Welcome to So Many Thoughts, a semi-weekly newsletter about royal style and the other parts of life I want to think through with you. You can subscribe here. Thank you!
I have been thinking a lot lately about New York, a city that will forever be a part of me. With the twentieth anniversary of September 11th this weekend and New York Fashion Week in full swing, my social media mentions have been filled with love letters to the Big Apple. Each one pulls at me, reminding me that New York has an energy and vibrancy that are unmatched. The formative decade I spent living there made me who I am, dreaming bigger dreams than I ever thought possible. You have to want to live there. When you leave it never leaves you.
Four years ago, when we said goodbye to New York and moved to the San Francisco suburbs, I resolved to return.
So when my husband, Matt, and I began telling people that we were moving to Los Angeles this summer, we were greeted with a chorus of: Wait, what?
Which, to be honest, was totally fair. As the pandemic dragged on, I had begun making actual plans to move back to New York. We were bursting at the seams of our small Bay Area home — something had to change. I started obsessing over real estate listings, talking to friends who lived in the city’s suburbs, even blocking out dates on a calendar for a house-hunting trip.
And then my dad had...thoughts. Late this spring, once he was fully vaccinated, he came for a long-awaited visit. One night he asked how our plans to move back to New York were coming together. Something about having to articulate it gave me pause. The New York I was chasing was from my younger, child-free days. That wasn’t the life we would return to now, with three kids in tow. I realized there were still a lot of questions about where we would live and what life would look like.
My dad, sensing my own doubt, asked: “Is there anywhere else you would want to live?
“I mean, the only other place we would consider is Los Angeles,” I said. “But that’s a distant second.” He pried, in the way only a parent could, about the possibilities there. “Well,” I began, trying to recall what our LA-based family and friends had shared about raising kids in the sprawling city. Their lives seem so full, their families are thriving. Professionally, LA had so much to offer both Matt and myself, too. Several women I deeply admire — working moms in creative fields — lived in Los Angeles; I had been craving those connections.
By the end of the conversation, my dad was convinced that Los Angeles would be a great fit for us. And here was my “Wait, what?” moment. My dad thought I should live in LA? Seriously? No. No! Thrown by this turn of events, I spat out: “It’s too far from you, Dad.” Which is true. California feels a world away from him and my sisters in the Midwest. But both New York and Los Angeles require a plane ride to visit, he reminded me. Did it really matter how long of a flight?
The rest is...well, a blur! Matt had his own “Wait, what?” reaction when I recapped my dad’s verdict. Having lived in LA twice before, he was game to take me on a “Should we live here?” tour of the city. We traversed a dozen neighborhoods and began house hunting so I could get a better sense of the possibilities. By the end of the long weekend, I was sold.
And now we live here! Which is wild. If you had told 20-something Elizabeth, or even grown-up-mom-of-three me just a year ago, that I would live in LA — and be very excited to live in LA — I never would have believed you. A friend called her own move the “pandemic plunge,” which is exactly how this feels.
As someone who tends to be quite rigid in her thinking, who prides herself on making a plan and sticking to it, I’m proud of myself for being open to this pivot.
BUT MOSTLY: Do you have a “Wait, what?” move in you? To be clear, it does not need to be an actual move. But is there something in your life you could rethink? Another option you could try? Something unexpected, maybe, that could be a source of joy?
For what it’s worth, I think this absolutely applies to fashion, too. I’ve talked on Instagram and elsewhere about how Princess Diana’s surprise-and-delight approach to royal fashion has inspired me. Her more-is-more style goes against my minimal tendencies — but it is *so fun* to really go for it every once in a while. I look back on the dress I wore for my book’s virtual launch party last fall — puffy sleeves, rhinestones, a semi-sheer bodice! — and smile. Wait, she wore what? Yes, yes I did. What about you?
PS I reserve the right to move to New York at any time. Gosh, I love that city!
SMT Royal Recap
The Queen supports the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the first Black Lord-Lieutenant for London, Sir Ken Olisa. A spokesperson for BLM UK said, “We were surprised to learn the Queen is a BLM supporter. But we welcome anyone that agrees with our goal of dismantling white supremacy. Of course, actions speak louder than words.” (Guardian)
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have hired Mandana Dayani as Archewell’s first chief operating officer. Dayani is well-known in LA circles, having founded the “I am a Voter” campaign. Very excited to see what she does with Meghan and Harry! (Fortune)
New pictures of a pregnant Princess Beatrice emerged this week when she stepped out for a charity meeting. The Queen’s granddaughter is expecting her first child with her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. (People)
Five Things That Caught My Eye
Read: New York Magazine has an incredible package marking the twentieth anniversary of September 11th, including reflections by writers who covered that day. (NYMag)
Listen: I have SMT every week about Glennon Doyle’s podcast; Matt jokes that I start too many sentences with “So, Glennon Doyle said…” But with so many overwhelming things happening in the world right now, I really appreciated her episode about what to do with strong feelings. Spoiler alert: It helps if you listen to them. (We Can Do Hard Things)
Read: Tahirah Hairston makes the case for Skims, even if you (like me) have been reluctant to try them. (The Cut)
Shop: I set an alarm and enthusiastically (competitively?) shopped the latest Nap Dress drop, snapping up the new Kit top in white and green, as well as one of the new skinny headbands. (Hill House Home)
Read: Headbands are not going anywhere, mmkthx! But really: Thanks to Rory Satran of the Wall Street Journal for asking for my thoughts in her column on the staying power of my favorite hair accessory. (WSJ)
Anyone else counting down the hours until the Met Gala on Monday? So excited! For the fashion! I’ll be back in your inbox next week with a full recap.