Edge of The Clift

27 Jun





 

You may have noticed I’ve been OffTheRacks lately…but I’m still here, alive and well.

There are many factors that led me to take a breather from publicly posting what I write (and what I wear). This blog was born from a desire to share my style in a way that pushed me creatively, and an effort to conquer certain insecurities. It helped me step outside my comfort zone and realize just how many women endure similar experiences to the ones I’ve encountered. We’re all different, but sometimes not that different.

Lately this whole blogger “thing” is feeling a bit diluted to me, quite frankly. And I say this humbly and respectfully, as I do know many incredible content creators, who I admire tremendously, that are certainly providing us with something special. I am speaking in general terms…

Personally, it has been tough to feel as excited about shooting photos and sharing new posts as I used to. The past six months have presented me with a wild, unexpected assortment of life changes. With all the ups and downs, I’ve come to find a little bit of peace in accepting that I may never actually have a clue as to what I’m doing in life. This is a thought that can either be scary, or fun. I choose fun. Nobody really has it figured out. We’re all on different journeys, falling down and climbing back up separately…but also together.

I recently moved out of my apartment in Silver Lake. It was a challenging decision, as I thought I’d finally found a place to stay a while, and turn into a home. That just wasn’t the case, for a number of reasons. Society puts a lot of pressure on us to be a certain way, do what is expected, fit a particular mold, or reach specific milestones as we “grow up”, based on a set timeframe that does not work out for everyone. Again, we’re all different. Maybe not that different, but different enough that these “rules” don’t always need to be followed. In fact, these rules can suck it, if you ask me.

I am 30 years old, technically homeless, and feeling astonishingly OK about the whole thing. I can either obsess about what I feel I should be doing (which is often times unattainable or unquestionably not what I want right now), or just go with the flow and do what feels right.

I’m able to travel where I want, whenever I want. I work for an incredible company with some amazing side projects that keep me professionally stimulated. I have a wonderful family and amazing friends. I have finally learned just how liberating it can be to focus on myself, for a change. What good can I be to the people I love if I am not caring for myself first and foremost?

Right now I’m back and forth between Los Angeles and San Francisco (with spastic, exciting trips to various places around the world). It is trying, but in such a good way.

Spending much more time in SF brings back memories of the bright eyed girl I was 13 years ago, venturing off to live in the City by the Bay. I had hopes and dreams that couldn’t be more different from what my life evolved into – but I really like my life. And I love San Francisco. The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel remains one of my favorite spots to stay, and has become a very comfortable and stylish place to be while I take a breather, realign, and figure out what comes next.

It is OK to hit the reset button. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you’ve done, what you thought you’d be doing, or what other people expect from you. What matters at the end of the day is what makes you happy.

So here I am now – starting over, yet again. And this time, like every time in the past, I am doing so with more experience, knowledge, and hope than I had previously. I am ready for what’s next, even though I don’t exactly have a set plan. Either way, it’s good to know there’s a friendly place for me to rest my head in one of the best cities in the world…with views so good you could consider a late night spent gazing out at the skyline a therapy session on its own.

*The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel is a century-old timeless gem, combining contemporary architecture and glamour with old-world elegance and modern comfort. The hotel draws inspiration from the city and boasts a decidedly artful and local décor. The art deco Redwood Room dates back to 1933 and features original redwood paneling. Located walking distance from San Francisco’s shopping and financial districts, The Clift has long been considered one of the world’s best small hotels.

SaveSave

Bejeweled

6 Dec

JUUL Vapor, denim on denim, Los Angeles Fashion, Bold Pumps

JUUL Vapor, denim on denim, Los Angeles Fashion, Bold Pumps

JUUL Vapor, denim on denim, Los Angeles Fashion, Bold Pumps

JUUL Vapor, denim on denim, Los Angeles Fashion, Bold Pumps

Smoking is an activity that I personally enjoy, oh so very much — and I know I am not alone when it comes to this. But smoking cigarettes is frowned upon these days (for good reason) and most of the people I spend time with don’t like being around it. C’est la vie. 

