A Beach Inspired Haven

I’ve had a fixation with beach-themed bathrooms for over a decade now, and love using shells and beach-themed décor as fun accents to remind me of the ocean and the beach. When I moved to a new residence this past January, I decided to really have fun with the beach theme, and I took it to the extreme.

One of the features I have displayed in my bathroom is a collection of clear containers which hold sand and shells from different beaches I have visited.  Included in this collection are sand and shell samples from Hawaii, Costa Rica, Bali, Thailand and the Maldives.  Whenever I look at my collection, I am transported back to those magical destinations which captured my heart and spirit.

Whenever I feel like escaping to an island getaway, but I am stuck in Los Angeles, I’ll take a bubble bath while surrounded by my sand and shell collection, lit candles, and starfish lights.  It’s a wonderful way for me to recharge and to surround myself with reminders of my favorite terrain.  I also love the fact that I finally have a full bathtub in my bathroom after 20 years of having shower stalls.  Whenever my schedule allows, I try to take a relaxing bath, which beats taking a quick shower any day.

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Rings Are My Thing

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved rings. They were always my favorite items of jewelry, and would always catch my eye. My mother was aware of my fascination for rings, because every time we went to one particular toy store in a local mall, I would make a beeline for the collection of costume rings which were always by the register. Occasionally, she would tell me to pick one out, and she would buy it for me. I treasured those rings, and still have one crafted of faux aquamarine in a box of collectibles to this day.

My two core teachers during first through third grades (at Montessori, I had the same core teachers for the three years I was there), Miss Umholtz and Mrs. Austin, also loved rings. Miss Umholtz would change things up every week, so that a different group of unique silver rings would adorn her long, slender fingers. On my last day of school at Montessori, Mrs. Austin gave me a gift: a tiny cloisonne heart ring. That ring also sits in my collectibles box, along with the faux aquamarine ring.

As my own personal style began to emerge over the years, I discovered that I preferred wearing many rings at one time over just wearing one or two. By the time I was 20, I adopted the habit of wearing at least 3 rings at a time. The only exception to this was when I was married. During those years, at the stern suggestion of the man I married, I only wore my wedding ring on my left ring finger, and I wore my college ring (which was given to me by my mother) on my right hand. Once my marriage was over, however, my habit of stacking and adding rings slowly but surely crept back.

I now wear between five and seven rings at a time. At one point, before I got married, I wore ELEVEN rings on my fingers. I love the feel of silver or platinum around my fingers. Interesting or unique designs will always catch my eye, especially if they showcase a beautiful stone or crystal. Some of the rings in my collection have such powerful stones in them that I have to be in the right frame of mind to wear them. I also love wearing rings on different digits, like my thumb, or above my knuckles (aka midi rings).

It’s amusing to note that midi rings have become popular recently, because I have been wearing them since the 1990’s, when it was considered a bit odd to wear one. What is a midi ring? It is a ring that is worn between the first and second knuckles. I’ve got news for those of you who think this is a new or relatively new trend: midi rings, or above knuckle rings, have been worn since the Middle Ages. During Renaissance times, wealthy people wore midi rings to indicate that they didn’t have to perform manual labor.

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

I am such a creature of habit that I will wear the same group of rings everywhere. That includes the midi rings and the ring I wear on my left thumb. It doesn’t bother me that some people think I wear too many rings. I very rarely wear earrings, so I make up for it with embellishments on my hands. My rings have become little pieces of armor for me, and I am so accustomed to how they feel on my fingers that I feel strange when I have to remove them for a photo shoot or other event.

Letting My Personal Style Show Through

The past several months have been fun for me with respect to my personal style, because I have been changing things up. However, everything I do with respect to putting outfits together tends to be a bit more understated, with neutral colors favored over bright colors, and solids over prints. I reserve the wilder expressions in smaller elements like jewelry and nails.

