Next Big News

So the news is out.

As of June 12th my feet and toes will hopefully begin a long and arduous process (metamorphosis?) of returning to look like, well, feet and toes – as opposed to what they currently are: nubs; gnarled, veiny things that are sometimes just as painful as they appear.

No more! Goodbye callouses. Hello pedicures. Lots of them.

But all silliness aside, I’m 25 days away and it’s getting real people.

I can feel the emotional water-level rise with every day that seems to melt away like the snow on our Northwest mountain ranges. And I know that the closer I get to the finish line the faster those days will seem to slip through my fingers. It’s like trying to hold a rushing river. Yeah. Doesn’t really work.

And it’s easy to get swept away by Emotion’s swift current. One moment I’m excitedly thinking to myself “Well that’s the last time I’ll have to deal with that!” and then the next my eyes are watering up with hot tears. There are just so many things I’m going to miss.

So if there’s one thing I could ask for over the next 25 days are you prayers. Prayers that I don’t get swept away. Prayers that I can be as present as possible, savoring each moment of this gift I’ve been given. Prayers for a heart that overflows with gratitude and joy no matter how hard it is or how much pain I’m in. Because Balanchine’s Square Dance is not easy. My toes can attest to it.

Okay enough of the serious stuff…

“So… What’s next?” 

I can’t tell you how often I get asked this question. And I’m not gonna lie, I often struggle with knowing how to answer it.

But here’s one answer: Europe!

Ryan and I are traveling with my mother and father-in-law to Italy. It’s their first time and literally a dream come true for my mother-in-law. We’re so excited!

We’ll spend 10 days exploring Florence, the Cinque Terre & Venice, eating incredible food, visiting Ryan’s best friends Brad & Sylvia and swimming in the Med. Then it’s Ryan’s turn to cross off one of his bucket list destination: Corfu, Greece. Just he and I will be getting away for a week of Adriatic beach time and sunshine, while Mike and Carolyn (my in-laws) explore a little more of Tuscany and Rome.

Bucket list for the McEliece’s. Check. But what about mine?

Here’s my next big news: I’ll be having an extended European vacation. Sika’s Solo Adventures.

Yes. You read the right. Solo. For almost 3 weeks.

Excited? Nervous? Overwhelmed? Absolutely!

And have I already started to pack? Maaaybe… More like dreaming, or er, well distracting. Pretty things always soothe a sad heart. Check out my itinerary and outfit ideas below:

For the plane ride… A very LONG plane ride…

One word: Comfy. I need to thank the person who made it fashionably acceptable to wear sweatpants once again. These joggers from Gap are the perfect blend between pant and pajama. The New Balance sneakers are my all-terain vehicle so to speak. And planes are always freezing! This Zara sweatshirt will come in very handy.

Finding Florence

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I’m trying really hard this trip to pack light. Clearly this blog post is quite contrary. But there are two items that are actually essential (and my husband demands I adhere to them): a small(ish) cross body purse & good shoes. I’ve had my eye on this bag from Anthropologie for quite a while. And strangely enough the best summer walking shoes I’ve found are, wait for it… Old Navy Sandals. No support but so nice on those cobblestones!

Hiking Cinque Terre

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I tried hiking this in a romper, bikini and flip flops last year. Not the best idea I ever had. This year I’ll come prepared.  Lightweight plaid shirt from Old Navy & shorts & tee from J-Crew Factory.

And we’ll definitely be doing a little sun-bathing too… Cover-up & bikini via Anthropologie & shades from Free People.

Exploring Venice

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Venice. It’s truly enchanting. And while it’s a tiny island they sure do jam pack the people in! Closed-toed shoes make me feel a little better about the pigeon poo & lagoon water and offer a little more support when you clock 15mi in search of Venice’s best gelato. No joke. We did this. Moccasins by Minnetonka & shirt & shorts by J-Crew Factory.

Swimming in Corfu

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Ryan’s grandpa Ray traveled all over the world with Boeing. And when Ryan asked him of all the places he went to where he’d like most to return he answered “Corfu.” Ray went home to be with Jesus this December and so Ryan and I are really excited to explore this island that captured his heart, while spending some time together relaxing. Most likely on a beach. There’s a beautiful one just right outside our hotel. Swimsuit & Hat from Anthropologie. Shades from Urban Outfitters.

