COCO BORDEAUX

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Apt2B: L.A.'s Local Resource For All Your Home Needs

There is a group of people out there in the world that take deep pride in being extremely, overwhelmingly busy. You know them. They are The Busy People, and their answer to innocent inquiries of "How are you?" are met with "Sooooo busy, I can't even talk to you because in the four seconds we've interacted I just received six emails."

Sometimes, a member of The Busy People finds out about this blog. "You must have a lot of time on your hands," they say. This is one of the most disappointing things that someone can say to me, right up there with "I'm sorry, but we are out of cookie dough ice cream" at Baskin Robbins and the recorded American Airlines voicemail telling me my flight has been delayed.

The truth is, we all have the exact same amount of time in a day. How we choose to prioritize and use it is discretionary. In my humble opinion, I think The Busy People are simply lacking either the will or the means to ruthlessly prioritize their time. Quite frankly, we've all got plenty of demands on our time and if we don't have an approach to determine how best to spend it, we'd also be passing judgement on those who make it to yoga while we're combing through our thousandth email.

A few years ago, I read Greg McKewon's Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, and it changed how I thought about (and spent) my time. It helped me to become more disciplined on how I allocated it, and gave me some tactics for making space for things that add value to my life (for example, exercising, snuggling with my dog, dating my husband, or writing this blog).

Here are some of the best time-saving strategies I've found:

My love of (and addition to) eBay started in high school (I was an early adopter, what can I say), and to say that I'm an expert at liquidating my closet assets would be an understatement. Learning to use eBay helped me to refine my style, allowing me to make extra cash selling off things I no longer wore and providing an endless, affordable source of designer pieces. 

Because I've been buying and selling on eBay for so long, I've been able to get the steps to selling down to a science so the time required is minimal. (It helped that business process re-engineering is part of my real job description...) 

Distressed denim is one of those things that I love admiring on other people, but struggle to style for myself. I've accumulated a small collection of (expensive) ripped jeans that have mostly sat on the shelf of my closet because I could never figure out how exactly to wear them in a way that looked classic and put-together (rather than what a grungy teenager might wear when running late to a test).

During the process of turning over my closet for spring, I pulled out this pair of Current Elliott distressed (and patched) jeans and decided to add them to my rotation for the next few weeks, packing them in my carry-on for a 10-day trip that will include a long weekend in San Francisco.

In case you also have a pair or two of torn up old jeans in the back of your closet and are looking for adult ways to style them, I thought I'd share the three ways I'll be wearing these jeans for my upcoming trip. (I should mention that all the other pieces pictured will also be worn with work outfits in order to fit everything into my small duffel bag and honor my ultralight packing manifesto.)


Perfect skin is something I've been trying to attain my entire life, and never had great success even after working with dermatologists and investing in great facials. Then, I read the book written by Beyonce's dermatologist and everything changed: how I thought about skincare, what I used on my skin, and how my skin looked.

If you've got the time, read Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin by Dr. Harold Lancer. It is super technical, a study in skincare backed by science that convinced a nerd like me to completely overhaul my "beauty regime" (soap, water, never heard of night cream, you get the idea). If you don't have the time, just read this full post and you'll get the highlights (figuratively, and literally if you apply the advice...)


My travel schedule is one of the biggest constraints in my life, but I'm convinced that it has helped me to develop better personal style because it forces me to plan ahead and be extremely thoughtful about how I can wear things in different ways. It's also really important to me that I maximize every item that I pack, especially now that I've been limiting myself to carrying only this duffel bag regardless of trip length!

I recently took a 10-day trip that involved both work and personal travel, and one thoughtful reader (hi, Jill!) suggested a post about what exactly to pack into a small duffel bag in order to get through 10 days of work and play. While that full post is under construction, thought I'd share the hardest working item from that trip (that also takes up very minimal room in my bag): a MaxMara crepe wool black dress.


My sister Karen had a baby last week, the first of my siblings to bring a living, breathing human being into existence. Baby Emily also made my parents grandparents for the first time, and me an aunt.  This tiny little person, in the course of 48 hours, showed me what everyone means when they talk about the miracle of life. 

While I logically understood this concept, the spiritual meaning hit me as I witnessed my own sister have the experience. My own sister, who used to sleep on a twin bed next to me and accuse me of trying to suffocate her in the middle of the night to stop her snores. Who taught me pretty much every basic life skill one needs before the eighth grade. Who, as a second grader, helped me to box up all of our doll "clothes" (old baby sleepers, chewed up rattles, and stained bibs that our mom let us play with rather than tossing), wrap them in the Sunday paper funnies, and walk them to Elm School as a contribution to our kindergarten teacher's baby shower. (Damage control kicked in when our mom received a thank you note for the "generous gift" from Mrs. Pomeroy.)

