friday favorites :: it's the little things

image via weheartit

After yesterday's post about the hardships of the working world, I really wanted to focus on what makes me happy. That emotion is much more valuable! (For one thing: peonies!)

~ Have you tried Twice? It's an online clothing store where you can buy and sell top brands for way cheaper than retail. You get money for your clothes, which is awesome! I usually just donate (which is definitely a worthy cause), but if I ever need some quick cash, this would be a good way to get it! You automatically get $10 off for signing up.

~ One of my good friends teaches a spin class at a couple of local LA Fitness gyms... and I get to go for free! Nothing makes me happier than going to the gym and taking a class without a membership :) Plus, I really enjoy spinning and am looking forward to keeping fit during the summer!

~ These fruit bars look amazing... and shortly after reading about them, my friend posted that she had bought some and loves them! If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is. I'll have to get some!

~ How funny is it that Trey wrote this post for A Beautiful Mess the day after I talked about my job?

~ I just discovered Tea with Kate and loved reading about her adventures through Europe. And she is the sister of another lovely blogger that I enjoy, Chalk White Arrow.

~ I've been telling my roommate that I don't want to celebrate my birthday this year (as if I can stop aging)... but if someone made me this cake, I would be more than thrilled.

~ Yesterday it rained and rained, and all I wanted to do was listen to rainy day music. Naturally, Lana Del Ray.

And now I'm off for a weekend of friends...& USMNT vs Turkey on Sunday! Watch ESPN, you'll probably see me and my best friend on TV cheering our brains out with our blue and red wigs. :) 

a real look.

This has been one of those weeks. The kind that brings you down no matter how much you try to feel better; the kind that leaves you discouraged. I haven't shared much about my work on this blog, but I think I'm ready to just get some of it out of my system. I was hoping to have happier news to share, but alas, I do not. (How's that for a depressing start?)

When I got this job almost a year ago (June), I was super excited. Good potential, way better pay, a role in a big, important project. The one thing nobody told us was that the project was going downhill. Bad management, loss of money, unhappy clients. Earlier this month, I was alerted that I would be laid off by the last week of May. That was not an official layoff, it was more like a head's up. Well, now it's the end of the month. And apparently, they still have no idea of what they're going to do with me. I come to work and pay for parking at 7 AM to sit at my desk and not be tasked. (If you know me, you know I hate to be at work and not working.) I'm getting no direction, even when I beg for it. I've applied to over 30 jobs in the last month, only to be rejected from a bunch and get no reply from the others. I had one interview that I was counting on, but didn't get hired. At this point, I almost wish I could be laid off because I'm not being utilized here. But you know-- life. Rent and car payments and health insurance. 

I don't write this so you will feel sorry for me. I write it as a very real look into what many young professionals have to deal with today. I write it for the people my age that are passionate and motivated, and want to have a good career. The ones that get a start somewhere and find out it's not going to last... more than once. The ones who begin to realize that we will never have the stability of a 30-year career in one company like our parents did. More than anything, this is helping me to see that between graduating in 2008 and now, I have not become a fan of the corporate world. I would like to do something different and more creative. I don't know if I will ever have the means to do that, or if anyone will give me the chance. But I do know one thing for sure: as crazy as my career has been thus far, a new opportunity always comes through in the end. And that's what I'll hold on to in this uncertainty.

what they wore :: colored skinny jeans

Nothing says spring quite like color, am I right?! I've had these purple skinnies from Target for a couple of years now, and I can't wait to wear them every season. (They are paired with my DeadBuryDead tank... I've posted about them before and I love all of their stuff!) If you're in the market for some good, colorful jeans, allow me to assist.

First up: Old Navy. I always seem to forget about them, yet they always have what I'm looking for (a.k.a. cheaper chambray than anywhere else).

Second: Alloy. Does anyone else remember flipping through their catalog as a teenager? Somehow they evolved into still being perfect for me at this age. Not sure how that's possible... but I like it!

And if you're into pastels, check out Love Culture. Affordable and cute!

My favorite thing about these pants is that you can easily pair them with a breezy, neutral tank or prints. Get crazy! ;)

music monday :: caroline smith

Happy day after Memorial Day! I hope you all had a fun long weekend filled with no work and lots of food & friends. I know I did!

