Intro to "The Sweatpants Lifestyle"

My July 2016 favorites video, just posted:

New and improved and more cheerful mani!


Here's a topic I spend far more energy thinking about than I should: my nails.

I go through these seasonal/annual/semi-annual cycles where I'll switch between regular weekly manicures, gel manicures every other week, nail art that's probably inappropriate for someone my age, and no-polish-ever (during this latter phase, the thought that actually runs through my mind on a daily basis is: Anna hates nail polish. You know what I'm talking about.). The cycles depend on the weather, my mood (happy = more color and experimentation), and whether I have any important travel or events on the horizon and/or am looking for an easy conversation starter at my fingertips, literally.

Over the past few weeks, I've been in a gel mani mood—my nails have been healthier this summer than they have been in a while (I'm chalking it up to all the wild Alaskan Copper River salmon I ate in May—I dunno why, I go through intense food phases too). The last few weeks I've just been doing solid color OPI manis at my local nail salon. Today, on my way home from a 10 a.m. AbFab showing (favorite thing: seeing mid-morning movies, also seeing AbFab at Cinepolis in Chelsea was only $8!) I stopped by Valley and got this glittery star manicure. And I'm obsessed with it. I can't stop running my fingers over it and looking at it. It feels weird when I type.

Anyhoo, if you're looking for a great nail art tech, I booked Xue at Valley. She's A+ (and also hilarious).

Questions my reflexologist asked me in the last hour

— How many police officers were killed in Baton Rouge?
— What is happening in America?
— Do you have a boyfriend?
— Why don't you have a boyfriend? 
— Are you going to try to find a boyfriend?
— Do you want to have kids?
— It's not too late to have kids in your 40s!
— Do you have a Ph.D?
— What were you so busy doing in your 20s that you didn't get married?
— How much did you pay for your apartment?
— How many square feet is your apartment?
— Do you like your new job?
— What are you going to do next?
— What do you do? (Cue: me trying to explain what a "Digital Director at a fashion news B2B" is in Mandarin, a language I speak at the conversational level of a 5-year-old)
— Do you work out?
— Aren't there a lot of gyms around here?
— Why don't you run outside in the mornings?

Now I need a nap.

I have reached peak stuff

I've unintentionally/intentionally sort of been on a spending detox since early June—partially because I've known for months that I was planning on resigning from my full-time job in July (more on that later), but also because it's summer and every year when I overspend on fun summer clothes, shoes, and accessories, I regret it, because, well, let's face it, by late September I'm back in boots and sweaters. Another, and perhaps the most important, reason I've seriously cut back on buying things is: I think I've reached peak stuff.

Remember this part of Up In The Air?


It goes something like this:
How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to feel the straps on your shoulders. Feel ’em? Now I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life. You start with the little things. The things on shelves and in drawers, the knick-knacks, the collectibles. Feel the weight as that adds up. Then you start adding larger stuff, clothes, table-top appliances, lamps, linens, your TV.

The backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. And you go bigger. Your couch, bed, your kitchen table. Stuff it all in there. Your car, get it in there. Your home, whether it’s a studio apartment or a two bedroom house. I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now try to walk. It’s kind of hard, isn’t it? This is what we do to ourselves on a daily basis. We weigh ourselves down until we can’t even move. And make no mistake, moving is living.
I love that movie. And, whether or not it's a sign that I'm a secret sociopath or wannabe-hermit, I really identify with that character George Clooney plays in the film—even more the older I get.

There's an idea that I've been turning over in my mind for the past few weeks. I've been secretly calling it "The Freedom of 38." More on that later, too. But since 2016 rolled around, I've had a bad case of cabin fever. Maybe it's because I've hardly been able to travel at all this year, or I haven't had the creative outlet this year that I've been so lucky to have all throughout my career, or I'm just not satisfied with the current state of my life. It's probably all of those things, but right now, at this moment, all I want is as much intellectual and creative freedom as possible. I've never felt so strongly about anything career-related before; if I don't have freedom, if I don't get out of this box I'm in, I feel like I'll go crazy.

Somehow, freedom from spending on stuff has become symbolic in my own mind of discipline, disconnecting from a corporate culture, and maybe something having to do with temperance of, like, the lifestyle I lead, which I'm trying to re-approach in a quality-over-quantity way. Don't worry, I'm not doing anything extreme. I still bought a $32 mascara last week—I just didn't, like, on a whim buy the $2,000 handbag. For August I'm thinking about doing something so cliche I'll never say it out loud at a dinner party: spending money on experiences rather than things. It makes much more sense at my age (literally do not need any more handbags, at least in the foreseeable future) and I'm pretty sure "experiences" is what's been missing from my life over the past six months.

So yeah. Tl;dr: I quit my job and I'm not buying as much stuff. I'm dreaming big, but first I'm taking baby steps.
"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn