FIFTY-EIGHT: SWEET DIGS

A couple of months ago I filmed with the crew at Refinery 29 for the latest episode in their Sweet Digs series. If you know me you know that I’m a true homebody so I put a lot into my apartment to make it feel like home for me. I was extremely nervous in this video and public speaking/being recorded by strangers is a big fear of mine so all the positive responses I’ve gotten for this are truly appreciated!

FIFTY-SEVEN

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I’ve been reading a lot about the sustainability issue within fashion and just how much clothes end up in landfills each year and it’s pretty terrifying. I’m definitely a very proof based person and it’s hard for me to put stock into things that aren’t immediately affecting me but it’s something I’m challenging myself to do better with. I’m trying to be very intentional with everything that I purchase so that I can minimize waste as much as possible. Believe it or not I’m not a frequent shopper, I usually set my sites on a particular shoe or bag every few months and I don’t fuss with anything else. After redoing my apartment I felt like my wardrobe needed a little boost to match but being that I spent a bunch on housewares my funds were limited when it came to clothes. 

Luckily sample sales exist and I was able to snag these Rachel Comey trousers for $60. I love the wide leg and length and I know they will be a staple in my wardrobe. As for the top, I got it from Aritzia for $20 and snagged two other colors because I knew instantly seeing it online that they would work in every season. The material is super sheer and slinky which is perfect for this transitional period where in before summer. I’m sure the other colors will pop up on here soon enough. Purchasing transitional pieces allows me to maximize the use of my wardrobe and minimize waste because everything (besides coats) is wearable no matter the season. 

P.S I was really on the phone with my mom in the first photo 🤣 I wasn’t going to use it but I love the shot so much, Hey Mom!

FIFTY-SIX

Just as quick as the temperature creeps into the 60s it’ll switch up on you and drop down to 35. New York weather is as consistent as the truth coming out of the White House. This week has been very cold but sunny as hell and I’m over it. The wind in NY has been competing with Chicago for the baddest bitch award and I just want it to be summer already. This has been a heavy week and it feels like the weather is reflective of that.

As I’ve stated before, I’m really into monochromatic looks lately and mixing different shades of one color. For this I started with this heat tech Alexander Wang x Uniqlo top and built the outfit around that. I got these amazing heavy cotton pants from the Need Supply/Totokaelo sample sale and I’m so in love with them. It’s rare for me that I can buy a trouser and wear them without having to get them tailored first (short girl problems). If you’re in NYC, I highly recommend checking out @260samplesale they have new options weekly and the prices are always really good.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I watched a video recently from a YouTube personality that I can’t remember the name of but she said something that resonated with me, it was something along the lines of “I created a website so I could control the narrative and tell my story in my own words” and I think that was so profound. Whether you want to believe it or not, people are constantly googling you, whether it be jobs, partners, or friends the ideas people make up about you based off of a tweet or an IG post is kind of insane. So for me, the reason why I keep coming back to this space which seems dated in this period we’re in is so I can drive the story about who I am. You don’t have to guess, I’m showing you and telling you.

FIFTY-FIVE

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As the weather starts to warm up I’m all about transitional wear. I’m not sure when it happened but Spring/Summer has creeped up and become my favorite time to get dressed. I think it has to do with the feeling of a refresh, sun on my skin, and honestly I’m just tired of being cold.

I got this dress from Need Supply, the silhouette reminds me of a white Jacquemus dress that I bought and ultimately lost when I moved back to NY (R.I.P!). Because it’s not that warm yet I paired it with my absolute favorite pants (surprisingly by H&M) and these Margiela boots I got on eBay brand new for $70. Every time I wear them, TRUST that I will remind you of the amazing deal I got on them.

Somehow, my spring layers game is so much better than fall.

