Cutting a Vice: Online Shopping

My dear friends and readers all around,

Online shopping has taken most of the world by storm, many of us barely shop “live” any more. Why waste time going to a store when you can have everything home-delivered at the click of a button? However, I have noticed for myself that it is so much easier to over-shop because you are eliminating the exact hurdle of regular shopping: trying things on in a tiny dressing room with bright lights and pulsating music (strobe lights and total darkness if you’re still into Abercrombie or Hollister), hauling heavy bags home. There are many benefits to online shopping, including the wide assortment of styles, special fits like petite, curve, maternity and – my personal favorite: The “tall” section at Asos, Topshop and Zalando, that allow me have a look other than permanent bermudas, freezing wrists and “maxi” dresses that are really more, well… ‘semi’. The world is becoming more digital, and that is convenient. However, despite all these benefits, online shopping detracts from a few key principles of healthy consumption and makes it so much easier for us to overspend. For instance:

  • When buying online, you can’t be 100% sure of the fit. Even if you know the brand and the size you wear in it, there’s always a chance this particular item won’t fit right, or you’ll get a dud. But you’re less picky since, once it’s already in your house, you want to try to make it work.
  • You can’t feel the fabric and for people who care about comfort, this isn’t good. Still, even if it doesn’t feel great, you are less likely to return it since it’s more of a hassle than just not buying something in the first place.
  • You eliminate the personal experience factor that attaches a certain memory to an item. For example, I love buying things when I go on a trip, as it always reminds me of the place. When online shopping, there’s no story to the item.
  • It’s easier to forget what you have. Similar to having a memory associated with a piece, when you shop online, you tend to lose track of what you already own. New styles are at the tip of your fingers so you’re less likely to rack your closet to see if you don’t already own a million pairs of non-show socks (because you definitely do, but the washer/your dog ate half of them) or a shrugged leopard-print faux fur bomber jacket (you never know).
  • You’re less creative. This is a big one: it may be paradoxical to think that the less you own, the more creative you are with your style, but out of necessity comes innovation. The more you feel like you can purchase at any time of day (and yes, I believe all of my online purchases have occurred at hours no store other than a 7/11 or a porn shop would be open, fashion items dubious in both of these locations), the less thought you put into creatively using and combining what you already have. I realised this when I noted I felt like I was always “missing” something, but truth be told, no matter how many more “must-have” items I bought, a short time later, I’d feel like something else was lacking. Ironically, I barely thought about what I already owned. Some of my best outfits, I soon noticed, happened when I was in a time crunch and had to put together a look without the chance to buy something new. Suddenly, there were so many cool things in my closet and so many different ways to combine these pieces – plus, if you’re truly uninspired with your outfit, a different hairdo or some bright lipstick will instantly change your look.
  • The Grandma Ideal: Once upon a time, people didn’t have the internet (if you were born in 1997, like my brother, or later, this will send you into a panic attack). Have you ever noticed how stylish people in older photos look? It’s because they had to so carefully curate what looked good on them and  know themselves so well that each piece in their closet, whether basic or elegant, looked fabulous on them. They also took care of each item with so much more TLC than we do in today’s fast-fashion world, since they knew they couldn’t replace them as easily. Thus, my grandmother cherished her style dearly and she had quite a lot of shoes and clothes after many years of buying key pieces, but not nearly as much as I already do now and, most importantly, no crap or stuff she bought on a whim.
  • Quality over quantity: The “French Closet” is a similar concept to this, as is Mari Kondo’s Japanese minimalist philosophy. The idea of really knowing ourselves and adding just a few key pieces each year to complement the growth of our personal style, in addition to truly loving everything we own, is quite huge. I started applying this rule already: If I look at some material thing in my life and don’t feel positive emotions towards it (either it’s worn and gross and/or it doesn’t suit me any longer, thus making me feel bad) it’s just taking up unnecessary space and energy. Imagine loving everything you own and feeling good in each piece. Invest more money in one or two amazing items than the same amount in ten ‘so la la’ pieces.
  • Basics: Everyone has theirs. Know them, have them, but once you do, you really only need to shop to replace them or add a few amazing standout pieces to their repertoire.
    To give you an idea, My personal basics are: nude and black shoes of each kind (sandals, flats, high boots, ankle boots, pumps and sneakers), black, white, grey and beige simple t-shirts and tank tops, black skinny jeans, denim shorts, a few black and denim mini skirts, some tops in red, yellow and green (I personally don’t wear cold colors like blue), a couple of summer dresses in lighter colors, some elegant dresses, a few different jackets, blazers and coats (different warmths for different seasons), a couple of leather jackets, faux-leather pants, tapered formal/work pants and monochrome sweaters and scarves in neutral colors. I have some workout clothes I usually just use to do nothing in – olé! 😀 My go-to accessories are rose and yellow gold rings, necklaces and small earrings as well as some larger hoops (2000s J. Lo forever), a black or grey beanie for winter and some banana clips and black hair-ties for my hair. I tried hairbands but they give me a headache.
    My statement items are: A denim jacket with rose embroidery on one sleeve, a few t-shirts with embroidery or slogans (a rose, “Bonjour Simone”, TLC’s album cover screen-printed), a pair of jeans with rose embroidery (I love flowers), a black faux-fur coat, a pair of grey heels with plastic pearls, some Indian earrings, Brazilian or Spanish (as in, bought the items in those countries) summer tops and dresses with unique prints, some extra-large and baggy bomber jackets with customised embroidery (for my Rihanna-inspired moments), a few boots with studs and belts for a rockier vibe and a couple of body suits and party tops that are either see-through, lacey, backless or somehow or other not something you’d wear to the office (unless you work in Brooklyn or Venice Beach). And that’s it!

