Round-Up: Summer Favorites

You know those things you see and are instantly obsessed with and need to own/eat/use ASAP? These have been mine from the past couple of months…

summer favorites graphic

  1. I saw this Lolo Bag in the window of a boutique and immediately HAD TO HAVE IT! When I finally went back to make the purchase, it was gone! (Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending- it was still available online and is my new travel makeup bag!)
  2. Essie Tart Deco
  3. This is only the best snack mix around! Ain’t no party like a Zen Party, amiright?
  4. OK, so I haven’t actually read Ernest Cline’s new book Armada yet, but Tall Guy got it for me for my birthday and the cover is so pretty! Totally NOT judging this book by the cover though, if it’s anything like Ready Player One, I can’t wait to crack it open.
  5. I got Urban Decay’s Perversion mascara as a birthday gift from Ulta and it’s AMAZING! Even Tall Guy noticed the difference in my lashes!
  6. Tall Guy got me this pillow for my birthday when we saw it at Franklin Flea! Best addition to my couch (and also most expensive pillow I own…)
  7. The only thing that got me through last July 4th was my Stila stay all day liquid lipstick (#10 beso)
  8. Not technically something you can own, and I know it’s certainly not new, but I discovered Nuts to You this past Summer and it was life changing. I HIGHLY recommend the salted caramel covered pretzels.

State of the Union

So I turned the big 2-5 on Sunday. And when I wrote this post, I was sitting in bed at 10:30 pm on a Tuesday night after having just read an excerpt about being 25 from a book my mom sent me and I couldn’t help but dissect my own life up until this point…

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but things are pretty freaking awesome right now.

I always told myself that if I didn’t “have it all figured out” by the time I turned 25, I would head West and drive cross country to LA. What I didn’t know at the time was that you never really have it all figured out… But I think what I meant by that was if I didn’t have a good job that I enjoyed, or a boyfriend, or really anything tying me to Philly, what was the reason for staying? I’m not sure why age 25 was my cutoff, either. At the time I promised this to myself, when I was just finishing college, I’m sure 25 seemed “so old,” but now that it’s actually here, I feel like I was expecting a lot out of a measly 3 years time!

High expectations or not, I’m happy to say I did not feel the need to drop everything and drive cross country this Summer.  I, by no means, have it all figured out, or anything figured out for that matter, but for once in my life I feel like everything is on the exact right track.

Work is still work. I would still choose sleeping over getting up and going to work in the mornings if I had a choice, but I appreciate it for what it is. A paycheck, for one, but also a great way for me to learn more about my craft (currently: marketing) and hone my skills in an environment full of good people who I enjoy working with and seeing on a daily basis. Yes, I have my good days and bad days, and some days my office is like a really chaotic episode of The Office, but overall I like where I’m at work-wise. Which seems like a miracle considering a little over a year ago, before I landed my current gig, I was stuck in a dead-end job (that was really a glorified internship) that I hated. Go me!

My love life is… Present and accounted for. Again, not without its issues, and maybe it has a few more issues than most, but I can wholeheartedly say I have someone who loves me even when I’m being a brat, supports me, encourages me, makes me laugh, holds my hand every chance he gets, spoils me, buys me flowers just because and loves my cat (very important). He tells me how he can see the hard work I’ve been putting in at the gym has been paying off, but always reminds me that he thought I was beautiful even before I started going to the gym 5 days a week. And most of all, he inspires me each and every day, just by staying positive and living his life in the best way possible.

I’m also lucky enough to have a family who supports me no matter what. They may not like some of the decisions that I make, but they do their best to help me in every way possible. At the end of the day, they have my best interests at heart and aren’t afraid to let their feelings and thoughts be known if they think it will serve me in the end.

Every now and then, I have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real. I live in a 1 bedroom apartment in the heart of Philadelphia. I’ve raised a cat since she was a kitten. I buy my own groceries and manage not to stock up on junk food every week. I walk to work every morning and it only takes me 10 minutes. I go to the gym 5 days a week and can run 30 minutes straight. I’m making travel a priority and will have gone on 5 trips to new places by the time the year is over. All these things make adulthood truly great.