For our family and friends, the world sort of stopped last week as soon as my sister, mom and brother-in-law took up their post at a San Francisco hospital. For hours and hours, the rest of their family and friends states (and countries) away were obsessively checking their phones for updates on whether this new little person had entered the world. I was sitting in a Nashville Marriott at 1 AM texting my mom and sisters for updates (the conversations were pretty much: "[Baby Face Emoji]? [Baby Face Emoji]? [Baby Bottle Emoji]?" or "[Grandma Emoji]?") 

It was the strangest feeling to see a picture of my beautiful niece for the first time, a mix of joy and overwhelming love for this tiny person with so much potential. I couldn't stop looking at the picture and weirdly crying happy tears. She's not even a week old and already has legions of fans who love her and want her to have everything her parents could ever hope for her life. I cannot wait to meet her, hold her, and teach her everything I know (and someday pass down to her this beautiful Dolce and Gabbana dress that I plan to purchase next year... just bringing it full circle, folks). Years ago, a friend gave me a printout called "Life's Instructions" that I loved and still have taped inside the door of my armoire as a reminder. I will give it to beautiful, brilliant Emily once she learns to read next year. Here it is typed up for your reading pleasure: 

Life's Instructions 
  1. Have a firm handshake.
  2. Look people in the eye.
  3. Sing in the shower.
  4. Own a great stereo system (and play music you love often).
  5. If in a fight, hit first and hit hard. [Note to Emily: I lost every fight to your mom because she follows this rule. So does Aunt Patty.]
  6. Keep secrets.
  7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day. 
  8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
  9. Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  10. Whistle. [Note to Emily: I still cannot do this but seem to have turned out OK.]
  11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  12. Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness or misery.
  13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out. [Note to Emily: Grandma Mary does this all the time.]
  14. Lend only those books you never care to see again. [Note to Emily: After you're through the children's classics stage, I will buy you a Kindle.]
  15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
  16. When playing games with children, let them win. [Note to Emily: Grandpa Paul does not believe this rule, which is why no one likes to play Monopoly with him. Or Connect Four. Or Sorry. Really, Family Game Night just never took off at the Kelly house.]
  17. Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  18. Be romantic.
  19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know. [Note to Emily: Your mom, both of your grandmothers, and your late great grandmothers internalized this rule and were wildly popular for that reason.]
  20. Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
  21. Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It's there for our convenience, not the caller's.
  22. Be a good loser.
  23. Be a good winner.
  24. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  25. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go. [Note to Emily: This makes almost everyone in the Kelly family incredibly uncomfortable.]
  26. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born. [Note to Emily: This is very true, but there's still curing cancer that needs to be done and I'm putting that on you.]
  27. Keep it simple.
  28. Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
  29. Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  30. Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets.
  31. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did. [Note to Emily: However, I would be remiss not to mention that Grandma Mary is a believer in calculated risks. Jump in with both feet, but always wear a life jacket.]
  32. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. 
  33. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  34. Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
  35. Visit friends and relatives when they are in the hospital; you need only to stay a few minutes.
  36. Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
  37. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  38. Send a lot of Valentine's cards. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you're terrific.'
  39. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice. 
  40. Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table. Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 am.
  41. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  42. Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later. [Note to Emily: This is a photo of your great grandmother with flowers your mom sent to her just to be sweet. Your great grandmother asked me to take this photo so we could show your mom how pretty they were. I didn't know it at the time, but the day I took this photo was the last time I saw her before she passed away.]
  43. Make someone's day by paying the toll for the car behind you. [Note to Emily: This is an old list, and tolls are automated these days. I suggest doing this for the person behind you in line for coffee, or taking a homeless person to McDonald's like Grandpa Paul likes to do.]
  44. Become someone's hero. 
  45. Marry only for love.
  46. Count your blessings.
  47. Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
  48. Wave at the children on a school bus. [Note to Emily: Your mom and I used to sit in the seat  that faced directly out the rear of our parent's 1986 Crown Victoria station wagon and wave at everyone while simultaneously doing impressions of Nickelodeon's 'Ask Ashley' and ignoring Grandpa Paul.]
  49. Remember that 80% of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  50. Don't expect life to be fair.
  51. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up. 

(Please let me know if there is anything else that The World's Greatest Aunt should add to this list to help Emily have the most amazing life possible...)

One of the most common questions I get when I tell people about this no new things challenge is: "What are you going to do when the spring comes?" The truth is, spring and summer dressing was so far from my mind when I committed to this challenge back in December that there wasn't really a plan for the warmer months. However, I've given it a lot of thought and realized that I own warm weather alternatives for most of my cold weather staples. I've started a list of these "alternatives" and have been starting to brainstorm fresh ways to style them to keep myself on track.

I've been living in leather leggings all winter, and will miss them when it warms up. The springtime equivalent of leather leggings is the leather pencil skirt and I already own one! I've spent some time thinking about how to style my leather pencil skirt, and came up with some fresh outfits using the same rules I've been applying to their leggings counterpart: