I Prefer the Term “Vintage,” Thank You

Chickadees, 2014 is officially over, and while there is absolutely nothing lazier than a “Year in Review” post, well, here we are! While I’m seeing loads of less-than-lovely sentiments about 2014 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I have to say that it was a year that challenged me not only to be a better person, but to be a better adult. 

(Which, let’s face it, I’m still only moderately proficient at.)

(Despite seven years of practice.)

(Shut up, I’m trying.)

As a child I assumed that when I reached adulthood, I would have grown-up thoughts.” – David Sedaris
I was nearly a Christmas baby; or, at the very least, a pre-Christmas baby, but thanks to some bad math, I arrived in the early days of 1989; therefore, 2014 was my 25th year, and if I were a car, I would officially be an antique. As it stood, 2014 was the year I began to set myself on the path to happy, healthy adulthood. And part of that was setting myself a bedtime. In college, I was famous for the two-hour cat nap – your Gal could stay up until 4AM, sleep (literally anywhere) until 6AM and then roll out of bed/chair/tuba cubby fresh and ready for class. This miraculous ability to function left me somewhere around the age of 23, but the 1AM-4AM bedtimes didn’t, and so over the years I steadily developed the morning personality of a crotchety old woman. It wasn’t until late in the year that I discovered the combination of six hours of sleep and a sensible breakfast/lunch make me a FAR more pleasant person throughout the day. In 2015? I hope to figure out how to make kale taste as good as huevos rancheros.

Your Gal, any time before 12pm in 2014.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank
You know what doesn’t feel great in the short run? Parting with your money and not receiving some sort of sparkly bauble within 3-5 business days (I’m looking at you, katespade.com). You know what feels great? Receiving adorable photos and pictures from a child you sponsor, or knowing that you have the ability to help give people in need access to much-needed livestock. While I’m trying to find places to volunteer in 2015, this past year was the one in which I started giving back as much as I can afford monetarily, and knowing that money is helping to improve someone’s life is worth far more than a bracelet or a bag.

Sharing is caring, y’all.

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo DaVinci
You know what’s great? Looking at your college diploma, being able to make decisions about your future and your career, carrying on an intelligent conversation and being proud of your accomplishments. You know what’s not? Feeling like you’ve become a complete and utter moron since graduating. This year I embarked upon a quest to re-smarten myself through the classic, which I’ve slightly modified to allow myself 50% “fun reading” (including the classics) and 50% “mind expansion reading,” which dictates that for every novel I buy, I’m also required to purchase and peruse something in the realm of science, history, politics or biography. Is it the same thing as grad school? No, but at least I’ll be able to talk about something aside from how my hair won’t hold a decent curl.

Of course, everything is a process. Sometimes I have a milkshake and french fries for dinner. Sometimes I read a trashy romance novel and spill nail polish on the coffee table. I’m still stuck on making pro/con lists rather than listening to my own intuition when it comes to major decisions (2014’s big career move, I’m looking at you). Oh, and rather than sticking to my “only buy what Stitch Fix” sends you rule, I’ve made a few (too many) trips to J. Crew.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on self-improvement, and if you really want to see how it’s done, you’ll refer to Jen Lancaster; in the meantime, I’m prepared to face 2015 a little older, a little wiser, and a little bit of a better me.

(And with my own insurance. Sigh.)

Love,
Your Gal

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GGG 2.0: Gal Gift Guide

Bey heard I love white trees.

Full disclosure: I am the absolute worst person in the world to buy gifts for. Not because I’m terribly picky, but because despite having 364 days in a year to think about what I want for Christmas, my response to friends/family every year is “I…have no idea. Maybe a card?”

I’m not sure when or why this happened, since my childhood lists were long and beautifully detailed, packed primarily with a horse, horse-related toys and Dear America books, and preferably in that order. (Spoiler alert: my parents started their shopping with items two and three.) Maybe it stems from the fact that if I truly want something, I’m likely to budget for and buy it for myself before Christmas rolls around; maybe it’s that I don’t need most of the things I want, or that my inability to choose a restaurant applies to all game-time decisions in my life.