To start off your week, here's a chick I've been listening to all weekend: Caroline Smith. Also known as Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, she's a true soul sister. She has this incredible voice that transports you to another time and place. And best of all, she writes from the heart and you feel it, and feel her influences. Her latest album came out in 2013, called "Half About Being a Woman." I highly recommend it!

image via google

Here are some of my favorite tracks:

friday favorites :: chelsea peretti and other good things

I am exceptionally grateful for long weekends. Memorial Day has to be one of my favorite long weekends because everyone takes off early anyway to make it even longer. And this is how I feel about Mondays in general:

Is anyone else obsessed with Chelsea Peretti? Her character Gina is the best. Which brings me to my first Friday Favorite:

There was a fugitive goat running around where I grew up... I told my good friends who live there that they should capture and keep it. Then they sent me an email saying, "Did we tell you we've decided we are getting goats next year? Because we don't remember talking to you about it..." BOOM. I'm a mind reader!

I've been loving Kinsey's coffee recipes. They sound so good!

Life has been a bit stressful lately, so here is some music for your weekend that will hopefully de-stress you too:

happy graduation!

Today is my little sister's graduation from the same college that I went to. (I know we look like twins... but she's six years younger than me!) We didn't always get along growing up because of our age difference, but I am beyond proud of this little monster. She is awesome and I am so excited to celebrate her graduation... it's such a huge step in life and I can't wait to see where she ends up working and how everything turns out.

I worked on this mash-up last night and it reminded me of Angela because it talks about being a girl and the struggles of the real world... Something she is about to face more than ever. I know that she will be fine no matter what she does... if anything, my life is the perfect example of what to do and what not to do! She can just look at me and learn :) But I wanted to share this to honor her and to tell her that she can do whatever she wants to in this world. Ang: even though jobs are hard to find, even though there are a million different options at your fingertips, and even though you will think "I can't do it" a thousand times, you will succeed. I believe it.

This one's for you, Seester! Love you!

spring cleaning.

In lieu of a WTW post today, I'd like to to talk about the joy hell that is spring cleaning. I have spent all morning cleaning my mess of a room and re-working a couple of things. Sometimes I feel like straightening up your space is akin to those things you're supposed to do, but never want to do. Like going to the gym or avoiding mac & cheese (yeah right). But I will say this: after it's all said and done, after you're covered in sweat and dust and have thrown out a bunch of crap you didn't know you had... you will feel rejuvenated 100% of the time. Guaranteed!

Here are the ten steps of my spring cleaning (PS - motivation is by far the hardest part):

1. Woke up and watched the DVR'd season finale of The Voice. 
2. When it was over, watched one more episode of something else to avoid cleaning.
3. When that was over, dragged myself upstairs.
4. Stood in the doorway for a good five minutes staring at all the crap on my floor. Decided to tackle it from the doorway to the bed.
5. Put away an absurd amount of shoes.
6. Took everything off of every surface to dust. (This was by far the worst thing.)
7. Paused to buy a new Kate Spade wallet when my friend alerted me to a surprise online sale happening today.
8. Used a tiny handheld vacuum to get the dust off all the baseboards and corners. I can never bring myself to haul the big vacuum upstairs...
9. Tried to figure out how I could possibly relocate the stuff that just sits on my floor daily with nowhere to put it, when DING! Light bulb moment: asked my roommate if I could use the coffee table that's been sitting without a purpose in our upstairs hallway.
10. Dragged the coffee table into my room, and finally put that tapestry/scarf from India to good use. Overjoyed that I now have a place for my record player, records, books, and a bit more storage. Plus, it looks pretty!

It's really not that bad once you get going... and it feels awesome to have knocked it out in a morning. So if you're a procrastinator of cleaning like me, in the words of Nike: just do it. You won't regret it! And in case anyone cares, the stuff in the picture is as follows: the old Yamaha guitar I taught myself to play on in college; Johnny Cash autobiography (with a little cat book holder paperweight thing that I love); picture of me and my best friend on her wedding day; The Lone Bellow record; my Crosleyfaux sheepskin rug from IKEA; tapestry from India brought back by a friend.

