Issue 3: New Months, Vulnerability Hangovers, Packing Tips, Best Books of the Month, and Chicken Nuggets
In one of the biggest shocks of the week, it turns out today is September. And friends, I’m crash-landing into this month. Last week I shared what most of my August looked like - briefly summarized: a really shi*** pool of grief and hormones. And this morning, I am resisting the pressure of ‘a fresh new month full of possibilities and things to tackle and a whole new you.’
New months, especially when they feel like they’re ushering in a new season, can hold a lot of overwhelming thoughts:
“I haven’t done enough yet. I need to start thinking about the holidays and navigating complicated family expectations. This isn’t where I thought my body would be at this point in the year. I’m tired. Thank goodness everyone is easing more into routines. With a more normal schedule after a summer of survival, I should make the most of time. But I’m still exhausted. We didn’t do enough this summer. We did too much this summer. I’m behind.”
And I could go on and on. Do you know that pressure, feel that pressure? It’s so familiar to me and even now I can feel the tension tightening in my shoulders and my heart rate picking up. I’m going to take a second and pause and breathe before we continue, feel free to join me.
Get comfortable and let whatever is around you support your body. Maybe lie down on the ground or curl up in a chair. Take a big deep breath; wrap your arms around your torse and feel your ribs push out against your hands as you inhale; pause; and feel your shoulders drop and relax as you exhale.
Today is simply a day. Any additional pressure we may feel is not warranted, helpful, or needed.
The drudgery of a vulnerability hangover
Personally, I’m kicking off this month with a lingering vulnerability hangover. Writing about the reality of my confusion and grief following my miscarriage was good, and also incredibly exhausting. I’m grateful for those of you who wrote emails and messages and texts and made sure I knew I wasn’t alone or crazy. Thank you.
On Thursday after sending last week’s newsletter, I felt so much peace. And on Friday I crashed, hard. Vulnerability does that – it’s healing, clarifying, and asks a lot of us. It usually involves connecting with others, having our feelings affirmed, and feeling safe. And when we feel safe, our mind and our bodies finally claim the much-needed rest that is often sacrificed in survival mode. Queue: exhaustion, emotions bubbling back up, and a desire to slip back into hibernation – at least for a little bit.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Our minds and bodies need rest. And the feelings of safety following being vulnerable can help engage with suppressed emotions, which is great. But goodness, it can be inconvenient.
My suppressed emotions bubbled up during a perfect evening on the boat with some of my favorite people in the world. It was gorgeous – perfect weather, the last bit of light slipping away, dinner on the water, cicadas chirping, and I was hit with a wave of grief. We scheduled this weekend away when I was still pregnant, and I had imagined that very evening, but with a bump and the joy of getting to share the news that our family was growing with people who mean so much to me. And sitting there, I was overwhelmed that what I thought that evening would be was so different because of something I couldn’t do anything about. Miscarrying can feel so helpless. I was hurting, embarrassed, and frustrated, and I couldn’t get my emotions in check in time to sit down for dinner. So, I panicked and walked away and found a spot that felt safe to ride out those feelings and let the tears out.
I’m learning it feels a lot better to engage with an emotion fully rather than trying to control it. And vulnerability hangovers – they’re wild.
But September also means travel and a tiny suitcase
While the start of a new month can be weird, at least September has the decency to offer us a long weekend. I’m usually shooting a wedding on Labor Day Weekend, but have this year off and we’re making the most of it by popping up to Boston to visit my sister for five days of cannolis, cooler temperatures, and North Shore beauty!
I’m very excited, but unfortunately, have two very strong aspects of my personality that battle each other when it comes to traveling:
1. I love to be impeccably dressed. Feeling fine, fancy, and fabulous is one of my favorite parts of traveling and it feels even more special in an unfamiliar city.
2. I am incredibly cheap when it comes to travel so I limit myself to a tiny European-sized carry-on suitcase (and maybe a corner of Seth’s suitcase too). And I usually sacrifice space to bring along a camera or two.
At initial glance, these things would not be compatible. But fear not, this is where closet staples shine. When packing for a trip, here’s what I think about:
1. Keep it simple. The purpose of style staples is that they work together. And you should also feel great in every single one of these items. These are our workhorse pieces and the perfect thing to pack when traveling.
2. Don’t think about packing full outfits, think about packing a small handful of pieces that can be worn in multiple ways. Personally, that means neautrals with easy layering. I like simple, structured, base pieces like relaxed jeans, trousers, a white tee, and a button-down. And I make this more interesting with layers - a striped sweater, trench, or unbuttoned button-down are my current favorites.
3. Get creative. An oversized button-down can be French-tucked, wrapped around the waist, tucked into a skirt, or worn loosely over shorts or jeans. A white tee is a great bottom layer and is easily dressed up or down. Wear a sweater over your shoulders for a relaxed-dressy look, tie it across your chest for a more casual-athletic layer, and wear it on its own when the temperature drops. Layers & playing with textures add visual interest to your look which makes you appear more put together and chic. If something can only be worn one way, save it for a fun dinner out in your home city – unless, of course, you find yourself with extra space! In that case, pack the fabulous piece.
4. Don’t overpack shoes (this is the hardest thing for me to be terribly honest). As simple as most of my outfits are, I love to have fun with shoes. But they take up so much suitcase space. So I always keep my shoes simple – a pair of comfortable flats, a pair of strappy sandals when it’s warm, and if we’re doing a nice dinner or seeing a show, I’ll throw in a pair of comfortable heels.
5. Wear your bulkiest pieces to the airport – especially shoes and sweaters.
6. Compression bags work wonders.
7. While you should think about where you’re traveling and what you’ll be doing, you don’t want to think too much about ‘what if’ because it’s impossible to pack for every scenario.
It’s been a minute since I’ve flown & packed in a tiny suitcase, so let me know if you have any other tips that would be helpful!
And now for the most fast, furious, and fun part of this week’s newsletter. It’s time for links!
I read four books in August. This one blew me away. This one taught me that I don’t love a typical romance book. This one was spooky and very fun. And this one was so different than what I expected and is my second favorite book of the year (behind this one).
These chicken nuggets from Costco, that is all.
The second episode of Megan Markle’s podcast dropped earlier this week. She unpacks the title ‘diva’ with the Mariah Carey and it is fantastic.
This banana bread recipe is the best. I swapped the flour for whole wheat, the sugar for honey, and the raisins for chocolate chips (because of course), and it is divine.
I’ve worn this striped sweater four out of the last five days. And I love it so much that I ordered the navy version too. I usually wear a medium and prefer this one in a large.
That is a wrap on Issue 3 of this nameless newsletter. And brings me to the question for this week: do we keep it simple (‘Adelyn Boling’) or go the more standard newsletter route with an official name? A few I’m considering are Curated-ish, Have You Heard, and The Elemuse. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I’ll see you back in your inboxes next week!
Have a lovely long weekend, my dears!
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