In summary, I want to test the theory that style actually improves when we stop online shopping. I hypothesise to be more creative, daring, stylish and thoughtful in my day-to-day looks when I stop relying on buying new things online constantly. Will it work? I don’t know. But I’m going to give it a test, so I told two of my friends (who, very surprisingly for two 20-something girls from Europe, didn’t want to do this challenge with me :D), that I’d be off online shopping for, drumroll please…
A year.
Ok, not quite – until just a week before my birthday, so approximately October 20th of 2018. If I am dying to purchase something only-available online, just before my BDay, as a gift to myself, it seems like a fair date for a treat.
But still, it’s 11 months. To me, that’s a lot. If I crack, my friends get to pick a punishment. But I don’t think they will have to, as I’m actually really excited about this.

Of course this means I won’t be giving up shopping entirely (sorry, Mom), but I can only shop live, in stores, which happens very rarely (though it may increase). However, when I do go to a store, I only buy something if I absolutely LOVE the item in every way possible. I am much more discerning and the selection is much smaller at any given time, so I do believe I will save quite a bit of money this way. And this money can (and, if you know me, 100% will) be used for traveling, books and concerts.

I believe I will be more stylish, more creative, and that I will save more money. I know I will feel like I’m missing out at first, but I do believe I will get used to it. When I do buy something, it will feel more special. Plus, the tradeoffs of what I can spend money on, and the fulfilment of feeling more creative and stylish on the daily, seem really worthwhile. 

Here’s to the pact of real-life style! I will be reporting back to you in 11 months time. If you want to do it with me, even if just out of curiosity or for a short time span, I warmly invite you to do so so we can share our experiences!

Offline stylish vibes and love,

Simone

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Once

Once upon a time I knew love
in a way
that made all the love songs
feel like made for today

It was morning and I loved
you at midday, I loved
in the evening, my love
the night soared
with our love

Your light woke me
above the dark corners
and all I could breathe in
was love
coffee burnt on the stove

but I needed no drink
when love kept me awake
as if nothing could take
what we had
and would make

If more love we would make
I’d die there

In the bed
of our heaviest air
and my hair
in your eyes
blind from love
deaf from cries

it all dies
when you hold back the heart
in the moment
where the heart
is the only
who knows what is growing –

But we gave it no chance.