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the solution…

Say “hello” to JUUL — a smart, simple, intensely satisfying vapor alternative designed for adult smokers that isn’t at all obtrusive, by any means, as far as “e-cigs” go – I smell a lot better, in general, and am definitely more presentable, and the elegant design matches up pretty much perfectly with whatever I’m wearing, whenever I am wearing it. Can’t complain about that…

After many years of smoking cigarettes, staining my walls, stenching my home, and disturbing my friends with the smoke, I finally discovered my solution to avoiding all of the aforementioned issues with the JUUL. This device is appropriately named, because it’s kind of like coming across a treasure chest of intensely satisfying vapor gems. Gems that only adult smokers who are looking for an alternative would enjoy, of course.

I’m a “Tobacco” flavored girl by nature, but it is very satisfying trying the other JUUL pod flavors they offer. Second best, in my opinion, is the Mango, and the Fruit Medley is a close runner up! JUUL is also releasing a Limited Edition Flavor that I had the pleasure of trying on a recent visit to their HQ in San Francisco, called “Cool Cucumber”. It. Is. Awesome.

Another lovely JUUL (jewel) in life is living in Southern California where the weather is always sunny and I can wear a tank top in November, comfortably. Denim on denim always does the trick. Add some flavorful vapor to the mix and, as you can see, I’m one happy girl.

*head to toe: Hemsmith top + and matching pants (browse the collection HERE), paid partnership with JUUL vapor, & Other Stories pumps

Shop Nasty Gal

Bleach Black

25 Oct

Shades of White: Crop top, vintage trousers, statement diamond necklace, leather backpack, messy waves
Shades of White: Crop top, vintage trousers, statement diamond necklace, leather backpack, messy waves
Shades of White: Crop top, vintage trousers, statement diamond necklace, leather backpack, messy waves
Shades of White: Crop top, vintage trousers, statement diamond necklace, leather backpack, messy waves
Life doesn’t have to match. We don’t have to follow all the rules. Life doesn’t have to be black and white, black or white, or any other color, for that matter. Life is just life. We don’t have to define or categorize it. In fact, I don’t think we should –trying to make sense of the unknown will only drive more confusion. This world we live in is confusing enough. Perhaps it’s more logical to embrace what baffles us instead of running away all the time, turning a blind eye. I want to stop running away. I want to be mismatched more often.

I believe in crossing the line, when there is a line that needs to be crossed. I am an advocate for speaking up when there is something that should be said. I think we ought to step outside our comfort zones and wander into the unknown, so we can get to know it a little better. That’s one healthy way to make progress, in my opinion.

Let the wind catch you hair. Run away. Dream hard. If you aren’t uncomfortable, from time to time, dream even harder. Find comfort in discomfort — this is how we expand. This is how we move and shape things. Allow fear to push you rather than hold you back. And, every once in a while, just let fucking go.

I want to be scared and excited and completely lost, so that I can find my way back and experience something new along the frightening and invigorating journey. I want to be capable of embracing uncomfrotable emotions instead of hiding from them. Life is a jungle. Life is chaos. Life is frantically, beautifully mismatched. Black, white…white, black…it is all the same. The only difference is perspective. And perspective is a pretty good start, because with it comes all the possibility in the world.

*head to toe: Tribe Kelley Cropped Top, VALENTE necklace from Flont Club, vintage trousers from Saks, Lauren Cecchi Bella Backpack

Photos by Cameron Holland 

BOLD AND YOU

10 Jul

Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: TONI&GUY hair products, messy waves, little black dress, suede dress, leather mules, summer style
Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: TONI&GUY hair products, messy waves, little black dress, suede dress, leather mules, summer style
Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: TONI&GUY hair products, messy waves, little black dress, suede dress, leather mules, summer style
Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: TONI&GUY hair products, messy waves, little black dress, suede dress, leather mules, summer style
Los Angeles Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: TONI&GUY hair products, messy waves, little black dress, suede dress, leather mules, summer style

For the bold ones, the mavericks, and those who march to the beat of their own drum. 