Whatever it is, I am not the person you want to receive for Secret Santa. But in the interest of making life easier for anyone shopping for a similarly frustrating young lady, I present the complement to last week’s Guy Gift Guide:

1. ROOKIE YEARBOOK V.3: Tavi Gevinson is the coolest of the cool girls; Rookie’s third yearbook is a reflection of that. With contributions from Lorde, Sia and the Sisters Fanning, your lady doesn’t have to be a teen to enjoy this beautifully curated collection. (Also, her imaginary best friends Mindy Kaling and Lena Dunham love it, too.)
2. ALEX & ANI: Alex & Ani is that rare product that every woman loves, even if she insists she hates jewelry. From birthstones to sports teams to gorgeously beaded patterns, Alex & Ani literally has an option for everyone. My personal favorites are the Queen’s Crown and the Phoenix Wrap.
3. RAY-BAN WAYFARERS: If every man looks better in a Clubmaster, every lady is even lovelier in a Wayfarer. Perfect for every face type and the kind of sassy and bold that makes a gal want to wear a red lip, the Wayfarer is the gateway drug to building your lady a fantastic sunglasses collection. Protip? Go for the classic, in tortoise or black.
4. REBECCA MINKOFF MAC MINI: This one is a bit on the pricier end, but if there is a more versatile bag out there, no one tell me about it. Available in any color a gal could want, the Mini Mac is the perfect size for a night out or to store the essentials in an airplane carry-on. Have a little more to spend? Try the Michael Kors Selma bag, which may just be the world’s most perfect satchel.
5. PERFUME: While it may be a no-brainer, every lady has at one point or another received 1.7 – 3.3oz of something that smells like rosy roadkill. Gentlemen, you cannot go wrong with Stella McCartney’s Stella, Hermés Eau des Merveilles or Dior’s J’Adore. (And if you’re really feeling generous, try to hunt down the Naked2 palette.)
6. THE RED TENT: I’m not exaggerating when I say every woman to whom I have lent a copy of this book has stolen it from me. Regardless of your lady’s age, ethnicity or religion, she will laugh and cry and read this novel until it falls apart.

As always, I’m neither fancy nor important enough for affiliate links: all opinions are my own!

Love,
Your Gal

GGG: The Guy Gift Guide

Image courtesy of Gawker Media.

Image courtesy of Gawker Media.

Now, let me preface my Guy Gift Guide by stating that I am an absolutely terrible receiver of gifts (oh, hello, you judgmental, dusty, expensive pile of thank-you notes), but that I pride myself on being a good-to-great giver of gifts. While pulling together my own Christmas list tends to inspire cold sweats, I always look forward to devoting hours browsing my city’s beautifully decorated stores around the holidays in search of the gifts my brothers will promptly open, examine and fall asleep on/in/under.

But choosing gifts for my family has always been easy; it’s male friends or – gasp – the occasional suitor where I think every gal has a little bit of trouble. So without further ado, I present the handful of options for your fella that are (hopefully) guaranteed to get a smile.

(As always, none of these are affiliate links – a) I’m not that fancy and b) well, refer to “a.”)

  1. KOMONO WATCHES: Gorgeous, masculine and surprisingly affordable, you absolutely cannot go wrong with a Komono watch. From hipster florals to yacht club stripes with beautifully bezeled faces, there’s a surprisingly affordable option for every gentleman in your life.
  2. HERSCHEL BAGS: Duffels, messenger bags, laptop sleeves – you name it, Herschel has it, and likely in a fun throwback print. As durable as they are fun, Herschel is the very best option for letting a fellow know that it’s high time he start traveling more, and in style to boot.
  3. BAXTER OF CALIFORNIA GROOMING: Ever wonder why your moisturizer runs out so quickly? Even that $89 stuff the very nice lady at Sephora somehow talked you into buying? It’s probably because your dude is sneaking a little bit of it to calm his razor burn. Enter Baxter: from shaving tips and tricks to Dopp kits, this California company should be your gentleman’s go-to for grooming.
  4. RAY-BAN CLUBMASTERS: Every man looks 47% more handsome and mysterious in a pair of Clubmasters. This is a scientific fact.
  5. CRAFT-A-BREW BEERMAKING KITS: From ales to stouts and everything in between, your fella can relive the glorious day man first discovered the magic of hops, barley and water with Craft-a-Brews 1- or 3-gallon options.
  6. SIGNED NOVELS: Every adult should have a small collection of contemporary novels, if only so they’ll never run out of conversation topics at a party. Chuck Palahniuk being a perennial favorite, I’d suggest scouring eBay for authors your guy loves if you can’t make it out to a signing.

Happy holiday shopping!

Love,
Your Gal