So you talked of old loves
and I asked you to say
what you hadn’t quite processed
from your past till today

Like a friend I was there
crouched on your front stairs,
hearing loves of your past
come to present to last

in my bra there I waited
while the last girls you dated
you described bright and bold
as my chest turned to cold

I was wearing your boxers
since our last night of passion,
Felt more beautiful nude
than in all the best fashion

But to me, you said “stop”,
that you “cannot commit”
that “the timing’s not right”
but “please stay there and sit

as I talk of my past
and get all my baggage out,
you’re so good at holding tears
I’d need you in a drought”

Without a doubt

I’m the camel
and your love is the desert
and every grain of hot sand
burns my soul to a level

of hollow
of loss
of the love
that we tossed

it’s been years since the man
the only one I ever loved
and the few girls you loved
well, I’m sure they’re real dolls

but I would’ve loved you, baby
like a love goddess boss
not a doll, not a barbie…
I tell myself its your loss

as your excuses burn holes
as I wash the last bowl
of our after-love morning
with our love now in mourning

Speak to me like a lover
but a therapist you see
so that is what I am –
it’s what you need me to be

so tomorrow when I wake
I’ll learn from this mistake
and alone with my tea
love you less than I do me

Though I’m still there for you,
as my heart remains steady
I want to love once again,
I know that I’m ready

I had one love one time
and you loved a few, too
but if we can’t love together
what is “me and you”?

Just a moment, a thrill
A cute story to tell
Maybe we will be friends
as the love story ends

Every time it rains
you’ll think of me, you said
but what if the rain
washes me from your head?

like a thousand silent drops
You don’t hear me at all
but with every word you say
back to my own world I crawl

Because it’s not about us
when you just talk of them
and I listen, not your woman
but more your good friend

So your friend I could be
though I wish you’d loved me
but I’m glad I gave you comfort,
my love’s tender and free

As I say goodbye
and we part our ways
just know you were the sun
of my November days

This grey month you were born
the same my heart was torn
but you know they say the sprains
are just growing pains

So I plant some new seeds
to replace the one for you
that just a month ago
had started to bloom

now that tiny flower
fearing new love’s powers
in old heartaches’ waters
got drowned in your showers

but

I’ll find a new garden
Who knows, maybe soon
Though I still dream of you
and the love I once knew

Orbit

At night I dream of you,
in the day you dream of me
it was our biggest curse
that sun and moon, they never meet

You’re in your own world
and my name is made of stars
miles away another language
feels like verbalising scars

Your words are written right to left
and mine from left to right,
if we can’t move in the same direction
how could we not lose sight?

Your desert is my mountain
and your halva is my milk,
my wool scratches the surface
of your soul hidden in silk

You fought for your country
long after I left mine,
we are both soldiers of love
losing battles of our time

Now you’re leaving and I’m staying
but both were never really here,
we just made love mentally
to redefine what’s far and near

So at night I dream of you,
in the day you dream of me
it was our biggest curse
that sun and moon, they never meet.

Summer Grunge

Hello loves!

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is just around the corner. For many, that means florals, bright colors and funky prints. But what if you’re more of the grungy, all-black kinda chick or dude? Fear not – this season’s for you too.

Take your favorite grungy outfit (like this simple black playsuit) and add a touch of bohemian bling to it with one standout piece that rules any look. Here I’m wearing a stunning raw Amethyst necklace designed by my dear friend Karly from Southern California, who followed her dreams of becoming a jewelry designer. It’s tough being a small business nowadays, but those unique initiatives are the kind I love supporting in a world of fast fashion. Don’t get me wrong – fast fashion has many benefits for many of us (price-friendly, trendy, accessible), so if you can mix some of your favorite mainstream brands with the most unique designs by small businesses, you’ve got it all covered. Find more of Karly’s beautiful jewelry at K Bird Design for a touch of California any time, any place, any grunge.

Playsuit – Forever 21, Nameplate – Custom made in Brooklyn, Amethyst Necklace – K Bird Design, Flats – Zara.

Photos by my partner in crime 😉

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European Bosslady featuring the Dutch brand ‘Maei’

Dear Bossladies and Gentlemen,

While I adore the American bomber-jacket and cool slogan style that expresses modern day badasses, the Eurochic version of the look is just as dear to me. Wepa!