Happy spring cleaning!

the talk :: the bachelorette & to do (play)lists

Guys, last night was the start of yet another season of The Bachelorette (no shame). Naturally, I rimmed my wine glass with pop rocks and broke out the Trader Joe's truffles. I guess ABC has decided that we must have an opera singer as a contestant for all seasons moving forward, and there cannot be a shortage of guys with long hair. (Although most of them got the boot the first night in.) Also, the "journey count" is back on! Last season the word "journey" was said no less than 32 times. I think that will continue to decrease as "adventure" makes a comeback. Thoughts??

Today I'm thinking about making a to do list. There are couple of reasons why I have been avoiding this. 1) It likely means that I will have to dust my room. I despise dusting my room. 2) I'm lazy. (So obvious.) But I have to admit, I always feel better when the list is crossed off and I'm sitting on a freshly made bed looking at my newly organized and clean things. My faux-sheepskin rug will no longer be dirty and shoved halfway under the bed. There won't be makeup all over my dresser from getting ready in the morning. Six pairs of shoes won't be scattered haphazardly all over the floor. My duvet won't be bunched at the bottom of my bed (you all know what I'm talking about). 

Real talk, people! I need an intervention for keeping things neat & tidy. The only way I can really straighten up is if I have music to get me through it. So here is your Tuesday To Do Playlist! If you need to clean or dust or keep your sanity, give these tracks a listen.

Matt & Kim - Cutdown
∆ Ingrid Michaelson - Girls Chase Boys
∆ The Script - Six Degrees of Separation
∆ Sarah Jaffe - The Body Wins
∆ Kings of Leon - Wait for Me
∆ Blackstreet - No Diggity (throwback!)
∆ Volbeat - Lola Montez
∆ Van Morrison - Into the Mystic
∆ The Airborne Toxic Event - Changing

Get motivated!

music monday :: sarah jaffe

image via google

Sometimes you drive to work in the early hours of the morning and hate everything on the radio, but can't be bothered to plug in your phone for Spotify. And sometimes your change the station just as an amazing song is in the middle of a glorious part that grabs your attention.

Hello, Sarah Jaffe.

Obviously, I love this girl by default since we share a name (with an "h"). She gives back through a guitar and her songwriting, and we are the same age. Plus she's toured with a whole bunch of amazing people. So much to love! These are times when I kick myself for not knowing when people burst onto the music scene. For Sarah, it was 2009. Her last album came out in 2012, although I can't wait for more! Thank you, WTMD radio, for playing the magic that is SJ.

UPDATE: Sarah has a new album coming out in August 2014!

inside my mom's dating life.

You know how it is. Parents split up, go their separate ways, no one wants to be alone, blah blah blah. Well, my mother never ceases to amaze me with the people she finds to date. Let's take a look, shall we?

1. Flash back about eight or so years ago. My mom meets a guy in a bar. He turns out to be a millionaire and they are together for a very long time, taking his yacht to the Bahamas every year and such things. Why can't I have that kind of luck?!

2. A year or two ago, the million-dollar relationship ends. Mom meets another guy in the same bar. All she tells me is that she calls him "Billy Bob" because he looks like Billy Bob Thornton. Fun fact: He really does look like Billy Bob Thornton. I secretly hope I'll never have to call him Dad.

3. Billy Bob leaves the picture somehow (I never want details), and I go out to dinner with Mom. She proceeds to tell me she's met another nice man in the same bar. She starts describing him to me and I say, "Wait a minute. He's a vet? Where does he work?" She tells me the name of his vet clinic. I go, "Mom. HE'S OUR VET. We've literally been taking our dogs there as long as I can remember." (She wouldn't know that because my dad always takes them.) So, as the story goes, my mother is dating my dog's vet. I guess there are worse people to be dating, for sure. At least he loves animals and I know he's a nice guy. Maybe this is a sign to get another puppy!

my Misty, who passed away last year.

End note: I miss having a dog. Having a vet for a stepdad could be a great thing...

Happy Friday! (Or, if you're in Maryland, happy monsoon season.)

a new arrival

One of my best friends had her little girl, Evelyn, yesterday! Isn't she the sweetest thing? I'm so happy she's here safe and sound. Her mom and dad didn't want to find out what they were having, and the whole time they were convinced she would be a boy :) But I love that they got a little girl.

Welcome to the world, baby Evelyn! You are loved.

tuesday & tune-yards.

