Welp, we made it. It’s finally Spring. I remember the first day of Spring in the Midwest. I – and everyone else – would pull out shorts and tank tops and bike everywhere and lay in the grass, even if it was 50 degrees. I saved up all my absences in my classes for those beautiful Spring days when you couldn’t possibly sit in a classroom. We’d open up the garage door in the ceramics studio and feel the sun for the first time in what seemed like years. I would do anything for a sunburn those days.

The first day of Spring in San Francisco is not the same, but this weekend felt like it. I’ve been to Dolares Park twice already and Golden Gate Park once, doing nothing but sitting on a blanket and enjoying the sun. THIS is why I moved to California.

This week, it’s a little harder. It’s mostly rainy, pretty breezy, and threatening to storm any second. Spring seems to be resisting its return, but I refuse to go back to winter clothes. And the best part of Spring? It’s warm enough to air dry my hair.

This seems silly, I realize. It’s a little thing, but wet hair makes everything cold and drying it is, well, a big pain in the ass. My mom and sister both have extremely curly hair, so I’ve learned not to complain about mine. Thankfully my natural hair, beach waves, has come into style in recent years and in Spring I embrace it like I embrace my stuffed animal every night (true story).

 

So this, this is my natural hair. I love the feeling of blown out, straightened hair, but I always get compliments when I literally DO NOTHING to it. Well, by nothing I mean brush it, put in some curling cream, and scrunch and twirl it ceaselessly during my commute (sorry, 10 Townsend riders).

                                                       Seriously, just this:

And this:

I’m also a diva and leave it down during Lunch Yoga, which makes me feel super prissy, but hey, it lets me take pictures after work during this golden hour we finally get to come home to.

Long story short, my spring outfit is this: tank, scarf, jacket, jeans, my new favorite kickass clogs, and my naturally wavy hair.

 

P.S. If you’re in search of the perfect spring scarf, go straight to your nearest LOFT. I seriously get 2-3 new scarves from them every Spring and wear them ceaselessly. They had a pop of color to any outfit, and I get so many compliments on them.

The scarf I’m wearing:

Anyway, happy Spring everyone. Does your hair routine change with the weather? Tell me about it!

 

CLOTHES.

Tank. LOFT (exact)

Scarf. LOFT (exact)

Jacket. Stitch Fix, Miilla (exact in taupe, similar)

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)

Shoes. Free People (exact)

Bag. Madewell (exact)

Lip. NYX Liquid Suede Lip in Sandstorm (exact)

SHOP.

As you may know, I have an MFA in Creative Writing. What does that mean? In short, it means for three years I read A LOT and wrote just as much. And learned a lot in the process. After my MFA I kinda sorta took a hiatus from reading. But since 2017, one of my resolutions has been to read more.

In January, I read seven books. Since starting the blog, it’s been harder to find the time (Instagram is a lot of work, ya’ll), but I’ve still read every night before going to sleep.

I try to balance my book list between poetry, fiction, and nonfiction because, well, I’m a writer at heart and need to research. This may mean for you that this reading list is not your typical blogger “books to read this Spring.” But I promise you I am not your usual MFA graduate. I actually mentioned Sarah Dessen in my thesis defense. #ProudNonBasicMoment

Anyway, these are the books I’ve been reading:

SPRING READING LIST.

 
Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell. Okay, so I’m about halfway through this one but it’s everything I hoped it’d be. It uses multiple narrators to tell a story of a group of hipster friends back in 1950s New York. I’m fascinated with the publishing industry at that time (and that place) and so far it paints that scene beautifully. If you like a more mystery bend of the same place and time, I highly recommend The Dollhouse

 

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. I could go on forever about Kundera. You know when someone says “Oh, you’ll LOVE _insert author here_” and you automatically don’t want to read them because you didn’t discover them? Maybe that’s just a non basic thing (read: hipster, read: becca), but I didn’t read him for so long because everyone told me I would love him. I finally broke down and I’m sure glad I did. These books read like memoir meets mystery meets romance meets poetry meets everything raw ever. Just read this: “When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose. And Sabina – what had come over her? Nothing. She had left a man because she felt like leaving him. Had he persecuted her? Had he tried to take revenge on her? No. Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden, but the unbearable lightness of being.”    