The handpainted wooden bracelet and hoop earrings are from the lovely artisanal Dutch brand Maei – find all their pieces here!

The unexpected artisanal pieces bring a touch of boho to this otherwise very sophisticated ‘working girl’ look. Try bringing a bit of contrast to your look to remind you of fun, freedom and color even on your most intense workaholic days 🙂

Pants and Bodysuit: Asos Tall Shoes: Senso Cape: Zara Bag: Furla Wooden Jewelry: Maei Gold Jewelry: Family and travel heirlooms

Photos by Vee ❤

Love always,

Sim

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La Vie en Rose

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Edith Piaf’s song has little to do with the fact that life is hard, unpredictable and a bit crazy. “La Vie en Rose” is an outlook you choose, no matter what the realities of life may be. Of course, it’s much easier to be happy and dandy on some days than on others. However, no matter how many tough hands you’re dealt, I encourage you to do one small thing to make your life a little rosier each day. One thing that you have full control over. This could be:

  • Taking a nice long bath (yes, buy that cheesy candy-scented bath bubble from Lush)
  • Treating yourself to your favorite food or sweet (McFlurry and fries are my current choice. Yes, both at the same time like a pregnant lady :D)
  • Listening to your favorite jams on full blast in your room (dancing in front of your mirror is mandatory, of course)
  • Indulging in a new book or going to the movies solo
  • Wearing your favorite outfit or accessory
  • Buying that one small thing you’ve been thinking about for months – a new perfume, portable speakers, that new tea flavor
  • Saying NO to the event you’re dreading but agreed to as a favor and spending some quality time alone just unwinding
  • Watching a funny youtube sketch or TED talk, learning while laughing

The list goes on! It could truly be anything. For me, making myself a bit happier has been as random as painting my toenails a bright color, taking a long walk at dusk, checking out my Spotify new music suggestions, sitting in a cafe with a creamy treat and turning my phone off, etc. etc.

In this case, wearing one statement piece that brightens my mood all day long does the trick, too. My love for flowers and pants found each other in these rose-embroidered jeans from the Topshop tall section (bless them! They have a petite, curve, and maternity line too!)

Fit for spring, they’re subdued enough to pair with any solid-colored top, yet funky enough to add a bit of romance to even the cloudiest still-gloomy day.

Spring feelings evoke a yearning for transformation, embracing the fresh and new, excitement for warmer days and lighter feelings.

Let your wardrobe and self-care reflect the bloom outside 🙂

Love and rosy hugs,

Sim ❤

Body suit: Asos, Jeans: Topshop Tall, Sneakers: Adidas

Photos by Sour Cherry Couture

 

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Confessions of a Hopeless Romantic: Wanting the Impossible

I have a friend who claims she can have any guy she wants. And I’ve known her for long enough to confirm: She’s right. She’s attractive, flirtatious, super stylish and, in her own words, “know[s] how to manipulate men. It’s just so easy.”

Throughout the years, as her shyer and dorkier counterpart, it’s been fun and fascinating for me to witness her conquests and the lines of men begging for love at her feet. Always enthralled by her confidence, I relished in the privilege of receiving a freshly-baked batch of funny stories, straight from the source. Through her anecdotes, I have come to believe that love can truly be a game, may the better player win. But I have also seen her hurt and confused – not often, but at times – proving that no matter how good the player, setbacks are inevitable. However, in the history of her love life, there has only been one single guy she really wanted and couldn’t have. As in, they never began a relationship, and he slyly opted for someone else. Someone who, in many men’s eyes, would not be considered as “hot” and desirable as my friend. Yet to this one guy, it was the opposite.

And that’s the guy I want. Well, not him – I don’t even know him, he’s taken and was a jerk to my friend so HELL NO, BUT – I want the guy even the girl with the best track record of lovers can’t wrap around her finger.

Not because he’s better. He’s just more solitary. Tougher to crack. Good on his own and not swayed by a gorgeous girl because he’s the one who chooses the one girl he wants. And if he can’t have her, he’ll go back to bed alone. He’ll read a book or go for a run or play Fifa for all I know – but he won’t search for other love options in loss of his top choice. He may eat something else if they run out of his favorite dish at a restaurant, but he doesn’t compromise that way in love. In Diana King’s words “I don’t want somebody who’s lovin’ everybody.”

