The Weekly Edit: Blank Space

Sep 9, 2020

August was one of the hardest months of my life.  Every day I woke up vowing to make today better, only to go to bed that night wondering how it all went off the rails.  And chatting with some of you on Instagram, I know I wasn’t alone in thinking that August simultaneously went by too quickly and didn’t disappear fast enough.

But now, it’s September.

All I can do is get through each day, accomplishing as much as I’m able, and offering myself a little grace when I fall short.  Which is the real challenge.  But during these increasingly difficult times, we all need to learn how to be kinder to ourselves.  Our best in 2020 may look very different than years past, but it is enough.

I also just wanted to take a minute to say thank you.  For 12 years, through ups and downs, this blog has been a bright spot in my day.  As I emerge from the Pandora’s Box that was August, I’m thinking of ways to strengthen this community.  So be on the lookout for a series of virtual events starting later this month.

I miss the virtual happy hours that were so prevalent this spring, so I want to create a series of small events where we can get together, drink an Aperol spritz, and have something to look forward to.  If you have anyone you might want to join us as a special guest (Hitha has already signed on, and I’m hoping to pick up a few more), please leave your ideas in the comments.

Getting out of my own head is so important right now.  So I re-read American Royals in preparation for Majesty, the newly released sequel.  It’s the perfect light, escapist reading that I need right now.  If you enjoyed Crazy Rich Asians or the Royal We, this book is right up your alley.

The weather in the Pacific Northwest turned hard towards fall last week.  There is frost on the ground in the morning and a definite chill in the air.  On the one hand, I’m sad that summer is ending.  On the other hand, it makes pandemic fashion so much easier if I can layer cozy pieces for a chic casual look.

The key to pulling off a good work-from-home look is the top layer.  You can put almost whatever you want underneath, and as long as the top layer is rocking, it looks like you made an effort.  Here are some pieces that I’m considering for fall.

BlankNYC makes the best under-$100 faux leather jackets out there.  (It’s why they sell out so quickly.)  But this drape-front, white moto jacket is calling my name.  The neckline is just sublime.  And the garment is hand wash, so you don’t need a dry cleaner.

Need to “hand wash” in your washing machine?  Garments are usually hand wash because they worry about stretching caused by the agitator.  So putting the garment into a large mesh bag, washing on cold, with gentle detergent, in the delicates cycle will usually suffice.

I love a good utility jacket.  My favorite, as you know, is the LL Bean canvas jacket (also in petite and plus).  I like the length, the style, and the wide color selection.  But for a different look, this Reiss Blakely satin utility jacket is a really cool option.  It’s a bit more glamorous and I like the soft taupe color.

This <$30 Amazon cardigan is so good that I bought two, and I may go back for a third.  The cocoon shape is really cozy and chic, and the waffle knit holds its shape beautifully.  If you’re in the market for a cardigan that you can wear until the seams fall out without remorse, this is it.

We’re still not back in our kitchen, so cooking is on hold for a bit longer.  But I wanted to share with you a snack that I’m eating.

Remember when I did that terrible Prolon Cleanse a while back?  One of the valuable takeaways from that experience was eating green olives are as a low-calorie snack.  Because they’re so salty, you’re limited by how many you can eat in a sitting.  Yet, even a small package of olives was so satisfying.

I’m one of those snackers who just needs a pick me up around 3pm.  So a package of Oloves olives has become my go-to.  Just 50 calories and they’re an absolute craving killer.


What’s getting you through the week?  Share your reads, listens, watches, eats, etc. in the comments?  I know I’m looking for more things to brighten my day, and I’m sure your fellow readers are too.

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  1. E says:

    I’m so sorry to hear August was tough! To me, August always seems so long at the beginning and then passes far too quickly. This year it crept by, which was odd. Thank you for sticking with us and for continuing to serve up honest and fun content during these (gestures) times. I feel lucky to be a part of this community!

  2. Aar1 says:

    Stay strong Abra. Seeing the tail end of summer and realizing how much of this year has been lost put a dent in my attitude too. Your daily content is always a bright spot, so thank *you*. I’ve stuck with you since 2012, so thanks for being so consistently great!!

  3. E says:

    Belle/Abra, yep, August was hard and honestly, the weight of 2020 is I think taking its toll on all of us. Been a loyal reader for ages, and am very grateful to you for the consistently excellent content. Hang in there.

  4. Monica T says:

    Is it redundant to say that your blog is one of the things getting me through the week? But it’s the truth, thank you for everything you do!

    The white moto links to Laundress on Amazon but WOW it’s lovely.

    Other things getting me through…
    – I scored a Glo Lit teeth whitening kit at Sephora’s Labor Day sale, because my cold brew coffee habit isn’t going anywhere and some day I will get to smile at my friends again.
    – Away Travel is having a 50% off sale, and I like imagining where I’ll go when we can safely travel again.
    – Buying the tub size of rainbow sprinkles at Sweetapolita to make funfetti cake for my daughters birthday next month.
    – Getting back in my home gym after beating my WFH back pain by just standing at my desk all the time.
    – This reminder: ‘Drink from the well of your self and begin again.’ – Charles Bukowski because I always have to remind myself that everything good I ever did came from inside of me, not outside of me, and what’s outside can augment but not create my reality.

    • Teeth talk says:

      How is the teeth whitening kit? I’d love to see a roundup on teeth whitening – staring at mine on Zoom and it’s not pretty, but am overwhelmed with options and not sure what works without destroying your teeth.

      • Monica T says:

        I’ll definitely report back! I have a dental cleaning today so I plan on starting post polish on clean (but stained) teeth and see how it goes! The kit comes with a shade guide so I should be able to report exactly how many shades better it got. I agree, whether it’s photos or videoconferencing whiter teeth makes a difference.

