No, this post isn’t necessarily about fall, although the last day of my trip occurred in September. But we’re flashbacking today, so it’s all good. Anywho, this past Labor Day weekend, I left on a jet plane to visit a good friend of mine who lives in Orange County, CA. Despite the fact that it was a short trip/brief vacation, it was also the respite I needed and thoroughly welcomed. We haven’t had an in depth discussion of my enduring love of California, have we? Well, if I had all the dollar dollar bills in the world, your Square Peg would hightail it to San Diego faster than you could say high cost of living. (Which is why I chose Texas instead of my beloved blue sky San Diego.) See below for a slide show of my fun trip.
I want all of her clothes. Each. And. Every. One. Classy. Feminine. Elegant. Modern. Yes, Meghan. Yesssss
Are y’all familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines? I’m sure your mother has also gently forced you to watch back-to-back episodes of Fixer Upper on HGTV when she knows that you’re positively allergic to anything having to do with home constructions, DIY, building, terms like rebar and backsplash, so on and so forth. Anyway, the popularity of their show led to the Gaines’ expanding. Magnolia Market at the Silos has a bakery/store/etc., and the Magnolia Table, which I’m far more interested in, has breakfast served all day. So, yeah, I need to go to there. Not just for the breakfast, but the look and feel of the buildings, both rustic and clean, are calling out to me. This need may happen pretty soon, though, because the Magnolia Marvels are all located in Waco, TX, which is about an hour and 30 minutes away from me. Huzzah!
Aren’t they lovely? I need a KitchenAid mixer, y’all. And I need it now. But, wonders the eagle-eyed reader, will she even use it? Why, yes, indeed I will. Hey, look, I’m not known for my kitchen anything prowess, but I love to bake (fun fact; I used to bake a ton when I was younger), and I feel like that mixer will come in handy for experimenting overall in the kitchen. So, yeah, if you want to donate one, send it to P.O. Box This Square Peg. Because these things are pricey.
Remember this gorgeous retro swimsuit from TICN #8?
Welp, it’s not a need anymore because…I bought it.
Pics coming soon on how it looks on me. The colors are a bit different, but it’s essentially the same outfit. We shall see. This is huge, folks. I don’t wear two-piece swimwear. And when I do, it generally involved a giant T-shirt and shorts. But the Summer of This Square Peg doesn’t call for hiding, does it?
Party people: I rarely wear jumpsuits. Because when I do wear them, I look with child. And since I’m not with child and haven’t ever been with child, you can imagine me wanting to avoid appearing that way when it comes to my personal style. Nevertheless, while at Ross a week or so ago, I came upon the jumpsuit you see above and it really delighted my eye. The pattern, the texture–everything. My friend, who was shopping with me, gasped. “You have to buy that! It’s so cute!” Me: But I’ll look pregnant. “You won’t!” Me: I will. Every jumpsuit I’ve ever owned or worn–with the exception of like, one–has created a weirdness in my mid-section area, creating an illusion that I certainly wasn’t looking for. Hence my reluctance. But my friend’s encouragement won me over. Fast forward to me wearing the jumpsuit for a graduation this past weekend and happily discovering that it was lovely and non-pregnant looking!
Here’s to taking tiny risks with style and in life, too, which all culminates to tip-toeing out of that warm comfort zone every now and again.
Soooo: do you have outfits that create said weird illusion? Wanna share?
Mine was delicious. Not only because of the food I ate (and yeah, I keep eating like my metabolism is 16 years old and not close to a brand new decade; we will discuss later), but because Texas gave us two beautiful, sunny, warm, breezy days that were just delectably good. With the bipolarity around here, you take what it gives and when it’s fantastic, you engage in praise hands and enjoy it immensely. (Knowing that in a week or too, monsoons will likely be a-coming…) Here’s what I wore:
Saturday. Brunch with some of the lovely ladies in my life. Two good friends of mine co-hostessed about 30 of us at a wonderful restaurant in our local area called Tupelo Honey (doesn’t the name just evoke visions of lemonade and wide verandas??), where we talked and laughed and reconnected and enjoyed the moments given to us. As usual, I had no idea what to wear; I did envision a long summer dress and pearls because, again, Tupelo Honey, but decided against that when a friend mentioned that she planned on wearing jeans. So jeans it was. I paired my boyfriend jeans with a blouse, blazer, and black heels. (See the photo; sadly, you can’t see the heels but trust that they were bomb, mmkay?)