Roaming in Rome

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My Roman Holiday. I’ll confess. Rome was never on my list. I’m serious. And yet the more I thought about which cities (that I’d never been to) I’d like to get lost in – Rome kept popping up. Maybe it’s just that I subconsciously want to be Audrey Hepburn… This linen jumpsuit seemed fashionable yet comfortable enough to walk around this ancient city. And it, along with a scarf or this kimono (all the rage lately!) solves the church dilemma – having your knees and shoulders covered when visiting. Learned that one the hard way last year…

Poised in Positano

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I first heard of this place when I was, I don’t know, 11?, watching Only You with Marisa Tomei & Robert Downey Jr. They take this magical drive along a perilous coastal road in a convertible to Positano situated snuggly between the rocks & sea. It’s a bit of a glitzy resort town, but I’m okay pampering myself a bit. Forget the LBD for dining out. I’m all about red! Found this little red dress at Zara along with the sandals too. The clutch is from Anthropologie. Surprise, surprise!

Playing in Prague

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 Prague has been on my bucket list for years. I can’t wait to meander along the streets admiring all the untouched architecture of this beautiful city. I might even catch a classical concert! For an outfit that will transition nicely from day to night, I found these delightful culottes? gauchos? Not sure what they are other than comfy. And I thought I’d pair them with a slight crop top because, well, I’m still young enough to get away with it. The sandals are from Zara, and I’m obsessed with this Cameo Ring I found on Etsy.

Celebrating in Sardinia

Cityscape, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Lastly Sardinia… Cagliari & Villasimius to be exact. Part city. Mostly beach. My two objectives: a scouting mission for me and Ryan’s next vacation (as this island has our names written all over it!) and place to reflect on and blog about this trip. And nothing says “Jessika” than a great dress and scarf. The off-the-shoulder look seems to be as popular right now as the kimono. But I couldn’t decided between the chambray and the red eyelet! Both are so darling from Ann Taylor Loft. And a great scarf can add a pop of color and double as a shawl for the evenings.

It’s gonna be the trip of a lifetime. I’m excited to have so much time, just me and my Papa God, to explore His beautiful and diverse creation, celebrate all the work He’s done and is doing, and talk and dream together about the future. And hopefully I’ll return with a better idea of what the long-term “What’s next” is.

I’ll keep you posted!

Slow Saturday

The light filters in through the blind-slatted windows.
I finally opened them.
And stripped the sheets.

From the percussive pitter-patter I hear outside I gather that the clouds finally decided to drop a little weight. And I’m even more glad I made my rounds to the University Farmers Market earlier than later.

Sitting on the couch in my lounge clothes – and by “lounge clothes” I mean clothing acceptable for outdoor wear but are really glorified pajamas – I sip my tea with my laptop exactly where it should be. On my lap.

My eyes resembling the blinds, go back and forth between the various web pages I have pulled up on my computer and Pride and Prejudice that plays on the TV. The five-hour version.

This is what I do when I’m sick…
Sip tea, browse online, and watch shows I’ve seen a dozen times. And I’m not exaggerating. At least a dozen. I could recite this entire mini series by heart.

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written.
I’ll save you the apologies and excuses because by now you’ve read them all.

Many posts are a brewin’ like the tea in my hand. But, well, they’re not quite ready to be “sipped,” as it were.

So for now I’ll leave you with photos from the past couple months as well as some of the pretty things I’ve been searching to brighten this slow Saturday.

Best pal since kindergarten’s baby dedicated. Whoa.

 

Thanksgiving brussel sprouts above & dinner dates at DERU Market.

 

My baby brother’s composition for Price Suddarth’s Signature, premiered in November by Pacific Northwest Ballet

 

 

O Christmas Tree O Christmas Tree & Pretty presents all tied up with string -ish
A New Nutcracker. My husband, parents, siblings & niece came to see me return to the stage after knee surgery this summer. Thankful for a sis who’s a professional photographer!
New do for a New Year!

 

Positano, IT. Perfection.
Below are Kayak & Air BnB – been using these apps a lot lately.
Corfu, Greece. A place we will one day visit just not sure when.
Some screen shots of a rental in Santorini I’m dreaming of for this summer -“dreaming” being the operative word.
Click on the photos to go to their links. And a special thanks to my sister-in-law Kelsey Cappelletti of Kelsey Jo Photography for the beautiful photos backstage during Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. To visit her website click on her photos above. She’s incredibly talented!

