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Our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii

In case you missed last week’s post, we recently spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii and it was pretty much amazing. We had booked the trip months ago, soon after I started a new job that was a bit more stressful than I'd anticipated, and to be honest, the thought of a relaxing week at the beach got me through some pretty rough weeks. Of course, a week before we were due to leave, the governor of Hawaii issued a plea for tourists to stay home until later in the fall due to rising Covid rates and full hospitals; after some thorough investigation and a pledge to spend as much time outdoors as possible, we decided to go anyway. (We were far from alone, by the way.) Here’s what we did on our blissful trip to the Big Island.

 

What I wore in Hawaii

If you've subscribed to my newsletter, you know that I'd been looking forward to our Hawaii trip for a long time. You also probably know that I've been on a pre-vacay spending spree. For one, it had been a year and a half since we'd taken a proper vacation, and over three years since we'd gone somewhere tropical. I also think, deep down, I miss not spending money on dress-up clothes for specific things and I had a lot of pent-up money to burn. I tried to shop (somewhat) responsibly, but may have gone a weee bit overboard. At least—fingers crossed—I'll be able to wear everything on our long-postponed trip to Europe next summer. But in the meantime, here's what I wore on our Big Island vacation. 



The best Labor Day sales

There are two kinds of people: those who get excited for fall in August and those who don't. When I lived in NYC, I was in the former group—by August, the city would get unbearably muggy and smell like hot garbage—but now that I'm on the West Coast, I'm the the latter, mostly because September and October are usually the warmest months here. That said, I do love fall clothes and shoes, and my point in all this is that Labor Day sales are generally a good time to get an early deal on fall-forward clothes and accessories. The silver lining is that it might be a month or two before you can wear them, but aren't some things are worth waiting for? I'd say yes. Here are some Labor Day sales worth checking out. 


Nothing I'm wearing here is on sale, but my bag is a pretty good deal ;)

My bedroom makeover + an honest review of my Winkbed mattress

Like many of you, I'm sure, I've spent more time inside my apartment in the last year and a half than I had in the previous six years I lived there combined. I realize this is a luxury and a privilege, as not everyone has a job that allows them to work from home, and I'm thankful that I'm in such a position. (I'm also not even remotely eager to go back to working in an office, but that's another topic for another day.) Spending so much time at home, however, allowed me to pinpoint what was and wasn't working in my space. For example, after doing little more than binging Netflix night after night, I realized that having our TV mounted above the fireplace was too high and straining our necks; we ended up completely rearranging the living room, and now it feels way more open and welcoming. Also, I finally got around to changing my kitchen hardware, swapping out the cheap-looking builder-grade knobs for a nice matte bronze. There are many areas of the apartment that are still a work in progress—I want to paint the office a lighter color, and I really want to renovate the bathroom—but so far, I'm the most pleased with our bedroom. Here's how we upgraded our bedroom during the pandemic.



What I wore at Car Week

The title of this post is a bit of a misnomer; while I had intended to show everything I wore at Car Week, we were having so much fun, we kind of forgot to shoot it all. Alas, I'm only featuring one outfit in this post, and it's what I wore on our last morning in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We decided not to go to the Concours d'Elegance, which is kind of the main event that ends Car Week, because we were worried about crowds, and I'm glad we didn't go, because our friends who did said they felt a little overwhelmed and unsafe, and they left pretty quickly. That said, we were happy to be back at Car Week (it was canceled last year). We saw a bunch of friends and cars, of course, and I will never turn down a getaway to Carmel. So here's what I wore on the last day of our trip.



What to buy at Everlane

I have shopped at Everlane for years—the oldest receipt I found in my Gmail is from 2014, but l'm pretty sure we go back even further. I've stuck around all these years because they make pretty decent luxury basics at incredibly appealing prices, in a (mostly) ethical way. As someone who works in retail marketing, I appreciate their boundary-pushing ways of doing business (product waitlists and drops to build anticipation; sharing cost breakdowns and factory information; their choose-what-you-pay sales), however I think they sometimes come across as a little high on their own supply, and turns out they weren't so "radically transparent" about certain things. But, hey, people make mistakes, and I appreciate when companies take responsibility for their missteps and do try to make things better. So I'll keep shopping and advocating for Everlane, which is, after all, a local (albeit rapidly expanding) business based in San Francisco. While I'm not a superfan, I have bought quite a lot at Everlane over the years. Here are my favorite pieces. 



What to wear in August

August, otherwise known as Fogust, is a weird time of year in San Francisco. Elsewhere in the world, people are beginning to grow tired of their summer clothes, but we're just getting ready to break them out. Even if it isn't always warm here in the actual summer (hence why I'm wearing a jacket in some of these photos), I do like to wear lighter colors. So I've been gravitating toward lots of white, ivory, and beige lately, often mixing them all together in one outfit. It's hard to match light neutrals, so the key is to embrace multiple shades and wear them all together. Really, there's no wrong way to do it. Here's my go-to outfit of the moment, featuring some of my favorite new (and old) pieces. 