Jeans and Blazer: Old Navy Blouse: Somewhere I don’t recall
Sunday. I had the pleasure of attending a spiritual conference this past Sunday, and it was certainly the faith-strengthening boost I needed. What I wore wasn’t the most important aspect of the day, of course, but looking my best was still part of the plan. Regarding what I wore: I shopped in my closet. Huzzah…
Real quick: the skirt had pockets. Don’t ask me while I held my hands that way when my skirt had pockets. Le sigh. But pockets! Yes!
Blazer (navy blue): Girl, I can’t remember Blouse: goodness, see above. I think Dress Barn? Years ago? Skirt: New York & Company The shoes of life: Jessica Simpson, from Macy’s
Didja notice something different with my hair?
I cut it!
Yes, I was growing it out. Yes, I planned on holding on. But y’all: the scissors and the long for change are just too powerful. I detailed my haircut journey in my latest submission for The Maria Antoinette. When it goes live, I’ll link it here and we’ll talk about the cut in depth. Just know that I’m very happy with it and the myriad of styles that came along my way. And that was the point. Variety continues to spice up my life. Cue the music.
Oh, hey. Have you missed me as much as I’ve missed you, dear reader? Have you longingly gazed at your notifications, hoping to see that I’ve reached out to you with another post? No? Well, I love you anyway.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this fro (known as She) on my larger-than-average head. Let me catch you up: for the past several months or so, She’s been giving me life. Why? Because She’s been obedient! We all know how She does her own thing and follows her own rules and decides when she wants to feel moisturized and so on. But for the past several months, She’s been actually responding to my attempts at styling and care-taking. It’s been slightly surreal. But I’ll take it. Anyway, since the dawn of summer, I decided to start fashioning her into vintagey pompadour styles that She’s really responded to. Take a look.
I’ve loved the creative, natural hair updo look forever. Throw in that retro feel that some of the styles evoke and I became an immediate fan and decided to try my hand at them. Even better: the style protects my dear ends, which are tucked away comfortably while I wear these styles. Here’s a quick how-to (or how I do) on them:
I start with hair that’s been stretched by an old twist-out, or Bantu knot-out, or really any style that I’ve worn for a while. Note that stretched doesn’t necessarily mean straight. Some naturalistas do these styles on straightened hair, but I like to just have my hair stretched to a malleable point.
I then apply moisturizer or whatever styling cream I want to use. Before that, I like to spritz my hair with a tiny bit of water and/or leave-in conditioner, but not so much as to lose the stretch and bring on le shrinkage.
Now I style. Perhaps here, you’re waiting for some rhyme or reason to how I style the hair into the frompadour (fro + pompadour)? Sorry. I don’t have one. I literally stare in the mirror and start moving my hair around to see what I like. Sometimes I want a front swoop thing like you see in the photos. Or I want to create a “flower” with my hair in the back. It’s really up to what I end up doing. As long as I have an abundance of pins and a bristle brush to keep sides and edges smooth (to no avail), I just end up with a nice style that I wear for a week or so.
That’s all she wrote. I get some of my ideas from Pinterest, of course, where you’ll find plenty of ladies with similar styles. Barring the falling into the Pinterest rabbit hole, that’s a great resource for ideas. YouTube, as well.
So what new things are you doing for the summer summer summertime?
Last weekend, my friend and I headed up to NYC to catch a concert by Damien Escobar, a violinist I discovered a few months ago. It was a nice chance to get out of town, even for a quick weekend. Digressing: have I discussed my love/hate relationship with the city? It’s a fantastic place for the arts, for museums, for my beloved Broadway–but my goodness, what is that infernal odor that persists in the air? It’s been there since 1986, when we first met. Anyway, our embattled relationship goes on.
We took the bus up to the city and checked in at Staybridge Suites, a nice hotel in the Hell’s Kitchen area (so many contrasts in that last sentence, no?), which wasn’t too far from the venue. Prior to this show, you guys, I wrangled with what I wanted to wear. My summer concert wear is typically comfortable and easy. But something intriguing happens when you’re headed to the big city, something that requests that you up the chic factor and slay all day. At least it happened to me. Anyone else get that feeling of wanting to look extra when you’re headed out of town and away from all you know at home? I certainly did. I went back and forth and back again with what I wanted to wear. Finally, after a few hours of searching the racks at my tried-and-true Ross a few days before the trip, I decided to stop stressing and went the simple route: a nice, comfortable shirt-dress. Here it is.