FIFTY-FOUR

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So I toyed with the idea of writing about this for a while but I thought it was important for more black women to be upfront about their health and experiences in the medical space. Last summer I started to notice that my thumb on my right hand didn’t function as well as it used to. I chalked it up to early signs of carpel tunnel because millennial, because texting. When it got to the point where I couldn’t lift my thumb (no thumbs up) or put my hair in a pony tail I went to the doctor.

Initially they had no idea what was wrong, an X-Ray of my thumb showed no abnormalities and for all they could see it should be functioning. They referred me to a hand specialist and after that visit he to was dumbfounded. It wasn’t trigger thumb, carpel tunnel, or anything he felt was in his purview. The only saving grace for me was that they could tell something was wrong but just didn’t know what yet. Stories I’ve heard of black women telling doctors they felt like something is wrong and being told it was in their head always terrified me. I was referred to a nerve specialist who determined the nerve that controls my fingers was damaged but he couldn’t figure out how and then he noticed a mass protruding from my inner elbow, it’s crazy how much you don’t notice changes to certain parts of your body. Once he pointed it out I couldn’t stop seeing it. He asked me if I had fallen lately and I said no.

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The mass was growing out of the very nerve that controlled my fingers. Because of the sensitive location, he referred me to the top surgeon for this part of your body, who just so happened to be in NYC. What started off as a simple twitch turned out to be a tumor the size of a golfball in my inner elbow, the medical term being schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma. I couldn’t believe it, no one in my family had cancer so it all felt surreal. Luckily, I had an amazing doctor and his team was wonderful. He was so dedicated, clear, and upfront with me which really helped me with processing the possibility of cancer. Although unlikely, there was a chance that it wouldn’t be benign. And in those moments where I thought of it, going to the doctors office for the pre-op testing, and seeing the many other patients there who were actually suffering from Cancer, really scared the shit out of me.

Going through something like this while still trying to be a functioning adult was especially challenging. I only told a few people what was going on but I think it’s important to note the psychological effect when you know something is wrong but won’t know the full effects to your quality of life until after surgery. Because of the sensitive nature of the location, my doctor could not do a biopsy prior to surgery because if it were cancer that could possibly make the situation worse. So instead we scheduled a full removal but within that surgery they would do a biopsy, have a tumor specialist do a quick test to gauge if they thought it was cancer, and if not they would give my doctor the go ahead for full removal. When I woke up, I was told the entire thing had been removed, they didn’t think it was cancer, and relief washed over me. Still, they would send it off to be dissected and tested over and over again for the final result to be sure.  

I am so grateful to my family during those times and for my job who let me work from home the entire month of December while I recovered from surgery. My mom especially, who flew up from Atlanta to visit the doctor with me, and took every phone call where I broke down in tears at the idea of going through chemo. What I learned from this is it’s so important to pay attention to your body, if you’re unsure if something is serious, talk to a doctor. Also, the importance of health care. I am lucky enough to work for a company with great benefits and while I racked up medical bills around 60k total for a month of visits/surgery, my out of pocket costs were under $200.

Prior to my surgery, my doctor. wasn’t sure whether or not I’d lose function in my hand entirely or gain any of it back. And I’m proud to say that a month post-op I could finally do a thumbs up and put my hair in a pony tail. Now 3 months post-op my fingers are a lot less weak and I’ve bounced back way quicker than they anticipated.

I want to send a special thank you to Dr. Athenasian and his staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. You all made a terrifying experience a little less scary and handled me with the utmost compassion and care. I was always the girl who never thought of the importance of healthcare (for myself) because I’ve always been generally healthy. But now I realize how fortunate I am when in reality it shouldn’t be for the fortunate but standardized for everyone. This experience has reminded me of how resilient I am, with everything that I’ve been through in the past two years, both mentally and physically, I know I can overcome whatever life throws my way.

FIFTY-THREE: GUMBY AIN'T GOT SH*T ON ME

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One thing I absolutely love is a monochromatic outfit. It instantly makes you look put together as if you put way more thought into your outfit besides just picking a color. I’m not big on color and don’t have much of it in my wardrobe but green, like most colors, compliments brown skin so well.

