Wedding Day

On October 28, 2017 I married the man whose dreams were bigger than mine. I married the man I advised my friends against, the kind that follows you to New York to win you over after knowing you for eight weeks. The man that loves his mother, his sister, his women friends with a fierce respect. The man that fights for my joy. The man I let explore the darkest corners of my mind, and guide me to light.

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We knew we wanted  a future together less than a year of knowing each other. We went through lots of ups and downs living in a city that doesn’t care about you. We grew up together. We learned about life together. It’s been hard, but so worth it.

We imagined our wedding representing equal parts of each of us. For him, the natural quiet of the outdoors, the bourbon, and the humongous wedding party. And for me the hours of girl-time prep, the intimate ceremony, and the epic dance party.

My friends indulged in my moody music taste while I was getting ready, switching abruptly between Christmas carols and Cardi B. We gulped down mimosas and coffee and watched all of the “Father of the Bride” movies while the boys got their beards trimmed and sipped bourbon at the farm house.

The weather was cold and dreary, bringing out a flock of hawks before the ceremony. Who needs to release doves when your heart is made of murder mysteries and mayhem? Nature knew what mood to set. My bridesmaids refused the leather jackets I suggested to walk down the aisle and kept warm standing as close to each other as possible. You guys were right though, the pictures were worth it. My family took care of the guests running blankets out to the older folks, but no one complained. I walked down the aisle to my favorite hymn and I squeezed my dad’s arm to ward away his tears. I said “I do” with a carefree confidence I don’t think I’d ever had before. We practically ran down the aisle and danced our way to our bridal party for photos. The group shots were easy to capture, we just couldn’t keep our hands off our friends and family.

We gathered in the warm tent for food and dancing. Drinks flowed freely and the dancing was loose. I’m easily one of the most cynical people I know, but as I’m describing my wedding, the usual snark that flows freely through my fingertips feels stagnant. My worries that day were futile. Everything fell into place and I was forced to appreciate the gorgeous group of family and friends, chosen and by blood, that we came from. So thank you.

Thanks Mom and Dad for the beautiful celebration, for planning and funding, but also for saving the day multiple times.

Thanks Lily and Anna for being the best cheerleaders a sister could ask for. Your overflowing emotions throughout the day grounded my own feelings.

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Thanks Sarah, Emmie, Mallory, Abby, Mazie, Criston, MK. You will never know the impact you have on my life. I literally could not have made it down that aisle without you.

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Daniel, thank you for bringing me and Colby together. You actually are the man.

Sarah H thank you for loving us so hard it hurts sometimes. We are lucky to know you and be supported by your humongous heart.

To my family and his. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. I am who I am because of my huge, wacky group of aunts, uncles, cousins, and outlaws. Cheers. And to Colby’s family, I never knew I could love another group as much as my own.

And to the incredibly fun, supportive, change-making group of friends we call ours; you made my wild dance party dreams come true. Thanks for finishing off all the bourbon and indulging me in my after after party dreams at a slimy Huntsville bar.

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Reliving this day was magical. Thank you David McCaw for the lovely video and W&E Photographie for the photos

Q&A

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I asked the good folks of Instagram to send me some questions and they certainly delivered. There were the straight forward questions...

Are you a feminist?
lol. yeah.

What makeup will you not leave the house without?
Mascara (L'Oreal Voluminous) and lipstick (Smashbox "Out Loud" for fall/winter or M.A.C. "So Chaud for spring/summer)

What is your drugstore ride or die product?
I can't live without Garnier miceller water and Burts Bees makeup remover wipes.

What is your favorite snack?
Siggis yogurt or if I'm out in my neighborhood a chocolate croissant* from Hungry Ghost.