  5. Anne says:

    Yes! Loved spending my long weekend reading Majesty, Sorry to hear August was tough. If it helps, you made my August better so thank you.

  6. Laura says:

    Even through your darkest days, you provide so many of us light. Hang in there.

  7. Sally says:

    August was definitely a slog, but thank you for reminding me about the American Royals sequel! I had been looking forward to it, but it got lost in 2020 madness, along with everything else.

  8. Jess says:

    If you like Royal We, check out Heir Affair – it came out in July. I just finished the audiobook last week and loved it (trigger warning – there’s a fair bit of infertility stuff and Belle, I know that’s a hard thing right now). Majesty is waiting on my Kindle for me to have a little free time. This year I’ve been trying to go every other with fun reads and ones that are more educational, so Majesty has to wait its turn.

    That cardigan is gorgeous.

  9. Jill says:

    Love your blog, always. Great olives tip, thank you. And love the sweater. I’ve been making a point to try perfume samples lately. I usually save them for travel but that isn’t happening. Feels like too much to use my regular perfume at home but the samples are right. Besides, no worries about offending any office mates who are sensitive to perfume. Monica T,, interested to hear how the Glo Lit works for you. Looks intriguing.

    • MONICA T says:

      For sure! I’ve used the Glo whitening gel on it’s own for years, and I love it for the convenience, value and efficacy without any sensitivity. I’m really excited to see how much the device improves the whitening! They often have sales both on Sephora and from Glo.

  10. Amanda says:

    !!! I did not realize that Majesty coming out was so close and I am so. excited. American Royals was my plane reading for a vacation two years ago and I finished it by the time we made it to the hotel.

    I don’t know about all of you – for me, it feels like finding things, even little things (Mulan coming out on Disney+, a new book on hold at the library) is making a huge difference between coping and really struggling. Glad to add a weekend of re-reading American Royals and reading the sequel to my list.

  11. MM says:

    I’m so sorry August was so hard. If it’s any consolation (it’s not), I had the exact same experience. I don’t think I’ve ever had a tougher month for my mental health in my life. Please know that just like so many other readers, your blog is a meaningful bright spot in even the worst days. Thank you for the space you’ve created here. Here’s hoping September is better.

  12. Lizzie says:

    Your posts are always a bright spot in my day! I hope this month is better for you than August was. I feel about pickles the way you do about olives! A great low cal snack that always seems more filling than it really is. I think the saltiness really helps.

  13. Em says:

    I am so excited for the idea of a virtual happy hour with this community! I am in!

  14. Lindsay says:

    August was rough. This whole year has been rough. This article from Rachel Wilkerson Miller was actually super helpful in breaking my winter dread and thinking about how to be proactive about it step by step: Hang in there. I’m looking forward to the virtual events. I usually don’t do anything online community-ish like that, but I really value what you put out into the world and want to participate.

  15. Shannon says:

    I definitely get it, a lot of the initial solidarity we had has dropped off, and all of the novelty of WFH is fully gone. I’d love to join an event, and if we want a sense of occasion, I’ve been trying for months to get my workmates on board with a virtual art walk where we show off all of our favorite art in our houses because 1) I love art and 2) I am very nosy, and I love looking at peoples’ art on Zoom.

  16. SC says:

    Sorry to hear that August was rough for you, AB! 🙁

    I’m just bummed that summer is officially on the way out. It was 37 in MN this morning and while it’ll be back to 70 next week, I can’t believe another season of the pandemic has passed and we’ll really be homebound in the winter. All the sadfaces.

    To keep us entertained, we’re watching Schitt’s Creek and Cobra Kai on Netflix (both hilarious in their own way), and we just subscribed to Curiosity Stream, which is an all-documentary streaming service through Amazon — addicting!

  17. Laura says:

    August was really rough here too, it seemed to never end. Hopefully it helps a bit to know that your blog helps the rest of us slog through! Love the idea of virtual happy hours. Besides this blog, the only site I read daily is the comics section of the washington post and (kinda a wierd combination now that I think about it, but it brings me joy).

  18. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the Katharine McGee recommendation. I read the first book today and thought i recognized this sentence (page 704) as almost a direct quote from the movie Clueless;

    “You just like doing this [organizing her wardrobe] because it gives you a semblance of control in a chaotic world.” Nina twisted so that Sam could pull up the zipper for her.”

    Excerpt From
    American Royals
    Katharine McGee
    This material may be protected by copyright.

    Anyone else recognize it?

  19. Catherine says:

    Hi Abra,

    Long time reader and silent lurker here. I’m sorry to hear that August was tough for you – it has certainly been a roller coaster of a year. I hope you’re taking more of this time to take care of your self. Thank you for always being honest with us and your authenticity – sharing that you’re not okay really helps others like me, who aresn’t feeling our best – that’s it’s okay.

    I, too, have found my sanity walks in the mornings (and a work out if I’m feeling up for it) – have been my saviour. Sometimes, I have a chat with my BFF if she’s free in the morning, and just that simple interaction of our girl chats just bring a bit of normalcy to both our days.

    I would love for you to bring on some influecers I really admire:
    – Sherry from Save Spend Splurge
    – Jean from Extra Petite
    – Kat from With Love from Kat
    – Susan from Mixed Make-up
    – Dr. Youn – USA’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon
    – Lorry Hill from YouTuber who focus on beauty and plastic surgery
    – Vienna Pharaon from Mindful Marriage Family Therapy
    – Sarah from The Birds Payaya
    – Shang from Save my Cents
    – Liah Yoo founder of Krave Beauty

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