We weren’t built for subtlety, and we’ll leave this world a little different than it was when we got here — our stiletto footprint set in stone. We gracefully walk the tightrope of life like acrobats, and even when the strongest winds try and blow us off course, we keep our balance. 

We’re the daydreamers whose minds are constantly running, training for a race we’re destined to win. Known for our ambition, we’ll beat the odds. When told there’s something we cannot do, it becomes our mission to prove the naysayers wrong.

We aren’t afraid to speak our minds, but think before opening our mouths. This is why, when we have something to say, people tend to listen – some left wanting more, while others disregard our words as nonsense. We don’t mind, well aware that the legends who came before us – the contrarians who changed history – were often labeled as “crazy”, too. 

Mistakes and embarrassing missteps have been made, but we can still look in the mirror and feel proud. Every experience, both good and bad, has contributed to our character. The person staring back is one we’ve grown to respect. Those eyes have seen things, that body has been places, and the scars are reminders of battles we’ve won. 

We know wisdom because, on our journey to hell and back, we earned it. Life lessons collected along the way have become engrained, changing us for the better. We’ll never lose our desire to learn, so we remain eager students and young artists…reading, writing poetry, and painting blank canvases with colors never before seen.

Seen as reckless by many, with a tendency to live hard — some envy our audacity while others try hard to figure us out. Their whispers won’t hold us back, because we’re not the type to be tamed. It isn’t about rebellion or defiance, we simply enjoy the freedom that comes with the thrill. 

Presentation is important to us, but not because we’re drawn to material things. The clothes we wear or how we choose to style our hair are reflective of a personal brand we’ve designed — a product of our own making. Self-expression isn’t defined by one’s ability to fit inside a box or blatantly stand out to draw attention, but the act in itself appeals to us. And we admire others who are brave enough to share themselves on the outside, and own it.

So, to all the troublemakers, daydreamers, and inspiration-seekers…dare to Be Bold and You. Express yourselves freely. Unleash your adventurous side, and don’t hold back. There’s a need for more spirited people like you, with abstract thoughts and unconventional ways. We weren’t built for subtlety, and it’s time to take the world by storm.

Sponsored by TONI&GUY. Shop the amazing hair care collection HERE. And share your own creativity with the world by posting a look on Instagram with the hashtag #BOLDANDYOU.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Shop Nasty Gal

Life, According To Denim

7 Jul

Denim on denim, life according to denim, lessons in denim
Denim on denim, life according to denim, lessons in denim
Denim on denim, life according to denim, lessons in denim

I wear my denim like I live my life.

Flawed with a few tears, here and there. Worn in with stories to accompany the imperfections.

“High wasted” was the go-to for most of my 20’s. Sometimes I still shamefully opt for “intentionally distressed”.

I’m coming to accept that outgrowing certain styles isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

All of a sudden classic has this flattering and mysterious appeal.

Comfort is appreciated, but rarely takes top priority, as far as decision-making goes.

This, for me, may never change. Oh well.

My collection is eclectic and interesting. I like it this way. I hang on to it all, with pride.

The fit is almost never perfect, but I figure it out. Because that’s just what I do with denim. And life…

I take it and make it work. And learn to fucking love it as I go.

*head to toe: GANT GANT Rugger Indigo Twill Slub 60s Collar Shirt, AGOLDE AGOLD E AGOLDE Sophie Hi Rise Skinny, Bernardo Bernardo Blossom Mules snake skin

A Simple Safari

14 Mar

Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Jumpsuit, olive green jumpsuit, cutout jumpsuit, palm tree fashion shoot, red lipstick, fashion blogger, personal style blogger, California street style, LA style

Never underestimate the satisfaction that accompanies slipping on a jammin’ jumpsuit — ONE AND DONE (reference here, here and here…see what I mean?!)

