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camel and plaid

Coat: Old Navy | Shirt: J.Crew Factory | Belt: Old Navy | Bag: Madewell | Jeans: LC for Kohls | Loafers: Cynthia Rowley via TJ Maxx

I saw this on a meme once: Brace yourself, winter is coming. 
(Kidding. My tv repertoire may be made up of awful reality shows but I'm not a complete TV turd. I know that is from Game of Thrones.)

Winter has arrived in DC which you would never be able to tell but these pictures. I snapped these on Saturday when it was a crisp 65 degrees out. I put on the hat for good measure and not even out of necessity. And today, DC residents are stocking up on their wine and are ready to batten down the hatches in preparation for Winter Storm Jonas which much to my dismay has nothing to do with Nick Jonas (swoon). Since Aaron and I are suffering enduring enjoying following the Whole30 this month so we had to pass the wine isle to stock up on almond butter, fruits, and eggs. Should be a fun weekend to be snowed in...

Since winters arrival has been so delayed this year, I've been able to get by with west-coast-winter-chic. For all your east coasters, that translates to light layers like a light coat, perhaps a long sleeve shirt, a scarf for good measure (and style), and exposed ankles. Truly, if you ever need to know where someone is from, peep their ankles. People from cold weather regions know better than to wear cropped pants in January. But I love a good cropped jean with flats or booties and a little exposed ankle. Oh, and a beanie. I love me a good beanie. The only way my inner San Francisco could shine brighter would be if I paired this look with a leather jacket. Swoon, again.

&& I miss that style. A lot. Just like I miss California a lot. 

But I feel myself (and style) evolving. This evolution that I've tried to ignore became abundantly clear this week when Aaron and I talked about a potential job opening for him back in the Bay Area. I thought that I had been waiting for this moment for years (well, frankly since we moved) and instead of fantasizing about heading back west, I paused. Is a path back to California the right one because it is what we want or because it is what is safe and comfortable? It could very well be the latter.

I am so proud of the person I am because of growing up in San Francisco and California that I thought if I had the chance to move back, I wouldn't miss it for the world. But this opportunity to think about the next step in our lives forced me to reflect on the past (almost) five years in DC. And boy, has it been an adventure. The experiences I've had, and more importantly, the people I have met (and been blessed enough to call friends!) have shaped me into a newer version of myself. Nicole 2.0 if you will. I'm still the same person but with some new layers and features ;) And perhaps, this newer version should continue her growth somewhere other than DC or San Francisco. Or perhaps it is this time away from your home and safety net that allows you to grow and bring back the best version of yourself when you do return home.

All of this reflection was simply an exercise. We're not moving tomorrow or the day after that or maybe even for a few years after that. But it was nice exercise in appreciating the path I'm on, looking at my personal evolution and seeing what constants have stayed true.

Like beanies, exposed ankles, and a longing for leather jackets year round. Those hints of San Francisco haven't changed, and I hope they never do