So I know: I want the impossible. The shy guy. The one who likes a girl so rarely that, when he does, it’s for real, and not because he’s been wooed by intentional charms. The guy that likes one girl and one girl only, and sees every other beautiful and witty woman as a great person but ultimately, a mere distraction to him. He’s focused. On you. Or in my case, on me.

Of course, in the absolute, this man doesn’t exist. Every man – and woman – has had his/her wonky moments where they just needed some attention/affection/sexual healing à la Marvin Gaye. Or they were bored. Come on guys, even the most principled among us have had their moments to add to the list of don’t put in my biography. They make us human, we were all teenagers once, or drunk.

Now of course, my maneater friend is a romantic too. She wants all of it – the intensity, the passion, the exclusivity. So even though we act differently, we ultimately dream of something quite similar. The main difference is, she goes after the possible while I sit on my lazy ass dreaming up scenarios that will never happen about people who barely know I exist and write letters I never send or, if I do, only years after the man and I have drifted far enough for entire states and countries to separate us and my confession has no larger effect than getting it off my chest, sans priest and hail marys.

No joke – I’ve actually sent a confession like this once. Three years after we were in the same city and were never even introduced, we just had mutual friends. The guy was flattered, of course (thankfully he wasn’t a sociopath) and even suggested we grab coffee if we ever end up in the same city again. Of course, we very likely won’t, and I’d also feel awkward bothering him again after even more time has passed. But before I sent the confession, in my mind I hoped he’d either be appalled by the randomness, or be so intrigued he’d fly to see me and we’d either hate or actually love each other. Of course, the reality was much more noncommittal and gave me that annoying slimmer of hope that leads to continued useless daydreaming – but I am confessing this silly story to show just the extent of my idealism and craziness when it comes to love.

So I continue to dream of this man I’ve never spoken to (yes, it’s a bit creepy), I imagine the hypothetical one coffee chat with him, the heart-pounding the seconds before we actually truly meet for the first time. But all this is more because of the rarity he symbolizes than because of who he is. For as we all know, I don’t even really know him.

So what made him so attractive to me that I couldn’t forget him even years later?

Yes, he is drop dead gorgeous (and the whole town acknowledged it) and he is even more specifically my physical type (seriously: if I had to draw my physical prince charming, this man would literally come out of my pen, head to toe, crooked smile to unruly hair strand). But while the physical caused the initial attraction, what let it remain for so long was his aura of unattainability. He wasn’t a serial dater. If he was, it was so low key that even our gossipy community had no idea. If anything, he had the reputation of being a bit “weird” for not sacking every girl in sight when, clearly, he could have (mostly) done so. Which brings me to my conclusion: Had he been the big player on campus, the loud party boy, the known flirt – keeping all other variables of his perfect face and beautiful physique stable – I would have forgotten about him faster than you can say Hey baby. I like him, to this day, because he’s the opposite of the player allure (which I never found alluring because it signifies a lack of pickiness to me). This guy is, officially, on very few women’s bed posts. Definitely no saint, but reserved about his conquests. Ultimately, how much he’s been around matters less than how mysterious he is about it. And this mystery, this bit of untouchable air, this ultimate confidence, are what keep me hooked.

The four authors of the bestseller How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are said “the Parisienne is in love with the idea of love more than with love itself.” Paris is the cliché city of love, but I recognize that definition applies to many European women, many alternative women, many ridiculously proud women… In fact, it describes all hopelessly idealistic, impossibly romantic, ridiculously proud women worldwide.

This is why the concept of online dating, for now, still irks the bejesus out of me. Since I’m not on the active search for a partner – like a little girl in her candy castle, I am daydreaming of the partner,  – the concept of saying (aka swiping) yes to a handful of individuals, breaks my entire vision of unexpectedly zoning in on that one person and remaining spellbound. I know it’s theoretically no different from scanning a bar or checking out your workplace but even then – I’m never the type to find a few guys cute, it’s either one poor dude who happens to fulfill all my cloud 9 wishes, or none. Many days and nights, I will scan a “scene” and not find a single one. Because I’m not really looking – it just happens. One or none. Never “oh he’s cute, he’s alright” and then we’ll see. No: one single person, or none.