I was talking to a friend about fashion and trends recently, something I rarely discuss these days because, well, I don’t care that much. That being said , this conversation did encourage me to acknowledge that, while I may have adopted a liking for “lazy” attire, my lifestyle is anything but, and appearance does actually matter…at least a little bit.

Am I curating cutting-edge outfits on a daily basis? No. But, fortunately, there are still stylish (and affordable) options that can accommodate busy females like myself…THANK YOU, Forever21Stylinity. Available via Go2Buy!

Not just that, but being lightweight, with long-sleeves and the cut-out accents, this particular jumpsuit is a major winner for transitioning from winter to spring. Forever21 has many more great pieces, just like this one, and you can redeem some awesome discounts by clicking HERE!

So, this is my fashion strategy for the day – get groovy, fantasize about the ’70s, and keep it easy breezy, just like the palm trees do. Buy things you can wear over and over again and can work into your wardrobe as seasons are changing.

Happy shopping!

*head to toe: Nars Lip Crayon in Cruella,  Vint & York sunglasses, Forever21 Vented Jumpsuit, Madewell slide sandals

Photos by Jonathan Mariande

Shop Nasty Gal

Cracked But Not Broken

12 Mar

Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed

Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed
Los Angeles, NYC Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel Blog: Female empowerment, bathtub editorial, March On Washington, scoliosis surgery, beautifully scarred, perfectly flawed

“The scar meant that I was stronger than what tried to hurt me.” -Anaïs Nin

I frequently talk about troubles, struggles, triumphs, crashes and burns. I talk about how, after crumbling into little pieces, I’ve attempted to glue it all back together and move forward – stronger than I was before breaking.

Not to be dark and dreary, but I am convinced that, as women, we may never stop facing struggles, unfortunately, on global scale. It’s something that is hitting particularly hard today, Inauguration Day, when all you magical females and males are standing strong and defending our rights by Marching. FUCK YES, I wish I was in Washington, holding hands and waking with you…or in any of the many cities that are walking for an important cause and defending our rights. Perhaps we don’t have a president that makes us proud to be Americans, but we still have each other – and its days like today that show just how strong community can be.

Currently I am in London, feeling wimpish and incapacitated, due to back pain and spasms in my neck, stomach, ass, legs, and a terrible ache in my head (I know, waahhhh, get over it – but it really hurts). This is all a result of a pretty crazy surgery I had over a decade ago, when I developed scoliosis after making the decision to end my 11 year career as a gymnast. I completed my third year at level 10, just before entering Elite trials, and checked out — you can see my last competition HERE. As a result of the quick termination, my back completely spazzed. I went from being a national champion, to ignorantly checking in to HOAG Hospital for a very intense operation, thinking nothing of it. I had no idea what I was in for.

To backtrack, I was training about 30 hours per week (5 hours a day, 6 days a week), and when I stopped, had an unexpected growth spurt. I went from being a tiny little 5 ft. nothing powerhouse, to a flaily 5ft. 5 in., spiral spined disaster.

One of my ribs was protruding, so I was brought in for x-rays a couple months after I quit gym. Doctors told me I had scoliosis, but it was minor and I should return for a check up in a few months. When I did, my spine had swiveled into a 48 degree curve, and surgery was the only option if I wanted to have a “normal life”.

I remember the night before like it was yesterday, but I wasn’t particularly nervous. I was more annoyed that I couldn’t eat a Happy Meal or drink water.

They took me in, drugged the shit out of me, and put me under. I “woke up” in the ICU, after 6+ hours under the knife (they took out a rib, collapsed my lung, removed a number of disks between my vertebrae in order to straighten it out, fused my spine with my ground up rib bone – as you can see in the first image above – and put in two metal rods and 10 screws). They inserted a chest tube that reached through to my stomach to drain the blood. I spent three days in the ICU and was then moved to my own room, where I spent the next week, on a Morphine pump…I remember very little, just pain. I remember them removing the chest tube and I definitely recall the pain I experienced when I got home, where I remained on bed rest for about a month, and experienced the deepest depression I hope I ever have to go through.