But for me, being in my mid 20s is a little like dipping my toe in the water. I’m getting my feet wet with what I consider “adult” experiences (dealing with ER visits, insurance companies, medical issues, comcast bill negotiations, apartment problems, etc.), but haven’t quite had to jump head first into the adult pool yet. My parents still do my taxes. I’m still on their insurance (1 more year, baby!), I still call my mom when I have a cooking question or need help getting a stain out of my clothes. I still send out a Christmas list to my family and want to blow out candles on my birthday…

But who’s rushing to be a full-blown adult, anyway? I have at least 5 more years for that… right?

xo

Hello, 2015

resolution 2015

This year, I’m going to cook and bake new recipes, paint, make things, blog, write, save money, send more cards, travel, spend more time with friends, take some “me” time, exercise, explore new makeup, clean out my closets, do more things in nature, take more walks, make new friends, eat healthy, take more pictures, and above all, BE HAPPY.

Happy New Year!

x

Goodbye, 2014

I can’t say I’m sad to see 2014 go.

Don’t get me wrong, some really great things happened this past year.

I read some really great books.

night filmready player oeyes pleaseclearly i didnt

I saw some really great movies.

gone girl posterinterstellar posterRush_PosterSaving-Mr-Banks-Teaser-Poster

I watched some really great TV.

game-of-thrones-tv-movie-posternewsroom_postersoa_tv postertwd postertrue-blood-poster

My brother graduated from high school and started college. I got a new job. I fell in love. I fell out of love.  I moved out of an apartment with a roommate and moved into an apartment with a boyfriend. And then moved out of that apartment and into a place of my very own… And then had to get a new second job in order to afford said place of my very own. I joined a gym. I made new friends. I lost some along the way, too.

2014 has been a roller coaster of year. It has taught me a lot about life and a lot about myself.

In 2014 I learned…

Love really does make you do crazy things. Like stick around for longer than you should and put up with things that you shouldn’t have to. It’s easy to sit there and say what you would do if you were in someone’s shoes, but it’s a whole other thing to actually be that someone in the thick of things. You never know what someone is going through, so can we all just start being nice to each other?

There is always a way out if you want there to be. I was the first person to tell people how bad of an idea I thought moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend was, and then I did the very thing I used to preach against! So when it wasn’t working out, I felt like such an idiot. I’m lucky to have supportive friends who would always let me vent and parents who offered to help me even before I asked.

Don’t ignore your intuition. That little voice inside your head that’s whispering to you? Accept the fact that it knows better than you do and listen to what it’s saying.

Nothing is as important as your own health and happiness.

Someone who sees the glass half empty all the time is not someone you want to be around.

Just because you post copious amounts of cat pictures on your instagram and no longer have a boyfriend does NOT mean you are a crazy cat lady. (Saying this for a friend.)

Not wearing makeup isn’t the end of the world. In fact, no one even said I looked tired/awful/insert unflattering adjective here. Instead, someone commented on my “healthy skin” and said they were jealous of my long eyelashes. I think I’m on to something here, ladies…

On the flip side… Makeup is fun! This past year, I discovered my interest in nice makeup and Sephora and I’m not looking back. Maybe in 2015 I will finally attempt to try some of Amber Rae’s makeup tutorials!

Sometimes you just have to stay in and watch 90s TV marathons on Netflix. And that’s totally ok.

I still don’t have it all figured out, but instead of letting that scare me, I’m meeting the new year with arms wide open and ready for change. Bring on 2015!

A 2014 “To-Do” List

Way back in January, I decided that there were 13 things that I was definitely going to do this year. Let’s see how I’m doing…

My 2014 To-Do List

… finally finally finally go to NYC. Nope.

read at least 1 book every month. Hopefully more than that, though! Thanks Broke Girls Book Club!

… make at least 1 new recipe (from my list of 49+ pages of recipes to try) every month. Not so much (and now the list is up to 56 pages…)

… go camping. Is it too late for this now that it’s October?

… learn how to play the guitar that’s been sitting in the corner of my living room since I moved into my apartment over a year ago… Not yet

… bake and make more desserts! The last time I baked anything was over a month ago…

… keep playing pool (in hopes that I’ll eventually become good at it). I haven’t played pool since before Tall Guy hurt his knee last February…

… do at least 1 creative thing a month. Not quite…

… go up to the observation deck in City Hall. Ugh. No. 

