy” (I really am though, seriously – I swear.)


New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Straw sunhat, lace bralet, lace bra top, overalls, lightweight romper, strappy sandals, teal sandals
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Straw sunhat, lace bralet, lace bra top, overalls, lightweight romper, strappy sandals, teal sandals
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Straw sunhat, lace bralet, lace bra top, overalls, lightweight romper, strappy sandals, teal sandals
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Straw sunhat, lace bralet, lace bra top, overalls, lightweight romper, strappy sandals, teal sandals
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Straw sunhat, lace bralet, lace bra top, overalls, lightweight romper, strappy sandals, teal sandals

Still enjoying the California sunshine for a few more weeks as I sort out my visa situation and eventually make it back to Paris, and maybe even try London for a couple months…who knows! Spending 3 days in the middle of the desert and a handful of weeks in California has reminded me just how important it is to dress for the hot, hot heat out here. Especially if your life happens to resemble that of the energizer bunny…ain’t nobody got time for heat stroke.

Yeah, sure, Liz and I did happen to giggle a bit about buying matching “so busy” hats, but the words do happen to hold true lately. And while these days more hours are spent in front of a computer screen, either doing this or my digital marketing / social media consulting business, than I do “running around” (unless, of course, I am running to the kitchen to fill up my…coffee), occasionally there inevitably comes a time when we all must step outside. You know, with shoes and everything!

When I saw these cute strappy sandals from DSW, I was excited to style them up with a neutral, practical and comfortable ensemble that is very easy, and summer-appropriate. Not only do the shoes add a playful pop of color to the overall look, but turquoise just so happens to be my favorite color (notice the balloon tattoo on my arm that matches perfectly?!).

I love this color so much, not only because I think it is pretty, but according to the color psychology pros (yes I believe in this stuff), “Turquoise controls and heals the emotions, creating emotional balance and stability.” For me, the tattoo is a constant reminder to strive for a balanced life and try my best to let go of things that weigh me down. A reminder to work my hardest to rise above frustrating, stressful, of undesirable situations.

But, hey, you know what else helps me stay stable? Shoes. Let’s be real, there are few things that soothe the soul quite like a cute new pair of shoes (and bonus points if they are turquoise). It’s called “retail therapy” for a reason.

*head to toe: Reformation hat, Of Love and Lemons bralette, romper / overalls from ThreadSense, Franco Sarto sandals from DSW

Photography by Maurice Sampson

DSW
And a little note from the brand: At DSW, we believe in the power of shoes, and in the power of shoe lovers. With thousands of styles for men, women and children, we’ve got something for everyone, no matter who they are or how they dress. Shoes say a lot about you. Say something great.

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Seeking Salvation

16 Jul

New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses
New York City, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle Blog: Salvation Mountain, desert fashion, floral cropped top, wrap skirt, cat-eye sunglasses

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

On our desert adventure Liz made sure we stopped by the legendary, yet surprisingly vacant, Salvation Mountain. This place was one of the most beautifully quirky and unique works of art I have ever seen (I am not sure what else to call it, it has to be art). The castle, of sorts, made entirely of local adobe clay and donated paint, was created by a man named Leonard Knight as his personal tribute to God.

I am not one who identifies with any specific, organized religion. I have established my own personal beliefs and defined a version of faith that works for me (and it is one of the few topics I typically choose to keep to myself, and will continue to do so). But, regardless of who or what you believe in, there is no way to not have some level of appreciation for the individual who so fully devoted himself to creating something this bright and beautiful that was based solely upon good intentions. His motivation was not to have his Mountain be seen by others or to make a name for himself, but simply to turn a sentiment he felt strongly about in his heart into something tangible. The most prominent message I personally walked away with was one of love. Love and dedication.

“DON’T GET COMPLICATED WITH LOVE, LET’S KEEP IT SIMPLE” – Leonard Knight

Now love is a “religion” I can get on board with. In an ideal world, I think it is the universal religion. I am a hopeless romantic…a lover of love. My heart beats for the people around me. My heart beats for Mr. Knight (cannot resist a Keroac shout, but it is true — “the only people for me are the mad ones“. My heart beats for those who have worked to maintain this astounding structure since his passing…just because. My heart beats for friends, family, life, and experiences. And this particular experience is one will go down in my personal record book of memories, for sure. <3

*head to toe: Vint & York sunglasses, Signure8 crop top, skirt from ThreadSense (similar style here), L’Avenue slippers by LMN

Photos by Liz Cherkasova

Deserted

10 Jul

New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life
New York, Paris, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: bohemian dress, floral frock, hippie sunglasses, road trip life

I always heard people say that in New York they could be in the most crowded room, surrounded by excitement and interesting, stimulating people, yet still feel completely alone. I am no stranger to loneliness, and I think this is an emotion we all must feel from time to time. That said, I never really grasped how much these words rang true for me until I decided to leave New York three months ago.

I should start by saying that I love that NYC in such a unique and special way. I did so much growing up there, and am a much stronger individual for the trials and tribulations I was faced with along the way. But there will never come a day where driving over that bridge into the city won’t give me butterflies. It is energy in the purest of forms: a place fueled by ambition, adventure and chaos. I love that I lived there, but I love that I left when I did.

Paris has been an amazing and refreshing change of pace for me. However, I am currently on a (hopefully short-lived) French hiatus, spending July in California, as I sort out my visa situation. The process is frustrating, but I am trying to make the most of it…

I am a creative person. I thrive when working on creative projects and pursuing out-of-the-box ideas. I love working but it is also extremely important to me that I am working for the right reasons. I cannot handle living a life where my job leaves me unfulfilled. In my mind, that is just signing myself up for an unfulfilling life.