 

It starts with food by Dallas & Melissa HartwigSpeaking of lightness, like every good blogger I embarked on Whole30 this January. I actually got halfway through the month of eating like Pinterest told me to before I read this. It at the very least gave me an answer every time James asked, “WHY can’t we eat _insert food here_ again?” Whole30 didn’t clear me of sugar or alcohol cravings forever or make me not want to add blue cheese to every meal, but it certainly made me think about my choices. I make all my own salad dressings now and we try to eat Whole30 during the week and do as we please on the weekends. And let me tell you, after a couple days of takeout and happy hours, I am so glad to come back to this eating style.  

 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsFor all you memoir junkies, this is your next one. My mom mentions this book all the time and I felt like this year I was finally at a place in life to appreciate it. And funny story: I unknowingly decided to read it at the same time my MFA cohort back in Arkansas was reading it. Walls’ writing makes you experience things with her, and genuinely understand how every family has a different way of coping, surviving, and living. It certainly made me thankful for my life. This book, out of all of them, is a MUST READ. 

 

 

The life-changing magic of tidying up and Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. I’m kind of ashamed that I read these. I’d heard a lot about the Kondo method with great skepticism and after it had an appearance in the Gilmore Girls revival, I just had to read about it. The idea is that every object has its place in your closet, cabinets, home, life and they need to return to that place. And if an object doesn’t spark joy in you, then it’s time to throw it away. Honestly, the biggest takeaway was just how she folds clothes. Spark Joy is an illustrated version of the former and I bought this just so I could learn how she folds pants. I’m telling you, my drawers are so functional now and I can fit twice as many pants in them. These books didn’t make me throw away all my once-worn dresses or pitch my book collection, but they did drive to me to a Target binge of organization bins for my miscellany, a reorganization of our bar cart, and an overhaul of my dresser.  

 

 
The Ultimate Bicycle Owner’s Manual by Eben Weiss. This was a Christmas gift from James’ dad to him, and after countless nights of him laughing out loud while reading it, I picked it up right after he was done. Since my recent bike-to-work endeavor, this book was 100% necessary. It taught me how and when to pass, which bikes are for which type of riding (and people), and just general commiserating re: the bike commute. Weiss is dubbed The Bike Snob and I’ve since followed his blog. Highly recommend.

 

 
Florida by Christine SchuttThis book is definitely poetry meets fiction. Her rhythm and tone and nonlinear storytelling is just gorgeous. It’s essentially about daughter whose mother enters a psych ward and her journey with that. But also so much more, because, well, straight up amazing writing right here. It was a National Book Award Finalist and for a good reason. I’m already seeking the next Florida I can find.

I also read these books this Spring, which I’ll write more about at some point. If you’re interested in one, just ask!

 

You can follow my Pinterest board of the books I’m reading here and my GoodReads account, too. What are you reading this Spring?

Clothes.

Cardigan. Old Navy Super Long Cardigan

Tank. LOFT Strappy Cami
 Pants. Lou & Grey Chillout Pants

Necklaces. Old Navy and Flea Market (similar & similar)

Lip. ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Cheap Thrills

Home Decor.

Pillow. World Market Cowhide Pillow

Print. Elephant by Animal Crew
Duvet Cover. DENY Designs (similar)

I heard two things when I told people I was taking a Monday off to fly back from Zion: (1) You’re only going there for two days!? and (2) Isn’t it going to be super cold?

The answer to both of those was YES. As a foursome of 20-somethings with burgeoning careers, PTO is a treasure. A Saturday morning to Monday evening trip is plenty! Especially when it’s cold. Like, really cold. Like, 15 degrees at night cold.

So why now? Well, our friends Garrett and Viv are getting married in Zion next year! And they wanted to see if February would be an okay time to do that. If you’re wondering how two people can be this cool and chill the answer is: I have no idea. Adventure might as well be their new married last name. Their adventure began simultaneously in Indiana and Ohio, then moved to Connecticut. Then, internationally, they lived in Venice, Coventry (in the West Midlands of England), and finally London. We’re just thankful they made their way back to their hometown, San Luis Obispo, so they’re only a day trip away from SF.