Where do you go to for inspiration?
Instagram and blogs. I've looked to ManRepeller since college for when I'm feeling funky, but as far as practical dressing goes, Refinery29 is where it's at. As for Instagram, I've found so many great women styling bodies of all sizes. Fashion ain't limited to sample sizes. Here's a few Instagram gals I've been looking to for style inspiration. 
@aishahatter
@double3xposure
@latonyayvette
@oliviamuenter

Can you weigh in on the "dressing for your body" concept?
I think this is total BS. Yes it is very frustrating when your favorite brands don't make proportionate sizing options when you're bigger than a 6. But that doesn't mean you can't make trends work for you. I've made it a point to follow more Instagram "influencers" with my similar proportions. If they can rock mensware without being a size 2 so can I. Plus size clothing tends to emphasize the drapey tunics and skinny jeans, but you'll never know what looks go on you until you try it. Also, screw flattering. If I want to wear something it's usually because it's aesthetically pleasing to me, not because it makes me look skinny. Don't let the ultimate goal of your final ensemble be to disguise your rolls. Stop hiding, and dress how you want. I thought I couldn't do the wide leg pant thing, but I saw a couple of Insta-girls rocking it, and I look damn cool in my pics, right?

You've said you've struggled with body image, yet you keep posting photos of yourself. How do you do body confidence?
I ignore it. This may not be the best way to handle it. But I just try not to dwell on my body. That and I don't have a full length mirror to stare at my naked body until speckles and lumps become literal demons. I have countless passing thoughts of feeling unworthy and disappointed in the way I look. I had moments where I cringed over wedding photos because I thought I looked different in the mirror. But what can you do? I just refuse to let these private moments of disgust effect my day to day life. Because I was having a great time in those photos and everyone loved me for me. Everyone knows what I look like in person! I'm not fooling anyone with a flattering outfit. 

What is the worst thing Colby has accidentally said about you when he meant to compliment you?
He once told me I had softball thighs. Like it looks like I used to play softball. I stopped him before he could elaborate.

What's the worst date you've ever been on?
I feel like I have a few qualifying answers for this one, but I'm going to pick the one that made me laugh, not cry. (that can be a post for another time) The guy picked me up and drove us to a bar, but before we got out of the car he made us listen to some Grateful Dead song in its entirety. He let his eyes roll back in dude extasy upon some connection he made with the band's "soulful spirit." We got drinks in the bar. He ordered us shots. lol ok. But I was in walking distance from my house, so I wasn't worried if I needed to exit hastily. He told me he liked me because I didn't think his jokes were funny. He told me I was "like a lion." Ew. The night ended abruptly about three drinks in when he told me his dreams of outfitting a van so he could make/produce adult films with co-eds. He asked if I could be the girls' babysitter, because you know, I didn't really look the part to actually be in the film? Lol bye. Looking back he could have been a serial killer. 

My mom just said she wanted to know more about my life... so here's a quick day-in-the-life-of-Abbey (the good, bad, and ugly)
I wake up around 8:30 (I know, the joys of NYC-living, nothing is open until 10). Scroll through my phone in the hopes that someone important followed me on Instagram or am alerted of something awful Trump said while I was asleep, so I am prepared for what Fox News has to say about it on the TV's in the elevator to my office. Feed my cats. Wash my face. Spray lots of dry shampoo in my hair and slap on a bit of makeup. Run out the door by 9:20. Grab an iced coffee and maybe a chocolate croissant* from Hungry Ghost. Listen to "My Favorite Murder" or "Fresh Air" for my 45 minute commute and pray someone doesn't sneeze on me/practice mindful breathing to avoid panic attacks. Arrive at work and respond to angry reader voicemails. Write. Edit. Eat sad desk lunch with some combination yogurt, PB&J, banana, sweet potato, leftovers. Print important things. Leave at 6 for commute home. (This is the part where I sometimes go to therapy or meet a friend for a drink.) Rearrange my "getting ready" accouterments so Colby doesn't remark on my slobbish tendencies. Eat some variation of chicken, veggie, starch. Watch the only channel Colby and I can agree on, Food Network. Scroll through YouTube videos in bed. Fall asleep around midnight. 

As for my outfit: blazer is asos, pants are h&m, shoes are vans, earrings are madewell, purse is madewell

lookin' cute, feelin' sad

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In my Spring clean last March I threw out much of my holiday decor. It took up too much space and was too kitschy, not the sophisticated minimal look I wanted for my space. I did the same for my mind, burying all of the messy winter emotions that lingered into the new season. I added a new medication to my daily routine and threw out the things that reminded me of the sad me. The messy decorations, the clothes that didn’t fit, the rug that I never could get clean. But I was left with about 10 ornaments for my Christmas tree, a strand of white lights, and a snowglobe. My Christmas tree is leaning and is dying already. The few ornaments make it sad and unkempt and I have pine needles all over my floor.