 

Mad over the Madding Crowd

This movie.
Yeah I need to just buy it already. It’s gotten to that point.
Like I think this past week I’ve watched it at least once a day… sometimes twice. I’ve already paid for half of it in Redbox rental fees. But I seriously can’t help myself.

I’m completely and utterly obsessed Far From the Madding Crowd.
ALL of it.

The music. The setting. The characters. The story. I’ll go in to that in a second post – don’t want you to O.D. on it just yet.

But oh the clothes!
With fall already here, I’m almost excited to exchange my flip-flops for boots and my tank tops for oversized nubby sweaters.
The costume designer for this film was/is a genius! The colors, textures, and natural fibers she used to outfit the cast are in a word, yummy. If clothes can be described as yummy…?
Even Matthias Schoenaerts, who plays the strong and meek Gabriel Oak, has an enviable wardrobe. Makes me want to pull out Ryan’s big vintage Pendleton sweater and pair it with some jeans & a huge scarf.

Below I’ve included some potential current day outfits, curtesy of Anthropologie, J-Crew and a few of my favorite Etsy finds, inspired by this gorgeous film.
And if you haven’t seen this film yet, take a look at the trailer posted below and see if you’re not inspired too! More to come I promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/210150204/oversized-wool-coat-storm-flap-coat-army?ref=favs_view_17

 

 

*You can find the link to each sartorial item by clicking their image. 
**All other productions stills from Far From the Madding Crowd were found via Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts‘ fan sites, linked here by clicking their names.

Summer Preparations

I need to figure out a better system for this.

It’s a glorious day here in Seattle.
I mean GLORIOUS.
It really doesn’t get better: pushing 80˚F, with a slight yet constant breeze that keeps the sweat from pouring out… unless of course you’re sitting in a car, because let be honest, no one has (or knows how to operate) AC in their car here in Seattle. You need it, oh, about five times a year…
So since I have this week off I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll write. The problem is, the lovely coffee shop just down the street from our apartment is 100% engulfed in shade. Yeah. That’s a no-go. It’s practically a sin to miss out on the golden deliciousness of sunshine and vitamin D that we Seattleites so desperately need.
I grab my coffee and continue down to Cowen Park, one of the many hidden gems we’ve discovered in our neighborhood, to park it on a bench. I find one with surprising ease. I guess it is a weekday.
And then I sit there.
Squinting at my computer screen. Scribbling with my finger on the mouse pad I search in vain for the itty, bitty black arrow that roams invisibly on my screen.
No internet.
The battery icon reads a rapidly declining 34%.
I very nearly throw in the towel and slam the laptop screen shut.
Like I said, I need to figure out a better system for this.
A LOT has happened the past few weeks since I last wrote.
This post would be far too long to include even a summery of those events. Not to promote any further procrastination, but I’ll have to save them for their own perspective blog posts. To bullet point them (as I’m oh so tempted to do), would be an outright injustice.
So you might be wondering what this posts about anyway, now that I’ve rambled on and on and on… honestly, are you surprised? Haha!!!
I’ve decided that I’m gonna keep it light. The suns out, the shades are on, and I’m ready for SUMMER!!! And six weeks from today my hubby and I will be hopping on a plane to finally go on our long awaited honeymoon. And where might that be?
CROATIA!!!!
To be more exact, the Dalmatian Coast. For two whole weeks! I feel like a little kid counting the days till Christmas. And I’ve already got my packing list started. Haha… okay it’s more like my adult Santa wish list…
But I guess that’s it for now. Gonna have to wait till I have the interwebs so I can download some pics… My task now? To work on that base tan. Haha!
Cheers!
You can find most of these items at my the website of my future employer… haha! Or just go to an Anthropologie store. Others were found via the vast wonderfulness of Etsy with some of the lovely shoe options brought to you by Zappos and Amazon.
I buy my jeans at… wait for it… Sears! Land’s End Canvas brand are so outrageously affordable and they fit better than any designer jean I own. And the must-have maxi dress I found at Forever 21.
Can’t you just picture me zipping around the croatian coastline on a little Vespa in these outfits?! AHHHH!!!
If only… 🙂
Doesn’t hurt to dream!