That said, I do hit roadblocks aplenty, where I lose stimulation. Sometimes this requires “falling off the grid”, so to speak, and doing everything I can to clear my head and revitalize my mind. Fortunately I have likeminded friends who not only understand this but also experience similar challenges, working in similar industries…

So, I spent the past couple days embarking on a mini-road trip with one of my nearest and dearest friends, Liz, absorbing the polar opposite of what I am used to. Exploring the many, many wonders of the vast and almost entirely vacant desert (and take my word, there is some quirky shit out there), driving on empty roads, and singing to Fleetwood Mac – reflecting on what is actually important in life the whole way through.

Sometimes it is the only way to remember everything is to see and feel nothing for a minute. To just let go and live.

*head to toe: Chilli Beans sunglasses, Threadsense floral hippie dress (I could live in this), LMN L’Avenue silk slippers

Photos by Liz Cherkasova

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The Balancing Act

7 Jul

Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandalsParis, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals
Paris, New York City, Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel blog: Cat-eye sunglasses, red lipstick, lightweight swing coat, striped sweater, tweed trousers, leather sandals

People always tell me how “amazing life must be” and how “I’m so lucky for being able to go on all of these adventures”. While I am grateful that these lovely individuals, for some reason, seem to care enough to follow along and join me on my confused journey, I must also say that I never intended to give the wrong impression (that being the impression I am living a glamorous, or even an easy, life). There are already plenty of blogs you can visit to get your fix on that false sense of reality. I have always made an effort to avoid being one of them. It isn’t all about rainbows and fairy dust…nobody’s life is perfect. The latest Celine bag or a super expensive camera just won’t solve it all (not that I wouldn’t love to have both). ;)

Before I go on, I know that I have a good life. I am thankful for the fact that I can walk, talk, and think for myself every single day. But this isn’t what I am about to get into…

I started OnTheRacks about six years ago, and it has served as a creative outlet for me to express my love for fashion, but also (and more importantly) to relate to people, and hopefully be someone others can relate to on a human level. I am humbled that some of you have stuck around to respect and stand by the unpredictable lifestyle I chose to adopt. But, at the end of the day, that’s all it is, really…

Yes, I am “mad to live” (thank you to my once-friend Jeremy for inspiring the tattoo on my arm and to Mr. Matthew Houlemard for the amazing and nostalgic reminder as to why it is there). I will never quit my mission to find true love, happiness, and contentment. That isn’t luck, though, that is determination and an unwillingness to give up even when the world continuously sends signs saying I should…I am just too frustratingly stubborn to turn around and take the easy route. Thank goodness for that.

I get restless. I am anxious and I struggle. I am not rich. I am self-sufficient because I bust my fucking ass (not as a blogger, but as a consultant after 8+ years of hustling, most of which was spent at a “9 to 7″ gaining valuable full-time experience).

I don’t bounce around on “daddy’s dime”. In fact, what money I did have was ultimately stolen from me a few years back by the person I thought I could trust more than anyone else in the world. Bummer. Life goes on, and I can make my own money. Even if that does mean working 16 hour days…at least I can call it my own. And at the end of the day I feel contentment in knowing that I’m creating something at the same time.

I have been screamed at and I have had shoes thrown at me. I have experienced sexual harassment from bosses, and endured very lawsuit-worthy mistreatment from some “super cool” NYC fashion brands. I spent a few years pursuing a career path that I temporarily thought was leading me toward “living the dream” (whatever that even means). At the time I guess I thought this was having a chic apartment in Manhattan and finding success in the fashion industry that NYC is known for. Getting noticed by “important people” and wearing head-to-toe designer apparel. Making a name for myself in that traditional, “I work at Vogue” kind of way. But at what expense?

I opened my eyes and realized there were other ways to do that. Perhaps I am not there yet, but I would rather climb Mt. Everest and keep my dignity to “arrive”, or whatever, than succumb to one more second of that bullshit.

I am grateful for the experiences that led me to learn that my “lifelong dream” was way off point at an early age. I am grateful for the setbacks that gave me the courage to believe in myself enough to start my own business and thickened my skin to the extent that, at least on a professional level, it is nearly infrangible.

And yes, there has been many a morning where I wake up not knowing what in the world I will do with my life, and in all sincerity I do still have those mornings pretty frequently…where just moving is basically the hardest thing in the world. I guess I just chose to try and embrace them and acknowledge it as my mind telling my body that something is off. If you feel this way there must be something that you need to change, right? So just change it. Figure it out.

Not happy with your job? Quit.

Not happy with where you live? Move.

Not happy with your boyfriend? Dump him.

Not happy with your friends? Make new ones.

Maybe this is the worst advice ever, but I do believe that sometimes the only solution to finding happiness or getting out of a dark place is to throw caution to the wind and have enough confidence in yourself to believe you can “tough it out”, whatever the outcome. Perhaps all you really need is a wrecking ball and a firm belief that you have the spark and ambition to figure out how you’ll put the pieces back together after you break them, one way or another. I like being impractical. A lot of times its those decisions that make no sense to anyone but you that turn out to be the best ones.

This life here is all you’ve really got, so you might as well grab it by the fucking horns and take control, right? I choose to learn from the bullshit, swerve my way around any undesirable roadblocks, and persevere. I am trying to at least. And let me tell ya, if I can do it, you can too.

*head to toe: And Other Stories cat-eye sunglasses, Marine Layer tee, H&M coat, Trollbeads 5th Ave. BraceletStrathberry Scotland tote (exclusive discounts if you support their kickstarter — best bags ever), design by Loft trousers (awesome French brand, must check out) pants, Office block heel mules