Pro tip: Zion in February may be freezing, but it is also free of crowds. I’ve heard that in the summer it can be more like Disneyland than a natural sanctuary. Indeed, there were people there, but I was thankful I didn’t have to Photoshop crowds of tourists out of my pictures.

Anyway, let’s get to how we spent our time.

SATURDAY

Garrett and Viv started their drive from SLO at 5 AM. Did I mention lately that they’re the best? James and I rolled out of bed at 9 after a night of binging Best of Jon Stewart YouTube videos. Flights from SF to Vegas are always super cheap, so we flew to Vegas, where Garrett and Viv picked us up at about 1 PM. Another tip: most backpacking packs are carry-on size. Ours were huge, and they let us through (besides TSA thinking my mess kit was an alarm clock). We gate checked them and were worry-free — and baggage-fee-free.

The drive was half scummy Vegas wasteland and half gorgeous Arizona and Utah landscape. We stopped in Mesquite, Nevada to stock up on fuel, wood, food, and for the guys: unnecessary Walmart sunglasses.

We arrived at our campsite in the Watchman Campground just before dusk. This is car camping, so the packs were unnecessary, but a great way to transport gear. Viv purposefully picked a site near a bathroom, but the bathroom was closed for winter. Thankfully, another one was open just down the loop! But if you’re like me, a couple beers around the fire and you don’t want to walk all that way. I have an off-brand SheWee that I literally cannot stop talking about. It’s easily the best invention of our time. It takes all the camping and festival bathroom worries off the table!

So Saturday night Garrett made barbecue chicken on the fire, James and Viv made gnochhi with red sauce on a camp stove (if you don’t have a PocketRocket you should definitely get one now), and I tossed together a bagged salad. We seriously ate better than we do most Saturday nights in SF. AND we had chicken leftover for future sandwiches and snacking. Cue beers, hotty toddys, and fire for the rest of the night.

It got down to 15 degrees Saturday night, and I did not sleep at all. My feet were so cold I was growling all night and I thought for sure we were crazy to do this. I dreamt of a hotel room and questioned my sanity. But when I woke up and saw the view (and coffee and breakfast)…sacrificing my feet was worth it.

SUNDAY

Garrett and Viv are fire-making geniuses, so they had a fire going by the time we got up. We  They made us eggs, sausage, and toasted corn tortillas for breakfast tacos. These GAVE ME LIFE. Pro tip: bring hot sauce on every camping trip. A little bit of Frank’s goes a long way to making camping feel comfy rather than inhibiting.

We had to make coffee on the fire because our fuel froze overnight. Turns out, Coleman makes their fuel with butane, which freezes. MSR doesn’t, so choose that ALWAYS or else you’ll end up like me: a coffee-depraved mumbling shell of a person. Also, this coffee pot is my favorite camping purchase we’ve made. If you’re addicted like me, it’s worth the pound or two it adds to your pack.

So we ate, changed clothes, packed up sandwiches, and made our way to the Visitor Center.

If you came to this post seeking things to do in Zion, you finally made it to the part of the post where I talk about the park. Sorry for my ramblings on camping!

What to do with one day in Zion National Park.

Take the shuttle to the last stop. Even if you have a car, take the shuttle. We never waited more than three minutes for one, and they tell you nerdy facts about the park along the way. It starts at the Visitor Center, just a minute-long walk from our site in Watchmen Campground. Take it to the last stop, Stop 8: Temple of Sinawava.

Note: the shuttle runs from late March to early October, but because we went the weekend after President’s Day weekend, it was running. How smart are we! (Viv is really the only smart one here, I had no idea a shuttle even existed.)

The Temple of Sinawava is where we spent a good chunk of our day. During the summer, this is where you want to go for The Narrows, a hike IN the water. If you want to rent ridiculously priced (and equally ridiculously looking) gear, you can do The Narrows in February. We got to see enough of the park without taking it on, though a group that did it came back to the campground at the same time as us and didn’t look completely miserable…so it’s definitely doable.