Etspiration!

Well I think the title says it all, that is if you can decipher my made-up word.
I don’t know if any of you have ever checked out the links on my sidebar titled “Friends and Favorites” (if you haven’t you should). Well let’s say, hypothetically, you went over and clicked on The inspiration (of course don’t do this till after you’ve read the whole post)… You’d be instantly transported to a magical site- one where handmade and vintage goodness abound.
Basically an indie ebay, Etsy is a host site for individual “boutiques” if you will – people’s personal stores that feature either handmade, homemade or vintage goods. And good they are!
You could spend hours (and by you I mean I) browsing “suggested shops” in search for the perfect cardigan, painting, headband… well, you name it. Etsy’s sure to have it! And everything (for the most part) is quite reasonably priced. So in the click of a mouse you could have an outfit that might easily be mistaken for one that came from The addiction, but that cost considerably less coin.
And since recently I’ve been stuck at home, due in part to snow and injury (not my injury but my sweet Momma who broke her foot), without homework to do I’ve found myself browsing quite a bit. Here are the things I’m salivating over…

Sigh.
Well, a girl can dream right?
Thank you Etsy and all the amazing virtual “shop keepers” that find and create all these beautiful works of art… Okay the Pelican t-shirt is hardly a work of art, but the Tranquility Band… now that’s true craftsmanship! To find these items and much much more click on the links below. And I hope Etsy inspires you too!

Surprises

This week I’ve been surprised by receiving two packages in the mail – purchases I made online long ago that I’d forgotten about and then… SURPRISE! They’re there sitting at my front door waiting to just pop out of their box. In general I’m not a fan of surprises. I’m a planner. I like to not only know what’s coming, but have sufficient time to prepare for it as well ( a very realistic view/outlook on life…). Surprises annoy me. Well, that is, they did. I think I’m kind of warming up to surprises now – even if I’m the one surprising myself.

So here’s surprise number one:

A beautiful chiffon dress by Mara Hoffman from Gilt.com

But with all these surprises I realize I need to do some Spring – wait… Fall closet cleaning. Particularly purging it of dresses. This tasks inspires the wretched feeling that accompanies actual retching/purging, akin to nails scratching a chalkboard, but it must be done. I’m running out of hangers.

Found!

So do you remember that outfit I told you about in Childhood Grown Up? The one Mary Lennox wore in The Secret Garden that I was swooning over… the jumper, black tights and oxfords?

Well I found it! The grown up version that is…
The only thing I wish is that the jumper were that great yellowish green. This one’s more yellowy cream. Oh well… it’s still cute.

The Jumper.

See by Chloé. Found at Gilt.com but I’m sorry to say it’s sold out. Bummer.

The Blouse.

This one I found at the inspiration. It’s an oh so sweet vintage version that’s much more cost effective. Buy it here.

This one I found at the addiction. It too could work, although with the jumper straps, the neck line might pose a problem. Regardless, it’s very cute and on sale too! Buy it here.
Otherwise you could really just go with the blouse the jumper’s already paired with. Although that one is definitely not sale priced… But I guess if it’s on Gilt.com it technically is…

The Shoes

I found both pairs at Urban Outfitters. Option A with a heel, Option B with a flat. Let your legs decide.

And of course this outfit would not be complete without a thick pair of black tights/leggings. But I think you can manage to find those on your own.

And I am happy. Inspiration come to life. I love it!


Childhood Grown Up

Well I still haven’t downloaded my photos from Vail yet, so y’all will just have to wait a little longer for the Vail “Vacation” posts.

So today before I went to my doctors appointment I made a little stop at the store. Yes. I did leave with a beautiful red-handled bag in my hand. But miraculously I spent less than $35.00! And what did I buy? Take a guess…

August 1st has now come and gone. And this new month rolling full speed ahead brings with it not only the dreaded “Back to School” ads, but also Fall clothing lines. As I walked into Anthropologie today I spied beautiful sweaters, crocheted hats and it made me kind of sad. I’m not ready for summer to be over. Summer’s just begun!
Having lived in Adultland for quite some time now, summer is relative. It doesn’t mean the same thing as it did when I was a little kid. I don’t have 3 months off to run wild in the sun. Nope. Regardless of the sunshine’s status I still have to go to work. It just means that maybe I’ll return a little browner on Monday, since in Adultland (unlike in Childhood) summer really only exists on the weekends.
But seeing these beautiful articles of clothing somewhat softened the blow of reality.
And glancing at the different styles and trends I was reminded of another tie back to Childhood.