… use the pastry bags and tips that Tall Guy got me for Christmas to decorate cakes and cupcakes. I tried to use them once and failed miserably. Do they have directions for those things?!

… figure out how to use the espresso machine my parents gave me last Summer. The years of sitting in our attic hadn’t been very good to it. When I went to finally use it, I found mold growing. 

… go paddle boarding. No.

… go to the Art Museum! Still no. (And still so ashamed). 

So… do you think it’s possible to cram all of this into the next 3 months?

Baby Come Back

courage

Yesterday’s Tuesday Thoughts post was my first post since August 12th. A birthday, a breakup and a move into my own apartment later, and I’m officially back.

One day, you think you have it all figured out, and the next you’re crying to your mom on the phone begging her to let you come home and start all over. (Luckily, she knew just as well as you did that moving back into your childhood bedroom was not the solution.) What is it about traumatic life events that always makes you want to run home to your parents, no matter how old you are?

If anything, I’m living proof that there’s always a way out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say.

I like to think I’m a realist. When something isn’t working, I try to correct the situation, maybe too many times, before I completely call it quits. But at some point you just have to realize that the situation isn’t going to change unless you do. And I guess that’s why I’m writing this from the couch in my very first 1 bedroom apartment. Where I live. By myself. (Well… With my cat.)

Now I’m on the hunt for a part-time job (you know, so I can actually, like, afford this apartment), while trying to bring all the things I love back into my life. Like baking, reading, blogging… The list goes on.

Does it sound too cliche to say how excited I am to be on my own again? They say your 20s are supposed to be your selfish years, right? Maybe I’m just a little fashionably late to that party…

Hello blog, I’ve missed you.

Summer, Summer, Summertime

Way back in May, I wrote about my Summer bucket list on Broke Girls Go Out. Now that it’s almost the middle of July and half way through the Summer, I thought it might be a good idea to check on my progress on the off chance that I haven’t been making any after all…

At the beginning of the Summer, I wanted to…

 √ Spend as much time at the beach as possible. I got some great beach days in during my vacation last week.

beach

 

√ Work on my tan! Proud to say I didn’t burn at the beach at all!

– Make cocktail popsicles.

– Make my own ice cream.

– Have a picnic.

– Perfect my grilling skills. Unfortunately I don’t think this one will happen… I’m moving away from my apartment with a yard in a week and I haven’t attempted to grill anything fun yet…

√ BBQ once a week (or at least OFTEN). 

– Go camping. 

√ Go kayaking. Another one crossed off on my vacation!

– Go to a Country concert.

– Go paddle boarding.

– Make DIY workout shirts from over-sized t-shirts.

– Do a fun outdoor activity. Does playing volleyball at my brother’s graduation party count?

– Play in a Philly fountain. 

– Go to a baseball game.

OK, so I haven’t quite accomplished everything on the list yet… Luckily there’s still a lot of Summer left! What’s on your bucket list?

Two Week Challenge: Don’t Stop Believin’

It’s been a little more than 2 weeks since my last 2 week challenge… Lately, my “challenge” has been life itself!

The past few weeks I’ve been totally consumed with apartment hunting. With a fairly low budget and high hopes, it was an uphill battle from the start. I feel like all I’ve done the past few weeks is search through endless craigslist ads and attempt to squeeze in apartment showings around my work day. Apartment hunting is EXHAUSTING, you guys. After missing out on a couple of places that I really wanted, I’m thankful to finally be able to say that I have a place to live come August 1!

In between apartment hunting, in an attempt to relax and decompress, Tall Guy and I have been grilling a bunch and I’ve done my best to get my tanning in during the weekends, which is not an easy task when you’re running to the other end of the city to see an apartment at 9 am on a Saturday!