Here, you’ll find snowfalls, a gorgeous river, and great views. There’s a paved path nearly the whole way, and barely any incline. I wouldn’t even call it a hike, really. For our adventures, we were scoping out places for Garrett and Viv to host their wedding ceremony. We found plenty of places for a small group, and one by the river that made us want to forget previously frozen feet and jump in immediately.

 

We stopped on a log for sandwiches — a necessity if you want to see everything in one day.

Then we hopped back on the shuttle for Stop 7: Weeping Rock.

Weeping Rock was so. freaking. cool. Many of the paths were closed, but the Observation Point was not. From the starting point, it looks just like a small waterfall. It’s a relatively steep hike up, but so short and gradual that anyone can do it. What we saw at the top was amazing. The waterfall was made of snow! These are my favorite pictures of the trip. Everything below it was covered in ice and snow where the fall hit, while everything else remained bare. In the summer, I’m sure the view from below is better than above. But in February, the Observation Point was perfect.

 

Next, the normal path to the Emerald Pools was closed for winter, so we opted for Stop 6: The Grotto, for the Kayenta Trail.

The Grotto seemed like the place to be for day hikers. Beautiful people in their carefully curated hiking fashions were abundant — the likes of which we were not a part of, though my three layers of Patagonia tried their hardest. We made it up the first climb of the Kayenta Trail and decided it was a little too much for our already adventurous day. I mean, we have to have something to look forward to for the next Zion trip!

We opted instead to take the short trail to the Lodge, and we found my beloved cacti along the way.

The Lodge is not much compared to the rest of the park, but civilization was fine by us. We perused the gift shop, and I got an adorable glass cactus and prickly pear candy. Yes, I might love cacti too much.

After that, it was nearing dinner time so we took the shuttle back to the campsite and hunkered down. James got me this camp chair for Christmas and I’m obsessed. It’s a Pendleton and evrgn partnership design, and it rocks. AND it folds up into an equally gorgeous messenger bag, so I could take it on the plane. He also got me the matching wool blanket, because he’s just too good to me. This is definitely my camping luxury. I feel like a diva whenever I set it up, but it comfortable and amazing, so whatever IT’S DOPE.

 

Sunday night we everyone but me (again, they are way better campers/contributors/people) cooked burgers and snacked on leftovers and drank hotty toddys. Oh, and we played the game Piccolo on my phone, which is probably what all the college kids are super into nowadays. I was smart Sunday night and put handwarmers in my sleeping bag two hours before I went to bed. THIS WAS GENIOUS. Pro tip: I cannot stress enough that Zion in February = handwarmers. I wore them all day and slept with four of them (two in the bag and two in the socks). Seriously, they are 75 cents for two. Get a million – or at least 6 – and be happy.

Then we woke up, drove onward, and stopped at Black Bear Diner in St. George. It was the diner food to end all diner food, really.

Have I mentioned yet how great it was to be with this group? I get really indimidated by camping, but the last pro tip: go with people you enjoy. It doesn’t matter how cold it is if you’re enjoying your company. And also if they are camping pros 😉

 

And that’s it! I’m linking all my camping gear – including camping fashion, ’cause clothes are my favorite – below so you can be prepared for your next trip, whether or not you decide to embark on Zion in February. Happy camping!

CAMPING CLOTHES.

CAMPING GEAR.

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It finally feels like Spring in San Francisco! And while we don’t know how long it’ll last, I certainly enjoyed the sun today.

Transition wear can be hard. Transitioning your wardrobe into Spring is no small task, but SF provides some relief since it’s pretty much the same temperature – 50-65 degrees – all year round. Thanks Bay, and Karl the Fog.

Last summer when I was busy sporting tanks and rompers I kept seeing the more stylish San Franciscans in turtlenecks and I wondered HOW. How can people wear wool when it’s this gorgeous out? Then I realized I spent the whole summer freezing my a$$ off.

So this year I’m tending toward spring shoes with warm and cozy tops.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

– Leo Tolstoy

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been planning vacations (San Diego, Alaska, another Zion, Michigan, and a girls trip we can’t agree on a place for) and planning outfits, as well as some exciting new adventures for this blog. Join me in trading in booties for lace-ups – despite the lack of a much-needed pedicure – and some new sunnies. But keep those sweaters close!