The last couple weekends I’ve been out at my cabin I’ve watched the ’93 film version of “The Secret Garden.” I absolutely loved watching this movie when I was a kid, and I still love watching it now. But I have to say I was really inspired my Mary Lennox’s attire.
In one scene she wears this amazingly sweet white blouse with a greenish-yellow jumper, black tights and oxford shoes. Somehow I want to try and translate this outfit from Childhood to Grown Up. I think between the store and the inspiration I can manage this… it’ll just take some digging. And that red knit beret hat! Definitely a must have for Fall!
Below is a clip from this amazing movie – the jumper outfit’s near the end of the clip. Watch it and be inspired.

The photo above was originally found here. The clip can be found here.

Style, Elegance and Grace

Some people like Marilyn Monroe. Others are more partial to Jackie O. And then there are those Hepburns- Katherine and Audrey! I definitely am an Audrey fan. I mean who could not love those big eyes, sweet pixie haircut and gladiator sandals in Roman Holiday? Or the unbelievable Givenchy masterpieces she wore in Funny Face and Sabrina? And she definitely brought a chicness (dare I say sexiness?) to pencil pants, ballerina flats, and tuxedo shirts – as sleepwear of course!

But over the past couple years I have come to find a new fashion muse. She her style was sophisticated and elegant, yet completely effortless. Always put together but never “dolled up,” her beauty was natural and refined. And in all things she not only embodied, but exuded grace. Appropriate then that her name was Grace – Grace Kelly.

A Hitchcockian goddess, a patroness of the arts and a did I forget to mention a Princess, she made white the new “black,” gloves and shades the go-to accessories, and is one of the only women I know who truly knew how to work a strand of pearls.
So below are some classic Grace Kelly looks and possible current day counterparts. I hope this inspires you as much as it inspires me, or at least brings you a deeper appreciation of a woman who was beautiful inside and out.

Work those shades Grace…

So I saw this picture and it almost inspired me to buy this bikini, but then I realized I would never look like that. Bummer.

Maybe Grace would wear this amazing floppy hat by Kokin. Maybe…

 Definitely summer wedding attire inspiration. All this dress needs is a classic double-strand of pearls.

Maybe if I wear this dress by Xeniya or that dress by sarahseven I could catch me a thief, or a Cary Grant. That would be nice…
I have this impulse to take one of these photos, go to the salon and say “Here. I want this.” But me and platinum blonde could be fatal… At any rate, even if I can’t look like Grace I certainly can most certainly imitate her style, presence and grace. 


Wedding Dresses

No… this is not what you think it is.

While one of my guilty pleasures is buying and pouring through Martha Stewart Wedding magazines (you should see my collection!), this post will not be about those beautiful immaculate dresses that every little girl (and old girl…) fantasizes about.
It will be about dresses, weddings and the non-color white.
That doesn’t really sound much different. Let me explain…
So one of my best friends is getting married in a month and 2 days and I am so excited. This means 3 things:
  1. One amazing PARTY!!!
  2. One less friend I can hide behind during the bouquet toss.
  3. One new dress!

You see, being a total dress freak (you should see my closet), it is customary that I purchase a new dress to celebrate the “sending off,” if you will, of each of my good friends from land of “singlehood” to that of “wedded bliss.”

Weddings are full of traditions and this is mine to add to the mix. Feel free to subscribe to it if you like – I won’t mind.
There’s only one drawback to this tradition of mine: My choice of dresses is slightly constrained.
You see this new tradition comes head-to-head with a very strict rule of wedding guest etiquette:

“Do NOT wear white to a wedding.”

I have a problem with this because in summer, there are so many adorable white sun dresses that scream, “JESSIKA! Buy me!” It’s almost as if some inexplicable magnetic force draws me to them. And yet, however cute or flattering they are, they must be axed from the list of potentials.
So here are this years rejects by default, courtesy of Anthropologie a.k.a. my wardrobe supplier.