You know that one friend who is your Most Awesomest Friend (MAF)? The one who gets you better than anyone else, who you’ve laughed to tears with countless times, who knows all your weirdnesses and still somehow wants to be your friend? It’s kind of pressure (self-induced, of course) to write about this person! I guess that’s why I’ve procrastinated doing this post since I had the idea in December when I visited my MAF, Robyn, in Miami for Art Basel.
Robyn and I met in—let’s keep it vague and say the ’90s—in Boulder, Colorado. I had just graduated from college and was looking to postpone the type of responsible life expected of a college graduate. My strategy was copious skiing and menial jobs as a server and caretaker of other peoples’ children. I wound up a hostess at a Mexican restaurant called La Estrellita where I met Robyn: hair below her waist, piercing blue eyes, and crushes hurled at her from every direction. She trained me in the complexities of smoking versus non-smoking seating wearing bangles the length of her forearm before anyone had said “arm party” and long floral skirts way before I’d heard the term “maxi.” Robyn, as she tells the story, determined immediately we’d be friends, and that we’d make regular visits to The Dark Horse, an extremely inexpensive Boulder drinking establishment (which, wow, is still there! Also: we did!).
We both moved away from Boulder
ages a few years ago, but our love of each others’ comedic antics, those of our fellow humans (intended or not mhmhm) and (especially) those of cute animals seems to have soldered a permanent friendship that I couldn’t be more grateful for. All this despite my penchant for blindingly white headbands and Robyn’s insistance on carrying an unattractive backpack.
Our most recent escapade, as I mentioned, was Art Basel Miami Beach last December. I’ve been attending regularly for the past several years, and I’m not sure what’s my favorite: the art or her lovely house, which you get a glimpse of in the slideshow. We planned our outfits weeks (months?) in advance, and Robyn looked so great for the myriad art shows and parties we attended that I wanted to commemorate it all with a post. She was not carrying her backpack. But she was about to find the thing necessary: a graduate program in social work at Barry University awaited (she still runs her own business as a publicist in Miami). So now she carries her books on her back. In the thing you will see below.
Anyway, now that the first semester is almost over, I’m finally posting. And since I have no hope of doing this young lady justice, I will just let her speak for herself:
1. How do you approach style as a publicist and woman running your own business?
Hmmm…well, I love style and fashion, but I’m definitely not obsessed (like some people I know!). I suppose my style sense goes from one extreme to the other. I tend to keep it simple and wear lots of t-shirts, dresses and skirts with Havaianas and Toms shoes. But for events, I like to get dressed up. Even when I’m wearing something basic like a “wife blesser” (thank you for that term Ned Flanders) and jeans, I always try to wear interesting accessories and shoes. As a matter of principle, I never wear jeans to a meeting out of respect for my clients, even if they wear them, and I always make sure my nails look nice for a meeting or event. I once read an article about the perception of groomed nails in business, and I’m afraid it’s stuck with me ever since.
3. What made you want to go back to school?
I’ve worked in PR for the last 10 years, and it’s been great to me. PR is a wonderful career with a lot of opportunities for women. The field is largely dominated by women. But I studied anthropology as an undergrad and always wanted to get back to the social sciences. I’m getting a master’s in social work but it’s part-time, so not much has changed work-wise and I will probably always have a PR role in my life. It’s my personal policy to only represent clients I feel aligned with, so I thoroughly enjoy helping them reach their goals.
4. Are you excited? Are you nervous about the big change in your life being a student again will be?
I am so excited! From the first day of class it has been truly thrilling, and I am in heaven to be back on campus again. Not much has changed. It all looks and feels the same. In fact, I brought my laptop to class and both of my professors that day said there was a “technology ban” in their classes. Old school. The only thing I have noticed that is different now is my hand hurts after a page or two of actual handwriting versus typing or texting. Try writing for a couple of pages and see what happens. It’s painful!
5. As a student, what are your outfit staples?
I actually dressed up for my first day of classes! It felt like a special occasion, and I have a lot of respect for the university tradition so I wore boots, jeans and a ruffly blazer. I will probably wear a lot of jeans with cute tops, and dresses in the summer. It is so hot here! Most of the students dress pretty sharply. The dean of the school of social work did mention during orientation that one student was reprimanded last semester for repeatedly wearing pajamas to class. The comment elicited a few chuckles, but my immediate thought was that she was probably in some type of crisis and needed help. I guess I am meant to be a social worker! And much to Stylenik’s certain chagrin, I am rarely seen without my High Sierra backpack these days. After a few days of hauling around textbooks, fashion got the axe in the bag department, I’m afraid.
6. Your house is so adorable, what’s your decorating philosophy?
Aw, thanks! My house was built in 1941 in an “Old Florida” beach bungalow style, and I was fortunate enough that some beautiful pieces like lamps and cocktail sets came with the house. The owners were sending the stuff to the thrift store when I intervened. I love to mix old and new pieces, and when I see something in an antique or thrift store that strikes me, especially a painting or tchotcke, I don’t hesitate. I love art and the walls are covered. This house kind of decorated itself though. It is my favorite space I’ve ever lived in.
7. Any beauty secrets you’d care to divulge?
I’ve always taken care of my skin, but the main one is I NEVER go outside without moisturizer with SPF and I wash my face and put something on, even just a toner, before bed. I don’t get too crazy about it, but the sun is the big one for me. My mom always used moisturizer and I got the habit from her. She has the most beautiful skin of anyone I know.
8. How do you like to relax?
I love to go on walks or ride my bike at night, I always have music on in my house, and for true relaxation, I do love spas. Yoga and dance are also great, and laughing is important to me. Arrested Development episodes can be very therapeutic.
9. What do you love most about living in Miami?
Truth be told, I am more of a tree/land/park person, and it is a bit sprawl-ish down here which gets to me sometimes. But the things I deride about Miami are always ultimately the things I love about it. One day I’ll see something and I’ll have to smile and say “only in Miami.” A friend recently posted a pic on Facebook of a pick-up truck on I-95 carrying about three-stories of mattresses tied down with just a bungee cord or two. That made me laugh. And the other day I saw an old man downtown smoking a cigar and wearing a t-shirt that said “ni entiendo,” which roughly translates to “I have no idea” in the Nintendo logo sign. I laughed and he smiled. It’s a crazy place, you just have to embrace it. The food is great, especially if you like Latin food. And the art scene is getting truly awesome.
10. When are you coming to San Francisco again??
I hope soon!! I miss you!!!