As you can see, très simple and très comfortable. I completed the look with square hoops in my ears and those bangles on my wrist. Honestly, I wanted my hair (kinky twists, protective style #1,097 since February of this year) and my lips to be the showstoppers. (This is always the case, dear reader. I live for awesome hair and awesome lips.) And so I did the side-swept thing by pinning back one side of the hair and pushing most of the twists to the other side. Then I applied my bestie Ruby Woo until the redness was the right shade of fiyah. A bit of mascara, some light eye shadow, and we were ready to go.
We had a good time overall. I could have done without waiting in line forever just to get inside the Highline Ballroom, where the concert was held, when we were told that arriving early would prevent that from happening and that we would have seats. No seats were had. We stood for three hours. (If you could waiting in line from 5-ish to the end of the show around 10-ish, we stood for 5 hours or so. Insert highly irritated This Square Peg emoji here.) Nevertheless, barring sound issues and things of that nature, it was nice to hang out with my friend and hear some good music.
As expected, the drizzly/rainy/cloudy/depressing 50-degree days of just last week quickly turned into 80-plus degree days in the big city. Our very sad spring went right into cheerful mid-summer. Out came the cute dresses on ladies, the sandals, the much-needed pedicures for toes that appeared to have been trapped in coal mines and were used to traverse the rocks blocking them from sunlight. My poor toes. Anyway, while attempting to wrap my brain and my sinuses around the weather extremes, I’ve certainly been taking advantage of the warmth. Shaving regularly (a pause in the collection of my winter fur), pulling my own cute dresses from the closet, putting away my coat. And as we drift further and further into the summertime zone, here are a few essentials I think are necessary (for me, anyway) to deal with warm weather.
Shorts. Since I rarely wear slips anymore, unless it’s a really fancy shmancy dress, under-shorts are perfect for those summer-y dresses that are somewhat light and flimsy and could blow a certain way when the breeze hits them. At first, I thought the pair my mom gifted me with were low-key girdles, and you know how I feel about those things, but they’re not. They’re great. And when the unfortunate sweaty season hits, I don’t have to worry about the potential forest fires that could start from the rubbing together of these juicy thighs. (We keep it real here at Team Square Peg.)
Shades. I have a bad habit, you guys. Along with handbags and earrings, I buy the cheapest sunglasses. I just do. I’ve never been interested in brand names when it comes to those things. (Well, at this point, you know me and my overall tenuous relationship with brand names and trends.) Of course, needless to say, this means I run through dozens of pairs, being that my no-more-than-$5 shades tend to break and crack and basically disintegrate. Nevertheless. Summertime simply means having a nice pair of sassy shades. As much as I’ve been forgoing my shades in the afternoons–after the long absence of the sun, its return has me gulping up Vitamin D on my face like a boss–I like having my new pair (yep, another pair) right in my handbag for those blissfully bright days. They’re super cute, too. (Don’t tsk tsk at me, dear reader. I know well made means lasts longer. So you’re buying, right?)
The new shades. Falling apart in 5,4,3…
Salads. Kidding. Eat your ice cream. It’s summer. In fact, just ignore salad at all costs.
Stories. I inherently associate summertime with reading. Well, reading for me is a year-round, slightly obsessive affair, but summer also reminds me of afternoons spent lounging on the sofa in our cool basement, out of school and surrounded by novels and various magazines. There were also plenty of days where my sister and I walked to our local library, where we spent long days in the stacks, excitedly peering through books and whispering our finds to one another. These summer days, despite not having much time to lounge around, I still arm myself with my books, both digital and hard copy. Especially during my commute to and from the OK Corral. And I make healthy use of my library card, as well. Do you have a library card? Don’t you love it? Even if I don’t check out books, there’s something kind of amazing about wandering those stacks and inhaling the sweet scent of books. Takes me back to those lovely adolescent days. (SHAMELESS PLUG: if you’re looking for something to read, you can buy my latest book of short fiction here. Thank you. I love you forever.)
Ah, la vie d’été. The summer life. Long, hot days, and long, hot nights. A normal transition would have been nice, but oh, well. Enjoy it, wherever you are…
Want to share your summertime essentials with me? Pretty please?