 

CLOTHES.

Top. Banana Republic (exact & similar)

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)

Shoes. BC Footwear (similar)

Sunglasses. Amazon, SojoS (exact)

Lip. Urban Decay Vice in Stark Naked (exact)

SHOP.


As I wrote about in my bio, I’ve always struggled with being blonde. People have assumed a lot of things about me just because I have blonde hair and smile a lot. I even dyed my hair dark red once when I first started my MFA in Creative Writing because I wanted to finally be the edgy writer of my dreams. It was awful. I didn’t feel like myself and actually felt less happy. Who knew!

My tattoos are my way of publicly expressing my creativity. For me, it combats my hair color and the assumptions that come with it. I can wear a cocktail dress – which BTW will always feel unnatural for me – and still feel like myself.

It’s also my way of closing off chapters of my life. I got my first when I was 18, and my parents actually came with me! Shout out to awesome parenting of a semi-rebellious teen.

I have 5 tattoos now and I got them all at periods in my life that needed a new chapter. The first after high school, the next after college, the third after a life-changing event in grad school, the fourth right before moving to San Francisco, and the most recent after I finished my novel.

Some were more planned than others, but if saving ideas on Pinterest counts, I’ve planned quite a ton. I’d been following Emily North (Em16) for a while and saw she was going to be a guest artist at Black & Blue Tattoo my birthday week! I immediately emailed her about an idea I’d had for a while and she had ONE LAST OPENING the day before my 25th birthday. Done. deal.

I didn’t actually see the art until seconds before I sat down in the chair, but I wasn’t scared. Emily completely captured what I had in mind, and this has quickly become my favorite piece yet.

So why a cactus tattoo?

A couple reasons. I grew up loving cacti and succulents as a symbol of California. I only saw them when I visited my grandma in Santa Barbara, and she had them everywhere. Growing up in Michigan where plants like this can’t thrive, cacti were this far off entity of a life I pictured for myself.

When I moved to Arkansas, a climate that could actually handle some succulents and cacti, I bought a ton. Some of them died off in a freeze, but I kept the same one in every office I’ve worked in and that one remains with me. In fact, it sat in my cupholder during my 2,000 mile drive out to SF. And yes, I did hide it from the border police when they asked if I was transporting any plant or vegetable matter. Total. rebel.

The other reason I got a cactus tattoo is because I had just finished my MFA thesis, a novel. The female character in my novel has a pet cactus named Edward that functions as her only true friend and confidant. So I got this tattoo to celebrate and close that chapter of my life – and also as the beginning of this one in California.

While I spend most of my time on the couch in my living room, my dining room is easily the happiest room in our little row house on the hill. I convinced the guys to put up these bookshelves for me (that I scoured Craigslist for) and reasoned that I would most definitely fill them up. Most of my moving boxes were full of books. As a writer, I consider them research and I just can’t give them up. We even use some of the shelves as a bar, so double win for the house.

I also keep my cacti and succulent collection here. For my birthday, James and I went down to Flowercraft and got an array of cacti and succulents and he got me this adorable – and large – cactus in a cobalt blue pot. I seriously treat them like my pets.

All this to say, on this fashion blog I also want to make sure I capture who I am. I didn’t start this blog to get followers or for people to tell me I’m pretty. I started it to share how I’ve taken my “basic” look and made it my own. My tattoos – and my books and my cacti – are a part of my life as a non basic blonde. But also, yes, rosé. ‘Cause we all gotta be a little bit basic sometimes.

LOOK.

Overalls. H&M (similar)

Top. Forever 21 (similar)

Bookshelves. West Elm (this season’s style)

Succulent candle. Anthropologie (exact)

Chair. Target (exact)

CACTI & SUCCULENT INSPIRED FASHION.

ICYMI, the Shopbop bi-annual Shop More, Save More sale is on its LAST DAY. I repeat, last day.

Less importantly, the Nintendo Switch pre-orders shipped this week. Why is this important? Because I live with three guys. And the much-awaited game console came to our house at 8 PM last night. That meant that it was second Christmas at our little row house on the hill – and that I had a great Friday night listening to 20-something dudes devolve into 12-year-olds…while I ceaselessly shopped online.

