Play Pretend: Last Weekend of Summer

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

Just daydreaming of a summer that’s back to normal, one where children don’t suffocate playing in masks and parents have back-to-school to look forward to; where salad lunches can be enjoyed indoors out of sweltering heat and where we could travel and roam carefree, where sharing watermelon at baby showers and blowing candles at birthday parties in the park weren’t causes for concern.

I visited my mom and sister today, both working for schools – one in California and the other in Europe – both ending their summers. I asked if my mother has dined out since COVID started, and she has not, foregoing her usual girl dates with fellow work colleagues. I asked my sister if she’s figured out the VISA thing yet what with the consulate being closed and all. She has not, despite having shipped all of her stuff to Spain for the upcoming school year.

Time flew in stillness. We blinked and the break is gone, but the virus remains. I wonder if this really is our new forever.

Hand-in-hand with my day-dreaming are the following few things that exude everything summer represented in my youth, as well as the things I miss dearly about my favorite season of the year.

  1. An inflatable swimming pool set up on backyard concrete and front-lawn grass.
  2. Swimwear that’s a bit retro, and a lot of sustainability.
  3. A pair of sunnies for brighter days.
  4. Striped beach towels for lounging on the strand.
  5. Insurance against sun damage.
  6. A beach umbrella to collect friends under.
  7. A fisherman’s hat, for gathering hair as well as seashells.

Curating Closets: Sunglasses for a Minimalist

This post is written in affiliation with Warby Parker, a revolutionary eye wear company that gives people an alternative for modern, quality specs. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and creative content are my own. 

Eye wear seems to be my thing in 2020. Perhaps it’s the new decade that’s brought a keen awareness towards the need to protect my health. Perhaps it’s the long list of current events. Either way, I’ve been terribly conscious of my waning physicality. I have never been overly zealous in protecting my youth, but suddenly, at the ripe old age of thirty-one, I have become obsessed with it.

Is this what they call a mid-life crisis?

I previously wrote about the need to protect our eyes from the blue light emanating from the screens attached to our hips, like oxygen tanks that we carry around in order to breathe. But let’s be real. I am not wearing my blue-light blockers all day, everyday. Yet we are still exposed to light rays twenty-four seven. Erm, at least, I hope you are still able to get some sun?

My entire life, I’ve found sunglasses to be a nuisance – something too expensive and too easily left behind (or sat on). I have owned very few, and the last pair that I purchased were discounted from when I still worked at a retail store ten years ago. Yes, you heard that right. My last pair of sunglasses was purchased ten years ago.

So I would say it was high time that I finally invested in a pair to protect my eyes. Most important to me was finding sunglasses that I would actually want to wear. Ones that were simple, light-weight, elegant, timeless, and well, minimal. Obviously.

I settled on Warby Parker when I learned of their mission to provide a pair of glasses to someone in need for each pair purchased. I was intrigued by their origin story, seeing as how the inspiration came after a founder lost his sun-specs after a backpacking trip (already relatable) and lamented on the insanely expensive prices of quality sunglasses. Reason being, of course, that the eye wear industry was dominated by a single company that keeps prices high. The rebellious Warby Parker was created as an alternative option for good eye wear at revolutionary prices. They set out to create a personal customer experience while providing exceptional prescription and non-prescription specs. They exude everything I love about a company, so how could I not love them?

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I came across my first Warby Parker store in Newport Beach about a year and a half ago. Back then, I wasn’t interested in buying sunnies. It just so happened to be a storefront within a store next to the Aesop that I frequent. I walked in and was charmed by the different styles and friendly staff. I ended up walking out and forgetting about it.

Earlier this year, we were walking the streets of San Francisco when I entered my second Warby Parker store. I vaguely remembered seeing them before and even picked up a few frames to try on. I found styles that I liked, but I still wasn’t interested in buying glasses. This was in February.

Then, in June, I turned thirty one. I got my first pair of blue-light blockers. I started blinking a lot. The sun hurt my eyes. I got extremely conscious about light – too much light, lack of light, weird lighting in general. I debated whether UV curing lights at the dental office were more harmful than computer screens that I stare at as I type posts like this. I started to think about sunglasses, and why I wasn’t wearing them.