THIS WAS THE WORST, SCARIEST, BEST, AND MOST PIVOTAL EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE. I WOULDN’T CHANGE A THING.

I was in misery. So much pain. My mother sent my brother and sister, who were also young at the time, on a trip to Europe with my dad, so they wouldn’t have to hear me wailing in agony. She stood by my side, took me to the bathroom, bathed me, and nursed me back to health.

Eventually I realized, after plenty of time spent pitying myself, I was SO FUCKING LUCKY to have the opportunity to regain my health again. Somewhere during the depression that came with living inside of a drugged out and horrifically pain-filled, broken body, I recognized just how fortunate I was. Mostly to have my mom and the knowledge that I would heal eventually. Not everyone heals after varying traumas, but I finally hit a point where I got out of my head and recognized I would. Some people lose their arms, their legs, their ability to do the things most of us take for granted…FOREVER. I was going to get better.

Now I wake up grateful for my my arms and legs (even if they hurt). I wake up proud of my accomplishments and excited for what I might be able to achieve in the future, since I have these blissful abilities. I wake up and don’t take my life for granted. Recently I wake up hoping, as an American woman, which I am lucky to be in the grand scheme of things, regardless of everything, that none of this will change…

I got pancreatitis from what was basically an accidental, prescribed drug overdose, dropped 20 pounds (from the 105 I currently, healthily weigh), couldn’t keep food down and was rushed to the ER. I was injected with anti-nausea medication through an IV which I happened to be allergic to – only about 1 in a million are intolerant of the drug. The allergy results in a “psychotic reaction”, which involved me tearing the needle from my arm and pretty much flipping my shit for about five hours. It is difficult to describe the feeling of fear pumping through your blood…

I was poked with Benadryl until I stopped screaming, and they would let me go home. The doctors informed my mother that they haven’t seen this deadly disease in anyone under the age of 60. It is typically drug addicts and alcoholics, who have been abusing for decades, who get diagnosed. I was only 16. I weighed nothing and had probably ingested a total of six Smirnoff Ices at this point in time.

Being young and resilient I fortunately was able to shake the illness, and went back to my senior year of high school, a sickly waif in agonizing pain, only to receive positive reactions from the “popular girls” who asked me about my diet secrets (no joke). I was appalled and discouraged, but also tremendously vulnerable. Was never one who cared that much about fitting in, but really, bitches?! Not all women are great, but three fucking cheers to those who are — and there are plenty of us out there. THANK YOU.

I tackled the 2-year eating disorder that succeeded this weakness, and have been battling the physical and emotional issues that accompany being a woman ever since. From WEAK, sad females, or men who have sought some kind of gratification or feel a pathetic sense of power through sexual abuse. NO. No more.

This is why I praise you who Marched. We are power. We are strength. As women, we bleed every month, we give birth, and we experience more than any man will (but MAD LOVE TO THE MEN WHO WENT OUT TOO, we are all equal after all). And I am no man hater, but I am all about girl power, and the men who recognize it – there is NOTHING stronger.

The world is in a place that bums me out a lot, and I know I am certainly not alone here. Fucking shit, DONALD TRUMP is president?! Yep. But you know what is amazing? Taking a bad situation and finding the great in it. What I saw today, while basically bedridden in London, was people all over the world Marching — standing strong. And even in the smallest of cities, attendance was higher than the number of supporters who showed up at his inauguration.

The best we can do with a bad situation is stand strong, speak out, and UNITE.

People, politics, experience, health, life…it might try to break us. But with guts, guidance, perseverance, unity, strength, and a genuine belief that you can do anything you want to (YOU CAN),  we will WIN.

*photos by Gus Melton at Nick’s Cove