So I stopped wearing shorts sometime around the late 90s/early 2000s. There was no real reason. I recall looking at myself in the mirror one day and deciding that I was no longer in PE class. Therefore: no more shorts. (Deep down, though, summertime and the meeting of thighs…you get my drift, lady out there.) Anyway, fast forward to today, or rather, a few months ago: I received a romper as part of my recent swap party haul. And I was actually pretty excited. To me, rompers combine the best of both worlds: that classy jumpsuit look/feeling that I’ve grown to love, and a fun, lighthearted style that I personally think embodies summertime. It looks like that 16 year-ban will be ending this summer.
Since I didn’t get a chance to snap some photos of my new romper, here are some Pinterest-captured views of the kind of romper ensembles that delight my eye. In other words, I like styles that aren’t too short and can be dressed up or slightly dressed down.
That far left one with the shoes and the bag and the hat…giving me so much life.
Needless to say, when I finally wake up and the weather isn’t manifesting its bipolar ways–i.e., legitimate summertime–I’ll definitely put on my new romper and provide the pictorials just for you.
I will preface by telling you that This Square Peg is perfectly fine in her swimming trunks, a tankini top, and a cover-up. Because she’s quite comfortable with being comfortable–including at the beach. And as much as I adore the beach for being the great body unifier (in other words, no matter what you feel about how you look, the beach will teach you about the variety in bodies, shapes, and sizes, so accept your temple and move on), I simply prefer keeping this African chocolate temple covered up, by and large. However. Sometimes a girl works hard on her health, and the physical incentives suddenly don’t feel like being covered up that much. So here are some ideas I have to interrupt that cover-up life, courtesy of Pinterest. (I plan on being about that sand and ocean life this summer, by the way.)
Love love love the retro vintagey look anyway, but I especially love seeing it in swimwear. Super cute, fashionable, and finally allows some of us to live out our Annette Funicello beach movie dreams and fantasies. (I’m not the only one, am I?)
A retro top + high-waisted bottom for a two-piece swimsuit? Golden. Golden.
Whoever came up with peplum swim tops must know how much I love peplum. Right? Because I love peplum. And I adore that I can wear it as swimwear.
That’s all she wrote, folks. May summertime greet us with sandy beaches and re-enactments of scenes from Beach, Blanket, Bingo. Onwards, upwards, and beachwards…
My longing for change would be manifested via my hair, and that’s exactly what happened. Without further ado…
I cut my hair.
Yes, after making promises to myself that after my cut in January 2014, I would just grow it out patiently and see where it took me, I decided to stop flirting with the idea of a cut (I’ve been thinking about it for a long, long time) and just do it. So during my trim and color (went back to black, as you can see) this past weekend, I asked my stylist if we could do a tapered cut. I wanted to retain some length, but I also wanted a shape and a style. Bim bam boom; she snipped, she did her thing, and I love it more than the sliced bread I’m avoiding.
It was time. Other than longing for a change, as I mentioned before, here are some other reasons it was high time for a style and color change:
1. As far as color, my formerly red hue was growing and looking old. Rather than spice it back up, I decided to just return to my black hair. Yes, my gray strands will be popping like crazy soon (I’ve been graying since high school, ya’ll), but whatever.
2. Honestly, as much as I love twist-outs and Bantu knots and all of that, I kind of wanted a quicker way to style my hair.
3. Tapered ‘dos are super chic!
4. It’s summer. Enough said.
5. Red lippies (which you know I love) pop like crazy with dark hair.
Are you wondering if I’ll keep this look when summer ends, though? I am, as well. It’s something to think about. I really love the look. Which means I might keep it longer than these hot days. Growing out my hair was my initial goal when I big chopped, but I have to tell you that I’m a sucker for chic and quick. And whether long or short, I just want healthy hair. Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Along the way in this fun, discovery naturalista journey, my hair changed. There was some breakage, some damage.
Deciding to color it certainly didn’t help. So I think it was high time I cut it, not only for a style and a shape, but to kind of start over. So whether or not I grow it back out or retain this look, the change was necessary. We’ll see what happens. For now, I am incredibly pleased with this change.
My mother didn’t faint, by the way. She was very happy with the change, probably because I mentioned that I’m done coloring my hair. And she’s used to her oldest change fomenting change by way of hair, so there’s that.