The truth? I don’t have a pair that works for me. I don’t like the one I owned, it didn’t fit my style, and it didn’t work with my lifestyle. If there’s anything I learned about myself, it’s that I use most the things I love dear. As for everything else, I just don’t.

This was around the time I seriously considered buying Warby Parker.

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The thing I love about them is that they give people the option of trying on their eye wear prior to purchasing. Even during this difficult, quarantine life, they allow you to ship up to five frames to your door FOR FREE just so you can try them on. If you don’t like them, simply ship them back within ten days. I literally had five frames in my cart the weekend before we left for Colorado in July when…

We drove by a Warby Parker storefront in Boulder, Colorado. I knew right away that I wanted to walk in. The store was limiting only two parties at a time due to COVID so I waited in the car for five minutes until it was my turn. The staff was incredibly helpful in guiding me towards the right frame for my personality and lifestyle. One thing about me. I am incredibly picky. But when I know I like something, I KNOW. It took five minutes to find the pair I wanted and check out.

I have a narrow, heart-shaped face, but the frames that worked best for me were Wright, Percy, Robbie, and Fisher. The first two were too girly, posh and trendy for me. They were also a tad heavier. The choice came down to the last two. Due to my high cheekbones, the flat, squarish edge to the Robbie ended up accentuating my plump cheeks. I ended up going with Fisher, which is a mix between the Merrick and the ever-popular Raider. There were two color options – a gold frame with colored lenses, or black on black on black. Need I say more?

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These are the lightest pair of glasses I own. I put them away in the case they came with as soon as I’m done wearing them. Hopefully I never sit on them, even though Warby Parker has my back. Scratched lenses and bent frames can be taken to any storefront and they will try to the best of their ability to fix the glasses for you. Luckily, the metal frames on the Fisher are easier to fix than the plastic frames. And lenses with scratches can be replaced completely within a year of purchase.

I don’t wear prescription glasses (yet!) but if you do, no worries! When I went to the store, they had optometrists working who seemed very knowledgeable about eye wear. A few storefronts also offer eye exams, which I think is awesome! It’s your one stop shop.

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If you are on the fence about the price, then I would highly recommend doing a few things.

  1. Try on the glasses virtually here.
  2. Pick a few frames that look good on the app (up to five) and send them your way.
  3. Wear your five frames for ten days. Whichever ones don’t work, send back.

No harm, no foul. Personally, I fell head over heels with Warby. I don’t see any other way.

Gift Guide: Father’s Day

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more. 

I have always had a close connection with the celebration of Father’s Day.  One reason is that I  share the date with my birthday every six years or so, and my dad and I would always celebrate together. The second reason is perhaps related to a similarity to my dear pops and the close relationship that results. When I used to work down the street from my parent’s home, one of my favorite moments of the week was the hour prior to my workday when dad and I used to stand around the kitchen island sipping coffee and talking about whatever. When I first graduated from dental school, I invited my dad to breakfast at his favorite diner and over eggs and a cup of joe, I asked him for finance advice. And when there is trouble brewing between myself and my mom or my sister, guess who the first person I talk to is. That’s right. Dear old dad.

I know there are different types of dads out there, but mine in particular is the great listener type, and provides good, practical advice. He is my number one sounding board. I’m sure many daughters can relate. Still, there are fathers who fill other roles – the errand running type, the babysitting type, the cook for large gatherings type, the adventurer type, the handyman type, the chillax type … well you get it.

For those wishing to shower their fathers with gifts this year, I put together a collection of ideas which can all be ordered online. Just make sure to account for the extra time it takes to ship during these times.

+ A dutch oven for the dad who loves to cook or bake.

+ The most versatile coffee mug and a coffee subscription to match.

+ A pair of sneakers for the errand-running, dog-walking, on-the-go type of dad.

+ A new tumbler for dads who love a good workout.

+ Packing cubes for the frequent flyer or backpacking adventurer.

+ Blue light blockers for weekdays and sunnies for weekends.

+ New speakers for music and movie loving dads.

+ Organic undies for carefree, lounging dudes.

+ Finally, a good night’s sleep, which every dad deserves.

These are my personal picks that I imagine different types of fathers would enjoy.

I hope you find one that suits you.