A weekend trip to Chicago

Earlier this month, I took my first flight since the beginning of the pandemic and went home to Chicago to see my mom for the first time in a year and a half—the longest I've gone without seeing her in my entire life. For those of you who haven't flown anywhere yet, the plane trip felt completely safe and drama-free, and seeing my family and friends after so long felt amazingly good. It felt strangely normal to be home, possibly because Chicago felt very "What Covid?!" to me, which was equally refreshing and alarming. So after a few days of quality family time in the 'burbs, we headed downtown for a couple nights in the city. We were happy to see that Michigan Avenue was packed, restaurants and bars were crowded (but not overwhelmingly so), and all weekend long, people were dressed up—maybe that roaring '20s thing is indeed happening. Here's what we did on our weekend in Chicago.



Nordstrom Anniversary Sale top 10 2021

Lots of people have been pooping on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year, and I can kind of see why. As blogger/influencers, we often feel a lot of pressure to cover it, although I do so because there are actually some amazing deals to be had, as I mentioned in my post last week. I do agree, however, that the sale selection has gotten "safer" over the last few years, with an emphasis on more classic, tried-and-true basics versus more adventurous, fashion-y pieces. But I'd argue that those are exactly what you should be buying during the sale—I've found it's a great time to stock up on wardrobe workhorses, specifically in three major categories: jeans, leggings, and sweaters. Here are 10 must-haves that are currently part of the Nordstrom sale (and still available). 



Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks 2021

I've often referred to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale as Christmas in July; for years, it's been an ingenious way to stock up on fall clothes & shoes early, at a rare pre-season discount. In the last few years, influencers and bloggers have really hyped up the event, and yes, I am totally guilty of that, but in my case at least, it's coming from a genuine place. So while I'm being honest, last year's Nordstrom Anniversary Sale kind of sucked. Due to the pandemic, it happened a month later than normal; due to conservative planning on Nordstrom's part, they sold out of a lot of the best items on the first day, before most of its customers were able to shop. For my part, I bought one pair of slippers—I had to do curbside pickup because my local Nordstrom was still closed to customers—that I ended up returning because the sole was so flimsy. Major fail. But I am feeling much more optimistic about this year's sale. The highest tier of Nordy Club members began shopping on Monday and, as of the time I'm writing this post, all of the items I wanted to feature are still in stock, which is a good sign. No, there aren't as many designer pieces as in years past (this seems to be a year-over-year trend). But there are some great finds, plus Nordstrom has pumped up its home offerings so much that I had to create a new category this year—I guess I'm not the only one investing in my home lately! So without further ado, here are my Anniversary Sale clothing, shoes & accessories, beauty, and home picks for this year. 



The first pair of shorts I bought in 20 years

I have never been a big shorts person, although I did wear them a bit more when I was younger. It has always seemed just as easy to wear a dress, which has the added benefit of making it look like you tried  a bit harder. But the main reason I tend to stay away from shorts is that they tend to fit me oddly and get all bunched up in front. I blame this on my body's perplexing combination of narrow hips and meaty thighs, which feel more or less equalized in a full or A-line skirt. But in the last few years, I've noticed more and more of my summertime Instagram feed filling up with all manner of shorts but primarily those of the cutoff denim variety. Add in one very long, very casual-izing pandemic plus a summer that's already been ridiculously hot and now it seems like literally everyone is in shorts. But there's more to it than an "everyone else is doing it, so I will too" mindset—I think that in this unprecedented (and welcome) age of body positivity, people are caring less about having "perfect" legs and instead focusing on wearing whatever they want, for whatever reason they want. So that's what convinced me to buy my first pair of shorts in 20 years. Here's how I wore them in Chicago last weekend.



An honest review of Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

The first pricey jar of skin cream I ever bought was Crème de la Mer. It did not deliver the Rich Girl Skin I was hoping for, but that hasn't stopped me from trying every fancy potion that has come along since. So far, the closest thing I've found to a magical elixir is Vintner's Daughter, but it's not quite mind-blowing enough to convince me to keep paying $185 every month or two. I've been reading the most rapturous reviews in years, however, for Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, so when a bottle showed up on my doorstep, I couldn't wait to try it. Here's my honest, unfiltered review.



My favorite summer dresses for 2021

I read a recent theory that we're conditioned as children to "love" summer because of the three-month break we get from school; in actuality, it's hot and miserable, so what is there really to love? For one, I enjoy that it's still light after 8pm. But more importantly, summer is dress season. I tend to wear one nearly every day—nothing is easier, more comfortable (and breathable), or cuter in warm weather—and I always scoop up several new ones at the start of the season, because, hey, my name is Cheryl Shops. So on that note, here are my favorite dresses for summer 2021.



A weekend trip to Calistoga

It had only been a few months since we last took a weekend trip to Santa Barbara, but after the stress of the last month (we're ok, really!), not to mention the ridiculously cold and windy spring weather we've been having, Sean & I decided that we were in need of a long weekend of rest and relaxation. Our goal: to lounge by a pool, bask in the sunshine, and maybe roll out to a winery or nice dinner (or a few). With that in mind, we were lucky enough to snag a last-minute hotel reservation in Calistoga, which is one of our favorite little towns in Napa County. Here's where we went and what we did over Memorial Day weekend.