I especially love different shades of green and it’s probably the most consistent thing in my wardrobe besides black and white. These Zara boots have also become a staple in my wardrobe, they’re the perfect height and print and are so similar to an Isabel Marant pair I’ve been listing after for the last couple of years (for a fraction of the cost). I’m hoping that getting these resoled will add some longevity because I really do love them.

FIFTY-TWO: CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NYC

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Well it’s been a while! I should probably just stop acknowledging my inconsistency with this blog but I’ve been feeling very inspired lately to write and shoot so I’ll take advantage of it while it lasts.

As I’m sure you all have heard, Calvin Klein has decided to shut down its collection brand and focus on the money, which seems to be the Calvin Klein underwear you see every girl on Instagram in. No shade, just not my taste. When Raf took over the reigns at Calvin Klein Collection and marketed it as 205W39NYC I was definitely intrigued, I saw a lot of things I liked but me being the budget girl I am I knew right away that it would not sell well and would be heavily discounted every sale cycle.

One of the skills I have developed is being able to determine which brands are actually worth their price point, surprise surprise, most aren’t. Especially when it comes to RTW, with the worlds general overconsumption of fashion, consumers don’t really keep items long and are more likely to cycle through clothes. For the average consumer, high price points don’t work when you’re just trying to get the latest fit off on IG.

For me this is a gift and a curse, I do value clothing but it is hard to find the brands that I like discounted simply because they refuse or the girls are on it and there’s nothing left. Additionally, when I spend more on a piece I always think about my ROI. Its harder for me to spend more on clothes when I know that although higher quality definitely renders longevity, higher quality doesn’t have to equal hundreds of dollars and the chance of me being able to keep it for as long as I feel like I would want to for the cost, isn’t likely.

This is why I splurge on shoes and bags that can handle the elements, the accidents, and someone like me who uses her things and doesn’t reserve them as trophies. This brings me to these Calvin Klein Claire boots. I’m sure you’ve seen them, many fashion gals and guys have them and they’re fucking dope! I found them on sale at Net-A-Porter for 50% off on Black Friday, I was unsure and broke at the time because I just bought a pair of Céline boots (that I ended up returning!) so they sold out before I could get my hands on them. Fast forward a month, my mom, niece, and I passed by the newly renovated 205W39NYC store and I made the mistake of trying them on, instantly falling in love and begging my mom to buy them for me as a Christmas present (priced at $995 I knew that wasn’t going to happen). So I immediately began doing what I do best, trying to find it elsewhere on sale: eBay alerts, The Real Real, Vestiare Collective, Barneys, Shopbop, oh my!

It wasn’t hard to find them, as I’m sure it still isn’t, but I found them in a lilac color at Nordstrom for $300, the MacGyver in my mind spoke up: “Buy them and dye them black!” And here we are, $1000 boots for $300 and a $30 dye job. There are still some flecks of purple that come through giving the boots a unique, distressed look that I love.

Fin

FIFTY-ONE

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ZARA Top Pants Shoes CHANEL Bag

ZARA Top Pants Shoes CHANEL Bag

I’ve really been in to monochromatic looks as of late. Being blonde has made me want to streamline my wardrobe more because no matter what I wear, my hair always stands out. I went into Zara recently just to pass the time and fell in love with this sweater, pants, and boots. 

l can’t remenber the last time I went into a high street store and actually fell in love with the clothes, it’s definitely a reminder that you don’t need a big budget to dress well. And while I have been trying to spend less on items that won’t be timeless in my closet I also realize it’s better to save money on trendier styles than to splurge.

I’ve been eyeing a pair of Isabel Marant snakeskin boots that look exactly like this for about a year and even second hand I haven’t been able to find for less than $400, for me, while snakeskin has been around for forever, I can’t say they appealed to me enough to spend that much money. These boots clocked in at only $90 and are so damn comfortable I’ve barely taken them off!