Which brings me to my Shopbop Spring Sale 2017 picks. I’ve rounded up some non basic favorites I’ve had my eye on. No, I did not buy all of them. BUT if I did, I would’ve saved A TON of money. It works like this: 15% off $200+, 20% off $500+, and 25% off 800+.

Shopbop has a ton of designers that rarely go on sale, so if you’ve been eyeing a certain shoe or jacket now is the time to buy. Plus, they work with Amazon Prime! If you’re a Prime subscriber, you get the usual free two-day shipping. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial for $3, if you’d like.

This is huge for me because I usually shop in-store for that instant shopping satisfaction. This way, I can get my Friday night finds by Sunday. It may seem little, but IT’S A BIG DEAL, OKAY.

SHOPBOP SALE NON BASIC FAVORITES.


P.S. My friend, happy hour buddy, co-worker from my former Arkansas life — and the girl who gave me the confidence and support I needed to start this blog — AJ Wears Clothes wrote a post about the amazing embroidered leather jacket I’ve featured here. Just. look. at. her. You need it!

Happy shopping, non basics ♥

GET AMAZON PRIME BEFORE YOU SHOP

Amazon Prime Free Trial

This is my classic Thursday outfit. A little exhausted. A little too much work to do but don’t really want to leave my bed. Way, way comfy.

I wear this Willow & Clay cardigan A LOT. In fact, I’ve already worn it in another post. It’s my favorite color, matches most of my lipstick, and works as a jacket, too. I honestly hate wearing jackets. As a young’n, my parents used to have to force me to put a jacket on before I left the house, even if it was below freezing. It has something to do with being a summer baby — I was born on the summer solstice and any bit of sun gives me so much energy and happiness — and something to do with planning my outfit pre-jacket and not wanting to cover it up. This cardi is perfect for that: it’s wool, so it functions as a jacket. TWO IN ONE, FOLKS. No additional overlayer necessary.

Bonus: my go-to cardigan is on sale right now for $27. That’s 60% off, guys. It might be in limited sizing, but let’s face it: it’s a slouchy cardigan. You can wear it in any size—or at least I do.

 

 

 

When I schlep myself into clothes on Thursdays, a tee and high-waisted jeans outfit is ideal. I just tuck in the shirt and instantly feel like a fashionista. Put a pair of booties and a bun on and BAM, no longer schlepping.

 

Plus, I’ve been trying the YouTube makeup tutorial tip of a lip stain + metallic lip and loving it. Seriously, I wear this metallic lipstick by Urban Decay in daylight far too often, but it doesn’t last that well. If I put a Kat Von D lip stain underneath it (and a translucent lip liner underneath that) it lasts even past lunch.

 

It feels like Spring might finally be here today in SF, and real talk this is the view from my park on my block. Needless to say, the sun + this outfit made this Thursday less of a Thursday. Cheers to your nearly weekend from mine!

CLOTHES.

Cardigan. Nordstrom Rack, Willow & Clay (exact & ON SALE)

Top. Azalea Boutique (similar)

Jeans. Urban Outfitters, BDG (exact)

Shoes. Nordstrom Rack, Dolce Vita (exact)

Lip. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Exorcism + Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Conspiracy

Necklace. Some boutique along my travels (similar)

SHOP.

I haven’t touched on body positivity a lot here yet. Because truthfully it’s a touchy subject. In college I was nearly 200 lbs. And then with 2 years of work and resetting, I shed 50 lbs of that weight. I’ve teeter-tottered since then, but have learned how to take care of my body and how much better I feel when I do.

But honestly, confidence has never been an issue. I loved clothes even when I couldn’t fit into what everyone else was wearing. I’ve always felt comfortable in my skin.

Soon after my weight loss – and while I was still running every morning before work and sticking to a strict diet – my friend was describing someone and said, “She’s not like you. She was one of those blondes who wear makeup and get all the guys’ attention.” She meant it as a compliment. I’m the cool blonde. The one with a brain, not beauty. The one with big hips and a small chest. The non basic blonde. Still, I was a little disheartened. I love makeup! And do I not get male attention? Am not blonde enough for the blonde club? And then I realized: Even at my thinnest I’m not going to look like a model.

