Family Pictures

After a several year hiatus, we’re sending out holiday cards.

And I have to say, our friends Scott and Kelly at Olive Juice Studios really knocked it out of the park, although all props go to Spouse for the concept.

But if you look closely at our “family” photos, you may notice one thing: I’m not in them.

Was I supposed to be?

Yes.

Did I want to be in them?

Also Yes.

Where was I?

Work.

Sometimes, there is no balance.

This may sound utterly counterintuitive, but it’s true.

One of the many reasons I went into medicine was autonomy, a way to (hopefully) have some say over how I spend my time.

I envisioned a schedule that included time for exercise, dog walking, occasional lunches or daytime coffees, kid driving, school activities, etc.

But at a certain level, the responsibility becomes so great that the balance is less. Every day, I am the following: a full-time physician in a busy, busy practice, a Kick A$$ Lady Boss to over 50 people, a Mom, a Spouse, a small business owner and a Person Who Generally Tries to Be a Decent Human Being.

And none of these take a day off.

Also true: Some days I do a better job at one or more of these than others.

I hope that these two get it, maybe not on the day these photos were taken, but thirty years from now I hope they can look back and realize I was doing the best I could.

XOXO.

Patagonia Better Sweater

Seriously, this Patagonia Better Sweater suddenly seems to be everywhere.

It’s not new but seems to be having a renaissance.

Made of recycled materials, the Better Sweater comes as a jacket (like mine, above, in Birch), 1/4 zip pullover, vest, hoodie, shirt jacket, hat or scarf.

Whew.

I can attest to the wearability and softness. The outer surface says “sweater” but the inside says “fleece.”

I had this on my Christmas list until I discovered an amazing Black Friday deal – roughly 1/2 price – and scooped it up early.

My Christmas List

This isn’t a gift guide in the sense that I am buying these for others, this is PURE ME.

Confession: I keep an ongoing wish list throughout the year, mostly to remember what I am into at the moment, sometimes to keep an eye out for deals and occasionally to share with others.

While the list includes the unrealistic (“Giant diamond ring” has been #1 for five years running), there are also the cool things I find along the way.

Here’s what’s on tap:

Image via Amazon

I *love* Cindy Sherman’s self portraits. A few years ago there was an exhaustive show of her work at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and I spent hours immersed in her world. This new book is the #1 item on my Wish List.

Ok, I am also going to post about this tomorrow, but Santa came a bit early for me on this Patagonia Women’s Better Sweater. More thoughts coming, but suffice it to say this jacket – while not new by any means – seems to be having a renaissance in popularity. Include me on the fan list.

Image via Nordstrom.

Ok, here’s another item to file in the To-Me-From-Me category: These fluffy Ugg slippers. If I’m at home, I am always, always wearing slippers. Embarrassing but true: my second toes are longer than my big toes (this is called a Morton’s toe in medical terms), and the lifetime net result has been that I have broken my second toes over 4 times (!!!!) via a combination of running-related stress fractures or painful stubbing incidents. I’ve learned that slippers with some frontal barrier are enough to usually keep me out of trouble. These fit the bill.

Image via Jo Malone

It’s hard to pick a favorite Jo Malone fragrance, but there are a few that rise to the top for me. This isn’t one! However, I am well-stocked on my #1 winter scent (Pomegranate Noir, spicy and delicious for cold weather; FWIW, my overall top choice is Nectarine and Honey Blossom), and this one is a great alternative to round out a winter fragrance wardrobe. Did you know you needed a winter fragrance wardrobe? You do.

Image via Lululemon

Another future post coming, but 2019 was the year I went nuts buying Lululemon, a brand that previously did not appeal. What changed? I am not sure, but I went down a huge rabbit hole snapping up their running shorts, convertible Vinyasa scarves and workout jackets. This On The Go Poncho is slightly elevated from their usual fare. I want it.

Image via Lululemon

I promise to stop with Lululemon after this, but these gloves are So. Good. They are thin but do the trick to keep my hands warm enough from the time I get into my chilly car at the end of the day to when it warms up. Plus, they are thin enough to easily allow me to pick up my travel mug and sip coffee – an unusual requirement, but a requirement nonetheless.

Image via Crate and Barrel

This is the most needed, least exciting item on my Holiday List: new baking sheets. While we’re at it, pizza pans should also make the list. Despite how much I hate domestic chores, I frequently roast veggies of all varieties and heat more pizza than I care to admit. The grungy pans we have now could use an upgrade.

Image via Amazon

Described as the “Oracle with Attitude,” this deck of cards is meant to be a fun way to answer questions Magic Eight Ball-style, but with edge.

100% self-explanatory.

IRI Shoes

Love ’em or hate ’em?

These shoes kept coming across my Instagram feed, and I finally succumbed.

They’re from iRi NYC, a brand designed “to promote individual expression through footwear.”

I bought the exact pair above. They remind me of the Keith Haring Absolut Vodka ads from my youth. I was obsessed with those ads.’

The upper is neoprene and the chunky sole adds about 2″ of height.

I’m happy to report the comfort level is high and every time I wear them, people comment on how unique they are.

Mark my ballot as “Love.”

Black Friday Weekend Vegas Recap

I spent Thanksgiving alone.

Well, minus the dog.

While that may sound sad, the reality is that Spouse lovingly took the kids to celebrate with his family – a three hour road trip each way – and left me behind so that I could wake up bright and early on Black Friday for a weekend girls’ trip with my friends J. and B.

Thanksgiving for me included gym time, dog walking, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, online shopping, wearing zero makeup, packing my bag and Chicago-style pizza.

J., B. and I met up the next morning and celebrated the start of the weekend in the airport lounge.

Pure happiness, I tell you.

Our rooms at the Cosmopolitan Hotel had amazing views.

First stop:

When I heard about this new bar at Caesar’s, I wanted to go. While Dame Lisa herself was not there, the cocktails did not disappoint.

We just missed the transition from fall-to-winter with the Bellagio floral displays.

There were roses treated to have a metallic effect:

The holidays were in full swing at Tiffany:

This tiny diorama was a window display:

I did a wee bit of personal shopping.

Other highlights of the weekend included brunch at Giada, truffle nachos (!!!) at Ghost Donkey – a secret speakeasy hidden within the Cosmopolitan, the bawdy stage show “Opium,” and some really excellent spa treatments at the Spa at the Cosmopolitan.

This was my first stay at the Cosmopolitan, and I will be back. The hotel gym was top notch, as was the spa and the myriad dining options. The fountain views from our balcony rooms were arguably better than the Bellagio’s. We had room service and the menu was both extensive and exactly what we wanted when we wanted it.

Only complaint: the weekend passed too quickly.

Cheers, Vegas! See you next time.

Rothy's Limited Edition Loafers

I finally bit on Rothy’s.

If you’re not familiar, they are a sustainable shoe brand whose products are made from materials like recycled plastic bottles.

One selling point is that they are machine washable.

While Rothy’s have achieved cult status with some of my friends, I wasn’t tempted enough to dive in until I saw these limited edition pink gingham loafers.

They also come in red or brown check, but pink gets my heart every time.

While these babies are going to be shelved until snow season is over (i.e., mid-2020 at the earliest), I’m patient.