When life got super hectic, running, exercising and eating right were the last things on my mind. Some days it was hard just to stay afloat! So my (now month-long) running challenge did not go as planned. I’m disappointed, but I’m still not giving up. Somewhere in the chaos, I decided that being so hard on myself was not helping the situation. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t get to run every time I want to. There are a lot of other exercise activities I can do instead, and I’m working on getting over my “run or bust” mentality. That’s not to say that I’m not still attempting to establish a running schedule, but I don’t want not being able to run to stop me from doing something else that will help out my fitness efforts. So I’ve started lifting weights every now and then. Teensy tiny little 5 lb weights since I’m a weakling, but weights nonetheless! And I’m walking as much as possible (which is not hard since I walk everywhere and lately have been going to the end of this city and back to see apartments). And in the meantime, I’m taking comfort in the wise words of John Bingham.

pin

I Am My Mother’s Daughter

A few days ago, I saw this Huffington Post article about one woman’s role as a daughter now that she’s in her twenties and it got me thinking about my relationship with own my mom.

We’ve sure had our differences throughout the years- There was my sophomore year of high school when she wanted me to “get out more,” and my junior year of high school when she wanted me to get out less. Then there was the time when she grounded me for not coming home one night and subsequently found out (through some cellphone snooping that I am still a little bitter about) that I was (underage) drinking with my friends. Not a shining moment for either of us.

I think the best thing I’ve ever done for our relationship was move out of her house. If that sounds harsh, I definitely don’t mean it that way! Moving out allowed me to grow into my own person, yes, but it’s also helped me appreciate how great my mom really is… And how right she is about, well, everything.

Over the almost 6 years since I moved out of my parent’s house, my relationship with my mom has blossomed. That’s not to say that we didn’t have a good relationship when I lived there, because we did. But having a relationship with someone who lives under the same roof is a lot different than having a long distance relationship with someone. I, like most high school seniors, could not wait to get out of my parent’s house and on to bigger and better things. I’m not sure when I realized that the latter half of that sentence was not entirely true (probably somewhere in between not knowing how to cook a good steak and having to kill a bug by myself at 3 o’clock in the morning), but slowly I’m realizing how many of the things my mom tried to teach me turned out to be useful after all.

So thanks, mom, for teaching me…

… how to make a tuna salad sandwich, even though I told you how seeing the process “disgusted me” because the mayo was so “jiggly.” (That’s a technical term.)

… how to thoroughly clean a dirty dish so it doesn’t have to be washed a second time.

… the importance of having clean underwear.

… to be crafty and creative, although I will never be as crafty as you are!

… the importance of washing my face every day, even though I fought you about it when I was younger.

… that money isn’t everything.

… how to do my laundry.

… to always close my dresser drawers, even though I ended up learning the hard way.

… to be comfortable in the kitchen, and thus unlocking my passion for baking.

… giving me room to make my own mistakes, but never being so far away that you couldn’t help me clean them up.

(This list could go on and on.)

I’m lucky to have such a good relationship with my mom. Now that I’m in my twenties, she’s more of a “best friend” mom than anything. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but I know that she’s always there for me when I have a question about how to cook something, need life advice or just want to chat. She’s probably the only person who can get through to me when I’m being stubborn (much to Tall Guy’s dismay), and I know she always has my best interests at heart. I love the relationship that we have now because I, too, can be there for her when she needs something, which wasn’t the case when I was a self-absorbed moody teenager. I feel like I know her so much better than I ever have and I’m so happy we’re super close. I wouldn’t trade my relationship with my mom for the world.

So don’t forget to thank your mom this Mother’s Day, and make sure to tell her how much you love her. I promise she never gets tired of hearing it.

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Happy Mother’s Day, mom! I love you.

I Won! I Won!

liebster2

I would like to thank The Academy… What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Liebster Award?

While the history of the Liebster Award is spotty, all you really need to know is that it’s like fan mail (of sorts), from blogger to blogger, and a good way to help people discover the millions (billions?) of blogs on the internet.

Here’s how it works:

– Someone nominates your blog for the award (shout out to Blonde with a Blog for being awesome and nominating me AND The Broke Girls)

– To accept the award, it’s nice if you link back to the person who nominated you as a way to say thanks (see above), you then have to give 11 facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions your nominator posed to you (see below), and, last but not least, you nominate 11 other blogs who have less than 2,000 followers. (Numbers have changed a bit since the award origination- it used to be blogs with under 3,000 followers, now it’s under 200… Or 2,000… You pick!)