I’m going to have a tiny torso and a lotta hips and my hair is never going to grow past my shoulders. But this is what makes me me — and why I can call myself a non basic blonde.

Which brings me to crop tops.

Whatever size I am, I love crop tops. And whatever size you are, you should love them too. Sure, they’re not appropriate in all situations. But a crop top I swear will make you stand taller, feel sexier, and boost your confidence. Or your money back.

Not really 🙂 But really, there are so many different types of crop tops, some more tasteful than others. I think the key to a tasteful crop top is not what it is, but what you pair it with.

A jacket is a great way to dip your toe into the crop top world. You’ll get all the crop top confidence (#croptopconfidence) but can cover up if say you run into your boss or you go to a biker bar that you know probably frowns upon that style (true story).

 

A flowy pant is another great way venture into crop top land. The elastic band allows you to adjust your belly’s peek of daylight, and it follows one of my many style rules: tight on one half, loose on the other. Tight skinny jeans? Loose shirt. Tight crop top? Loose pants.

Finally, a non basic touch for the crop top: a unique necklace. This outfit minus the necklace is pretty basic. But this bolo tie (which, yes, I’ve worn for 3 different posts because I’m obsessed) makes this look a little outside of ordinary.

I wore this for a friend’s birthday party in the Mission, where you see everything from holey flannels to clubby dresses. This was a comfy in-between that I’ll definitely wear again!

PS I never spend good money on a crop top. This is a once a month style choice, so I stick to Target and Forever 21.

 

 

Clothes.

Jacket. Gap (exact)

Top. Target (similar)

Pants. Old Navy (similar fit, similar style)

Shoes. Steven by Steve Madden (exact on Nordstrom Rack & Amazon)

Clutch. Target, Who What Wear (similar)

Necklace. Forever 21 (similar)

Favorite similar (and affordable) crop tops.

I bike to work unless it’s raining or I’ve curled my hair. I resisted it for the first nine months I lived in San Francisco. Not because I live on top of a steep hill (really, I just calculated it and it’s 25% grade…for 5 blocks straight). Not because city drivers are crazy, especially during commuting time.

I didn’t want to bike to work because I live for dressing for work. It’s sometimes the best part of my day. And I didn’t want my outfits to be dictated by what can work on a bike. But at a certain point in the fall when my bus route was under construction and I was late to work – like WAY late to work – every day, I realized cutting my commute from 50 minutes to 15 minutes was worth a little venture into athleisure style.

Also, it turns out that most people who work in tech dress like they bike to work anyway. Really, I wore heels once to a large, important tech company because #bossbabelife…and definitely didn’t fit in with the hoodie and sneakers attire.

What I’ve found works (and doesn’t) for bike-to-work wear.

 1. No dresses or skirts.

Sometimes I find myself – in the middle of rush hour in downtown SF – biking with this woman who wears straight up sundresses on her beach cruiser, chilling like she doesn’t have a care in the world. Other times I find myself BEING PASSED by women in pencil skirts standing-riding (something I can only assume is learned with a monthly membership to SoulCycle) on share bikes. I envy these women, the sundresses and the pencil skirts, but I will never try it. I very rarely wear dresses or skirts, but when I do I bus or Lyft. Just stick with pants that stay close to your ankles, and you’ll be worry-free.

2. Short, open coats.

I have one amazing long-ish coat (shout out, Betabrand All-Day Coat) that works with my bike, but it makes me nervous every time I stand to stop. When I hop back on, I have to check my butt and fold my coat under it so it doesn’t get caught on the tire. I usually opt for short coats, like this camo cargo jacket. And I keep it open, because, well, the breeze while riding down my 25% grade hill is AWESOME.

3. Sturdy shoes.

While I wear sneakers most often while biking, any sturdy shoes will do. I made the mistake of wearing my favorite suede booties once, but the pedals dug right into the suede on the heels. Not only did that experience ruin my go-to shoe, but it was also a safety hazard. It was almost like having clip-ins. I struggled to put my foot down at traffic stops. So now if I wear booties, I make sure to either ride with my feet forward on the pedals or check the heels for maximum durability.