All of this has nothing to do with why my brain is sick, but it does somehow personify my feelings. I can’t help but think my sad tree is a metaphor for where I’m at right now. Trying really hard, but slowly falling apart.

There’s nothing wrong with me. At least there shouldn’t be

I just got married to my best friend and love of my life. We spent seven whole days wrapped in each others happiness, eating until our hearts content, drinking until our words became songs, and planning our futures together. It’s my favorite time of year. I just got in my Black Friday orders in for God’s sake. But I’m stuck inside my head and some days it’s impossible to get out.

Christmastime has long been my favorite holiday. I decorate like crazy and I’ve been listening to holiday music every morning as I get ready. But these days Christmas time also comes with a heavy blanket of deep sadness. It’s those damn short days. I swear I only see the sun for about 30 minutes. It’s long periods of time spent in my small (large my NY standards!) apartment. But it’s mostly just my brain. I keep having to remind myself. I could be anywhere and my brain would still sometimes get sick.

Yesterday was bad. I let my brain spiral into a messy black hole, shielding myself from rational thought, and refusing to shower off tears and snot from the night before. I shut out everyone in my life who attempted to reach out, even my own husband. I shut out and shut down and was convinced I would be like that forever. I thought about how I wasn’t good enough for my job, how I wasn’t a good friend, I wasn’t pretty, I wasn’t loved. I know none of that is either true or really important, but it was dark and scary and at the time the only tunnel of thought that existed inside me.

Last night my partner reminded me to be brave and vulnerable and let people in. So here I am trying to be brave. Who knew six years ago my fashion diary would turn into a healing space of sorts. I hope this reminds someone that they are not alone and that it does and will get better.

I don’t really have a solution to all this. I took my emergency meds and Colby convinced me to go see I movie I have been looking forward to. It took my mind out of the hole, but I’m constantly terrified it will happen again. So today I woke up early enough to make coffee before work and dressed in my favorite outfit (pictured below). I don’t have any profound words of encouragement other than.. Hi I’m here and sometimes having a sick brain is really hard. I’m being brave and having the entire internet hold me accountable. (lol so going to regret this) So take your meds folks, go outside, and wear your favorite outfit. It won’t last forever.

[jeans-levis, blazer-zara, turtleneck- madewell, hat- target, boots - uo]


 

my beauty routine

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My beauty mantra has run the gamut over the last few years. I’ve attempted to mirror celebrity influencers 12-step tricks to the perfect contour and condensed my look to the Glossier-inspired “rub Vasoline and rose water all over your face for an I just woke up like a newly born fawn” look. Neither really worked for me, but after many a YouTube video tutorial, too much money spent on cult skincare products, and my new 20-minute getting ready rule I think I’ve finally nailed down my “look.”

My little sister got me hooked on “Beauty Gurus” on YouTubers in college and I have since amassed a few drawers full of superfluous ~product~ that is slowly taking over my apartment.

The bottles and creams, powders and lipsticks quickly became too much for my medicine cabinet and limited bathroom counter space, pushing my partner’s bathroom accoutrement to a few square inches of space. He inadvertently encouraged my makeup hoarding by allowing a brand new vanity into the middle of our living room. Since then I have continued to collect every sample, drugstore steal, Sephora sale haul all while trying to maintain a minimal desk aesthetic. I'm hoping this round-up of must-haves will inspire a purge of my loot.

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I’ve made my way through plenty a foundation, between never-ending bouts of acne and trying to reverse the the damage done by years of sunbathing sans protection. I’m pretty loyal to Urban Decay’s Naked Skin foundation, but after trying La Mer’s absurdly expensive fluid foundation for my wedding, I may be a convert.

