Happy Campers: A Personal History of Sneakers

CampersI used to be a total jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers girl. But for the past few years, I just haven’t been able to find the ones, you know?

Aside from sparkly pink things with fluffy shoe laces that I’d drag through mud on the farm, the first sneakers I remember specifically wanting were Adidas All-Stars, circa 2001. I was so excited when I finally convinced my mom I needed a pair of them with the silver stripes. Those took me mostly through middle school, even though I hated how they made my feet look when I wore shorts with them.

After looking a little bit clown-footed with the Superstars, I discovered faux skater culture via PacSun in early high school, resulting in some seriously cute white and navy Roxy sneaks that made me feel just edgy enough. Like I was cooler than the Ambercrombie kids because my shoes were so not mainstream. And I could wear them with a skirt to my after-school job at a Mennonite craft shop without feeling overly frumpy.

camper6My Roxy phase was greatly outlasted by what came next: Saucony. First it was the Jazz Originals in olive and black. Then, it was the Bullet in Whisper and Forest Green. Times two. I was in love with these shoes and wore them to the ground, then bought another identical pair.

Those Saucony Bullets were my last real sneaker love. I haven’t found anything to fill their spot in my rotation until now. Behold, the Campers.

I hadn’t heard of Campers until my semester in Spain when someone complimented me on some 14 euro flats I bought at a corner store. She asked me if they were Campers. I didn’t realize how flattered I should be until much later. When a Camper store recently opened in Philly, I thought I’d take another stab at them. But they still felt too expensive and just a little to European for daily wear.

But when we were in Spain, I may or may not have popped into the Camper store in every city we stopped in, until I found the ones. Turns out, they’re cheaper in their country of origin. So, after 7.5 years of wistfully thinking about those fancy Spanish shoes I’d probably never get, I got them. Don’t worry, they were on sale.


Dress: Zara

Shoes: Camper

Necklace: Stitch Prism

Earrings: Sultana Maria

Lunchtime Reads 10.22.14

Lunchtime Reads

Saturday was A Book, A Blanket, A Day Without Work! Did you participate? How did you celebrate? Despite a super stressful week, I was able to spend some time in the park and then curl up with my spiked cider & some Marilynne Robinson for the afternoon. It was perfect. I’ve been really craving a return to printed fiction. Nothing better than pages in my hands.

In spite of that, here’s what I’ve been reading around the web lately. Happy lunchtime reading!

Often, ambition is considered a good thing. But what if it starts to eat at you, whispering that you should do more or work harder and longer?

Do you feel like an adult? Do you think you ever will? Is feeling like an adult a myth?

What do you actually want to do? Being famous or inspirational are not  actual goals. You have to actually do something.

Politeness inspires empathy: “I am often consumed with a sense of overwhelming love and empathy. I look at the other person and am overwhelmed with joy.

“For every well-written bio, there are dozens of mistakes – judgment errors, missed opportunities, wrong intentions. And yet, we press on. We move forward.” If your wrote your real bio, what would it say?

Yes to One Thing, No to Ten

Yes to one thing, no to ten.

In April, when I spoke at the Women in Tech Summit, the panel moderator asked us all what we’d do if we weren’t afraid. The first thing that came to my mind was that I’d say no more. At the time, it seemed like such a novel and revolutionary and original idea. I said something like, “This may sound weird, but…” and then someone in the crowd shouted back “NO! Not weird at all!”

After a total glut of overcommitment this summer, I’m really trying to examine how I’m spending my time and why. I want to make sure I’m leaving time to take care of myself, which includes spending time with loved ones, traveling, writing, and reading books. Leaving time to be spontaneous. Leaving time to learn new skills and get better at what I do.

A few months ago, I saw brilliant and dear Erin Anacker mention that every time you say yes to one thing, you say no to ten other things. It’s stuck with me.

What’s the one thing that sounds fun today, or that I’m committing to just to fill my time, that will inherently prevent me from doing ten other things? What if one of those ten other opportunities was a better fit?

The goal is not to second guess ourselves at every turn, rather to flesh out how to ensure that the ways we’re spending our time align with our goals. It’s to make sure we’re actually doing those things we say we want to be doing, but often get lost in a sea of self-imposed obligations.

What’s worth saying yes to if it means you’re saying no to ten other opportunities?

A Book, A Blanket, A Day Without Work

octoberYou guys, I feel like I am still not back into the swing of things after vacation . . . at the beginning of September. Since then, I’ve been going nonstop with the day job, freelance work, learning opportunities, and meetups. And I need a break.

A few days ago, I tweeted, “Sometime this month I am going to sit down with a book and a blanket and spiked cider and not work for a whole day.” A bunch of people got excited about this idea, and I decided to propose a holiday. So I declare that on Saturday, the eighteenth day of October in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, I will make myself hot spiked cider, curl up with a book, and not work at all. And you can too! It will be called A Book, A Blanket, A Day Without Work. Because that’s all I can come up with. If you have a better idea, feel free to rename it!

I invite you to join me! Tell me about your experience! How did it feel? When was the last time you got to rest intentionally? I want to know! Join me on Saturday, or pick your own day. Share your experience or don’t! No obligations! You do you. Just block out time to give yourself a break — whatever that looks like for you — and enjoy where you are. Enjoy the fall. Enjoy your family. Enjoy some solitude. Enjoy yourself.

Barcelona: Past & Present Dispatches

Barcelona, SpainIn 2007, I spent six months in Spain, and only 36 hours of that in Barcelona. Those 36 hours turned out to be incredibly eventful — long enough to stand outside the Sagrada Familia and wish we could afford the small entrance fee, long enough to get tricked into eating 15 euro frozen-dinner tourist paella, long enough for me to break down and eat the first macaroni and cheese I had in six months at a Hard Rock Cafe, long enough for Chad to lose his debit card and me to get panicky and furious when he wouldn’t let me dig through his bag to help look for it, and long enough for it to become clear why he didn’t want me digging through said bag. Thirty-six hours in Barcelona was long enough to see the most heinously touristy few miles I’ve ever experienced (hi and bye, Las Ramblas), and long enough for 20-year-old Chad to propose to 20-year-old me. It was long enough for me to realize that I had just paid for my engagement dinner of Hard Rock Cafe macaroni and cheese with my mother’s credit card that I was only to use in emergencies.

Barcelona, Spain

This time was much different. We had more than 36 hours, and though our time there was nothing short of spectacular, it was a lot less life-altering. There was less time bickering about lost debit cards and a lot more time spent getting lost in El Born. There was less time wishing we could afford to go into the Sagrada Familia and much more time spent being blown away by its interior.

Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain

Never before in my life have I experienced architecture spiritually. Walking through the Sagrada Familia somehow feels like walking through a sacred forest. They literally had to kick us out at closing time.

Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Familia — Barcelona, Spain

There’s something so magical and natural about the cathedral. It’s highly stylized, yet somehow organic.

La Barceloneta — Barcelona, SpainWe also had time to briefly hit up La Barceloneta and walk towards the Olympic Village. We tried to approximate the spot where Chad proposed, but it was hard to tell. I suspect it may have been along this stretch of beach or a little beyond.

The city itself is full of art and curious nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered. It feels like everyone’s an artist, eager to share their work. Like these two, who hang out by the line to the Picasso museum.

Barcelona, Spain