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After getting French manicures for six years straight, I got completely sick of the look, despite the fact that it photographs well. I guess you could say I got a bit tired of being constrained by a certain look, even though the work I do requires it. I have been rebelling completely, turning to dark polish shades like eggplant, espresso, navy, black. I was a bit concerned when I got a last minute call for a cover shoot a couple of weeks ago, but it turned out that the look was dark, sultry, Goth-inspired, which meant that my black and pewter nails lent themselves quite nicely to the whole vibe of the project. Phew!

I have never been comfortable with the idea of changing things up on a permanent or semi-permanent basis, which is why I have no tattoos or pierces (nope, not even my ears). That’s why I prefer the idea of changing the look of my nails, wearing different pieces of jewelry, exploring a different color in a cosmetic (maybe deep eggplant and black in a lip look?), or maybe even wearing small clip-in hair extensions in a wild color.

My wardrobe has also undergone a bit of a shift. I just got so bored with items which had been in my collection for so long that I had to shake it up a bit with a few new tops. I also was so fortunate to get two pairs of SquatPants from Beleza Brazil Fitness, which makes the most amazing pants ever! I cannot stop wearing them, because they are so comfortable, the colors are vibrant and distinctive and work well with other wardrobe items, I can work out in them or wear them for my day to day activities, and they make my booty and legs look AMAZING! I am not kidding when I say that I am completely obsessed with these pants.

(In case you’re curious about these incredible pants, please check out: http://belezabrazilfitnesswear.com/#_a_NAITO
At checkout, be sure to enter discount code NAITO)

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Wardrobe Issues

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Have you ever had a moment when you looked at all of your clothing and thought, “I don’t feel like wearing any of these things!”, and wished that a wardrobe fairy would alight upon your shoulder and grant your wish for a whole new wardrobe? Well, I have had that feeling repeatedly over the last few months, and I cannot figure out why I am experiencing such a feeling. As a result, I have been itching to switch things up, and add some color and flair.

The main challenge I face when it comes to adding wardrobe items is the fact that I can’t stand shopping. My eyes glaze over within about 15 minutes of being in a mall or shopping area. I will NEVER understand the rush that many women get from bouncing into a store, trying on mountains of clothing, spending their hard-earned money (or their husband’s or boyfriend’s, as the case may be), then moving on to the next store to repeat the process. No thank you!

Online shopping has been a welcome alternative to walking into brick and mortar stores for me. It is quick, relatively painless, and many companies make returns and exchanges easy. Even so, I still have a problem spending money on clothing, because clothing never holds much value. I know that the markup on clothing is astronomical, and I also know that reselling items yields almost no return on the initial investment.

However, I also know that flattering, comfortable, and stylish clothing can boost a person’s spirits and confidence. Though I go through all of my belongings several times a year and get rid of things which are threadbare or damaged, or which don’t fit me correctly, I still have this feeling that I need a change. Perhaps a few new tops would do the trick, since some of the tops in my closet have been a part of my life for close to two decades. I look at them now and think, what the hell am I doing, keeping these things?

It doesn’t help that my body has been shifting ever so slightly, but enough that my clothing fits differently. I am essentially the same size, but I know that age-related muscle loss is occurring, which makes me very upset. Another curious thing which happened recently is that I am suddenly cold in cold weather. I had spent a good year in the grip of night sweats and hot flashes, and grew accustomed to always running hot. I could go out in 35 degrees Fahrenheit weather without a coat and be fine. That has all come to a screeching halt, which I welcome, but the problem is that I got rid of most of the sweaters I had!

Is this a mid-life crisis? Maybe. Whatever it is that I am going through, I had to figure something out to keep me from tearing my hair out in frustration.

My solution: I purchased some new, inexpensive dresses, tops, sweaters and leggings, and said goodbye to some clothing items that just HAD to go in the give-away pile. I have been trying to assemble new outfits so that I present different looks which still reflect my personality. It has been fun looking at the new styles!