I’ve found piling on powders actually doesn’t do much to combat my extra oily skin. So I usually stick to a bronzer and blush. Since I put myself on a no new makeup purge, I’m trying to use up what I have. Today that’s my Hourglass bronzer in Nude Bronze Light and L’Oreal blush in Baby Blossom.

My eyes really only get attention if I have minutes to spare in the mornings. And after getting a new french press as a wedding gift, I’ve traded in my eyeshadow time for coffee. If I do have time I can always get a simple, work-appropriate look with my Anastasia Modern Renaissance palate. However I never miss mascara. L’Oreal Voluminous Lashes mascara is a game changer. RUN don’t walk on this one.

I always finish with Urban Decay’s All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray. It makes me look less greasy and gets rid of the cakey look powder sometimes leaves you with.

Here I am wearing the above, including the Too Faced liquid lip.

Here I am wearing the above, including the Too Faced liquid lip.

I never forget lipstick. I am all over the place with lip favorites; I devote an entire drawer to the stuff. A few of my Fall/Winter favorites are Smashbox’s Out Loud is a great orange red. Urban Decay’s Sell Out is my favorite “nude.” My favorite “work” color is Chanel’s Mademoiselle. (This is also my favorite gift to give.)

This was fun! Let me know if you want a similar skincare/hair post.

Gal Pal Gift Guide

I’m ringing in the Holidays early this year. This week I plan to ready my Christmas decor so I can put everything up just as soon as I get back from my Thanksgiving trip to Providence, RI. I’m also about to pick out Christmas cards FOR THE FIRST TIME AS AN ADULT. And if you can’t tell, I’m pumped.

I’m trying my hand at shopping for Christmas gifts early this year. I may even hit up some of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. So I’m starting off with my favorite giftees… sisters and gal pals. Let me know what other kinds of gift guides you'd be interested in!

Gal Pal Gift Guide

For the friend that is cooler than you in so many ways. She is effortlessly chic and knows the best restaurants in every neighborhood. She drinks whiskey and loves raw oysters. She is well-read, well-traveled, and well-loved by all. Here’s what I would get her.

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This perfume is one of the most strangely beautiful scents I have ever smelled. I won't waste your time trying to describe it, so here's the description on the website. Just trust me; it's good.

"Amongst the transcendental woods of the 1800s, craftsmen from the
Massachusetts Bay Colony built violins & bows in the tiny towns of the Pioneer Valley.
The shops were riddled with old growth mahogany, burled maple shavings, 
amber pine rosin, aged walnut & their unique secret varnishes."

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Another scent-based gift (except a bit cheaper), this candle reminds me of an old library. You can actually smell the pencil shavings. 

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What's a Ragged gift-guide without something sweet and cozy from Madewell? I'm obsessed with their ex-boyfriend button-downs. The fit is perfect and perfectly over-sized. This print is just too good to pass up.

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I can't pass up a nude female form home accessory to save my life. This one just happens to be practical. Remind her of your lady love and support every time she grabs her purse.

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Beauty products can be hard to purchase for others, But you can't go wrong with a good mask. This popular Korean skincare brand is a perfect way to ease into a nighttime beauty routine. Plus it comes with a cat headband.

motivated

I am back from the best two weeks of my short life feeling so refreshed and ready to conquer. Who needs New Years Eve to make resolutions and extricate new goals, when you’ve had seven days sans responsibility and with it a new outlook?

I haven’t felt my mind move like it’s moving in years. I’m hoping this newfound mental energy means new endeavors and motivation. I know it’s bad luck to count your chickens before they hatch/tell people you’re doing things before it’s finished. But I also believe in putting your hopes and dreams into the world in order to reap its benefits.

I started a book. I have no clue where it’s going or what it will be about (let’s be real, it’s about me), but I started. And that’s been 70 percent of the battle for me. It’s in my computer, no longer just my brain. It’s been rolling around there for years, and finally I put pen to paper, rather fingers to key. And it’s alive.
In other news, I’m digging the red sweater trend. I’ve been inspired by angsty meme teens and their checkered vans and red fishnets, and decided I could join the ranks. Mine’s from & other stories, but I’ve seen some other great ones at h&m, Target, and Sezane.