I was talking to my good guy friend about this a few months ago. My heart swelled when he said, “The first time I ever saw [my ex] was extremely memorable. I will never forget that night.” He smiled wistfully at the vivid memory. That’s exactly how it is for me. The few guys (less than a handful) who have ever truly struck me, well, I can tell you exactly how, when, and where I first noticed them. I can tell you how it felt when I saw them – this pang!, this zingggg, this [insert other random comic sound here]. The funny thing is, with all of them, I felt a pull of mutual acknowledgement which opened the floodgates of my fantasies. Let’s say those fantasies materialized in 3/4 of the cases, but not to what I hoped they would be. The ultimate idea is to find that same ‘zone-in’ factor of that first impression (‘zingggg at first sight!’) and have the subsequent story coincide closely with my initial romantic hopes. If that happens – he’s the one.

I realize the incredible pitfalls of this. I can’t forgive certain things out of the sheer fact that my illusion of romance has then shattered irreparably. If I ever feel like an option to you, I will never believe I am your priority ever again. Call me radical, I won’t contest.

Which is why, the second I found dubious messages on my ex-boyfriend’s phone, I was emotionally out of the relationship forever. That second, even though we officially took a few more weeks to break up. Now of course, many women will argue flirtatious messages to past booty calls in far-away cities (I know, the stupidity still baffles me) is a good reason to call it quits. But I know far more women than not who stayed with men who lied or cheated or put them down otherwise, ended up marrying those men, forgiving them, continue to live picture-perfect relationships on social media – and maybe even in real life, at least according to their ideals.

Part of me really envies these women. Their ability to move on, their recognition of the errors as human and not, as in my eyes, an act that breaks the most sacred part of love: Respect. My lover crumbles in my eyes because he disrespected me and, perhaps even worse, disrespected himself.

If he’s willing to embarrass himself in the context of us, he will never fully regain my respect for him again. I can tolerate and forgive, but I will never love him the way I want to love him again. Which is why I could also never be the intentional “other woman”. I’m too proud to be embarrassed as the outlet of a man’s weakest moment. To be the traitor of sisterhood, even to an unknown femme, is my worst nightmare.

I know, I know: Everyone makes mistakes. I mean, what would Hillary Clinton or Cookie Johnson say to all this?

The thing is, women like Hillary and Cookie got one thing right -life is easier with a partner, especially if he is successful and provides. Since I broke up with my ex, many perks are gone – the kind of perks that no woman in a long-term relationship can deny she’d be stranded without, now that she’s used to them. It takes a certain type of woman to choose loneliness over comfort as a byproduct of her moral stubbornness. At times, I do miss these benefits. Many every-day things have been a lot harder alone. I see my girlfriends living the comforts of a relationship and sometimes feel a bit sad. But I don’t feel sorry for myself because I fully recognize that I’m the problem.

You see, the combination of wanting a man who is unattainable and said man wanting specifically you, too, is something like one in 20 million.

Ok, so I’m not sure of the statistics, but basically, it’s extremely rare. THEN, if you do match, the chances of things working out are still slim. There’s a lot I can forgive – but I can’t forgive you betraying the pedestal of romance I put you on. It has nothing to do with your weird laugh or hairy back or obsessive behavior when driving – that’s all part of the pedestal, my love. Your tendency to sulk, you staring at impressive cleavage – it’s ok, I looked too! Your past experiments with shrooms, your admission to not knowing the capital of Bulgaria – not ideal, but I’ll look past it.

No: you fall off this pedestal if you betray your own confidence, your own exclusivity, your own mystery and the certainty that you are good on your own. And if you shall not be alone, your companionship is to be shared with me and only me, because damnit, you’re picky as fuck.

You’re picky and solitary by nature, just like me.

You’re hard on yourself and you need constant challenge.

You’d rather be alone than forgo what you most hold true.

Because when I’m in love, I only want you.