– You shouldn’t nominate the person who nominated you, but you should let the blogs you nominate know they have been nominated.

Got it? Great!

 

 Facts about me…

1. I’m a Virgo.

2. I’ve never been to New York City.

3. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until Titanic was in movie theaters. (You do the math.)

4. I like broccoli pizza. Don’t knock it ’till you try it!

5. I wanted to be a detective, but didn’t want to have to go through the whole process of being a cop first! (I still think I would make a pretty decent detective, though!)

6. I’m from Southeastern MA, but I don’t have a Boston accent at all. Well, ok, I do only if you listen really hard and only on certain words… None of which are park, car, Harvard or yard.

7. Despite having a pool all throughout my childhood, I never learned how to dive off of the diving board. Or the side of the pool. Or from anywhere into any body of water in general.

8. The beach is my happy place. I was lucky enough to grow up in a coastal MA town with an absolutely beautiful beach (an absolutely beautiful everything, actually) and while I may not have fully appreciated what I had until I left, I’m so glad to be able to go back and visit every now and then.

9. When I was little, my dad used to keep a big bag of tootsie rolls in his car (during the Winter months). To this day, tootsie rolls are still my favorite kind of candy. (I also blame dad for my sweet tooth!)

10. My pottery collection/obsession started when I was in high school. I easily have over $1,000 worth of pottery to my name at the time this post is being written.

11. I love making lists. Bucket lists, grocery lists, to do lists.. You name it, I’ve made it.

 

Blonde with a Blog asked…

1. How long have you been blogging? Almost a year and a half! I started blogging in January of 2013. Making the blog was my 2013 New Year’s resolution!

2. What made you decide to start blogging? Honestly I’m not really sure. I always liked writing, and after college I was looking for an outlet that would let me be as creative as I wanted to be. It took a while for me to figure out what I wanted to blog about (essentially, everything) and how to not make a mess of it, but I’m pretty proud of the work I’ve done on the blog thus far.

3. What is your favorite topic to blog about? I don’t think I can choose a favorite! Sometimes I feel like the blog gets overwhelmed with restaurant reviews and Tuesday thoughts, so right now I’m really liking my 2 week challenge posts. They give me a chance to talk about my life (and adventures and misadventures alike) on a more personal level than some of my other posts.

4. Where is your favorite place to shop? I recently discovered the cutest little boutique right around the corner from my office. If I could buy out the entire store, I would in a heartbeat!

5. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your wardrobe? No contest- my leather jacket. It’s real leather! That purchase was a big deal.

6. What is your absolute favorite product? Vaseline lip therapy was a saving grace this past Winter!

7. What’s your favorite animal? I love all animals, really, but this little ball of fur has a leg above the competition.

luna

8. What’s your favorite nail polish/color? I’m an OPI-only nail polish snob.

9. What’s a good book you’ve read lately? Night Film by Marisha Pessl

10. Where do you mostly buy beauty products? Up until a few weeks ago, solely CVS, but now I split my purchases between ULTA and Sephora (more on my newly acquired interest in make up later…).

11. What’s your favorite hair product/styling tool? HA! My best friend can attest to the fact that I barely know what “styling” my hair means. BUT I have recently been playing around with Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe Texturizing Sea Salt Spray and I don’t hate it. (It might not be Summer yet, but you would never know by the looks of my hair…)

 

My nominees are…

100 WPM

Alex in Philly

Amber Rae Beauty

Bacon & Legs

colorgirl

In a Small Kitchen

Jordan Pridemore

Lady of the Cakes

Life Sucks in a Strapless Bra

Liz Kinder Pottery

Streets Dept

 

Questions for my nominees…

1. Describe your blog in 3 words.

2. What is one thing you wish you were able to do more of?

3. When was your last vacation and where did you go?

4. If you had $1,000 to donate to any charity, which one would you donate to?

5. What’s your favorite restaurant (and where is it)?

6. What’s one of your guilty pleasures?

7. How do you feel about your birthday?

8. What’s your favorite city?

9. If money was no object, what would you do tomorrow?

10. What’s at the top of your bucket list?

11. If you could give your 16 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?

 

Happy blogging everyone! x