4. Second-day hair or a top knot…or wet hair.

Second-day hair is perfect for biking because it’s a little stiffer, 100% dry, and easy to fluff up post-helmet. A top knot is another option, BUT wait until you get to work before tying it up. That way all of the helmet hair goes straight up into the bun. Today, I opted for wet hair. Mostly because I suck at being on time and enjoy my couch time pre-shower way too much. Wet hair actually works. I put a little bit of Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves curl cream (which BTW is only $6) and then when I get to work I fearlessly crunch and twirl my hair until it’s dry. So yes, if you’re wondering, I might be the only fashion blogger to take pictures with wet hair. #nonbasic

5. Always have workout clothes on hand.

Seriously. I keep one set in my desk drawer and another in my purse. One more time: I LIVE ON A VERY STEEP HILL. I’ve only made it up all the way once. And nearly puked after. But biking uphill with a tank and leggings versus a sweater and jeans really does make a huge difference. Plus, you’ll do less laundry.

One more bonus tip.

Spray your face before you go! I was very skeptical of makeup setting spray. It seemed like an excuse for makeup companies to take even more of my money. But I have Sephora VIB in my DNA and a friend who convinced me it was worth it. And you know what? IT TOTALLY IS. When I get to work all sweaty from biking, I just dab my face with a tissue and call it good. No reapplication. No touch-ups. I use Urban Decay All Nighter which has new packaging that it freaking beautiful.

I also low-key love that my bike and helmet match. My helmet is a I also low-key love that my bike and helmet match. My helmet is a Bern Lenox in Satin Black (it’s even gold underneath the visor) and my bike is an Orbea Carpe.

Do you bike to work? Do you want to now? Let me know any other questions you have and I’ll answer them in another post!

 

CLOTHES.

Jacket. H&M (similar)

Top. LOFT (exact)

+ Right now LOFT has 30% Off Tops. Offer valid 2/24 12a EST – 2/27 11:59p EST

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)

Shoes. Vans (exact)

Necklace. Forever 21 (similar)

Lip. NYX Liquid Suede in Pink Lust (exact)

Helmet. Bern (exact)

Sunglasses. Kate Spade (same style, different color)

Purse. Vera Bradley (similar)

So fur is pretty basic. Don’t worry, I’m aware. I think of fur as pretty metropolitan, and given that I’ve just recently become a city girl (in a city that does everything to defy “metropolitan”…talking at you SF). But I still feel a little strange wearing fur! I get on the bus and feel like someone is going to think it’s real and throw red paint at me or something…. Hasn’t happened yet though 🙂

 

With this look — and all my fur-incorporating looks — I try to combat the posh-ness of it all with a little fun and innocence. Hence, ruffles, black faded jeans, and zippered booties. The ruffles on this Anthro top especially do a lot to keep the fur fun.

 

 

I returned from an Anthro shopping trip binge recently and realized all of the shirts I bought were peplum, or at least had flowy, open bottoms. I LOVE this look. Now, people say girls with hips should avoid peplum because it only makes them look bigger. And maybe it does. But frankly I love my hips and accentuating them seems preferable than other outfits I could create.

 

 

I also add couple pieces of non basic jewelry: this gold feather cuff that I wear with pretty much everything, and a marble ring. You may have noticed that I always wear my Fitbit blaze — even when I’m shooting. I’m sorry but I have a standing competition with my mom and every step counts!

 

A tattoo or two also helps in being non basic 🙂

 

CLOTHES.

Top. Anthropologie, Akemi + Kin (exact)

Scarf. LOFT (similar from Express)

Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Levi’s (exact)

Shoes. Nordstrom Rack, Dolce Vita (exact)

Bracelet. Forever 21 (similar, but better)

Ring. Ambiance SF (similar)

Sunglasses. Nordstrom Rack, Kate Spade (similar)

Lip. Urban Decay Vice Stark Naked (exact)

 

Like I do, I bought this top on sale and it’s sadly not available anymore. There’s been some on eBay and Poshmark, but here are some other options for ya!

Other peplum t-shirts.