This morning's musings:

 It smells like bacon when I enter my work building every morning. And I always think, "maybe today is the day where I actually buy and eat that bacon."
 I'm avoiding checking my work email indefinitely. (Which means I'll check it in five minutes.)
 Baseball games on weeknights are generally a very good idea.
 Must buy a ukelele.


I saw Tune-Yards on Jimmy Fallon last week. Upon further research, I discovered some interesting facts that make this band even more crazy lovable. One is that they originated in Connecticut, of all places. I find that so random and hilarious, and I love that big music can come out of smaller environments. Plus, Merrill Garbus (the originator) recorded her first Tune-Yards album on cassette with a voice recorder. She loops and incorporates ukelele, electric bass, and a whole lot of crazy. This band has created something truly unique, strange, and wonderful... listen below! And don't be afraid to dance.

Their 2014 album, Nikki Nack, came out this month. Enjoy!

friday favorites :: dealing with stress

image via weheartit

Yesterday was a whirlwind... by the time I had a chance to sit down, I was getting ready for bed! Like I said last time... a lot is happening right now and hopefully I will be able to post about it soon. In the meantime, I've been feeling stressed like nobody's biz. Do you ever have those weeks where it's just a chronic, panicked feeling? That's been me this week. So today I decided to share my favorite ways to relieve stress.

∆ Friends. If I can get into a good convo with my friends about how I'm feeling or just hang out with them to distract me, I feel better. My friends have helped me make tough decisions more than once!
∆ Friday Night Lights. I couldn't sleep last night so I got on Netflix and watched an episode until I was tired again. It's the perfect thing for when your brain won't stop running. Tim Riggins cures all.
∆ Flowers. Our house and garden are filled with flowers right now, and it's such a relaxing space! (I'm not planning on all my favorite things starting with "f" by the way... it's just kind of happening...)
Music. I ran through a bunch of covers the other night on my guitar to see what kind of shape I'm in for getting back out there and playing in public, and it made me feel much better.
∆ My preggo best friend. Her due date was yesterday, and talking to her about labor and other pregnant topics definitely took my mind off of my problems for a while! At least I don't have to be scared about pushing a human out of me, am I right?!
∆ Massages. I had one last weekend and I have a two-hour session scheduled in June. You'd be surprised at how much they help re-focus you, even if you get a short half-hour one. I use mine to clear my head and/or try to sort out my thoughts. Plus, they dig the knots out of my shoulders and it hurts so bad but feels amazing later!
∆ Books. Getting lost in a good story is a great feeling when you can't stop thinking about something stressful.
∆ Walks. In the spring and summer, my roommate and I go to this park by our old house and take long walks after work. It's filled with trees, water, and sometimes a tame deer. (I'm not kidding; we named him Steve. I look for him every time.)
∆ Prayer. I would be crazy to forget this one... As a believer in Jesus, I know He is taking care of me and my needs. I need the reminder that His ways are higher when I feel like I have to figure everything out alone.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

what they wore :: makeup 101

I love reading other blogger's posts on their daily makeup routines. It's convinced me to buy or replace certain products more than once! There's just something about reading a from-the-heart post on makeup and knowing you're getting an honest opinion that does a girl good.

Since I get up at 6 AM for work every day, I have a fairly simple makeup routine. The most important part is moisturizing! Trust me, your face needs it. After that, I use primer to create a smoother face under my foundation. I use Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer and Elf Mineral Face Primer.

I have a slightly oily face, so anytime I apply eyeshadow, it either disappears or creases. I HATE THAT. So I started using Stay Don't Stray eye primer. BONUS: I use it as under eye and blemish concealer, too! I always put it on after I moisturize and do my eyes last so it has time to settle. Then I use my Elf Powder Brush to lightly apply Laura Mercier Mineral Powder (my color is Real Sand). I'm no longer a teenager so I don't have acne to cover up anymore, but I still need something to balance out my skin tone.

Blush is next. I've had this same compact for more years than I can count, and it still hasn't run out! Totally worth the money. It's NARS blush... pricey, but if you find something you love, they say to stick with it! I recently got the Elf Flawless Eyeshadow and I really like it so far. Normally I just layer a bit of gray on my lids, but if I go out on a weekend, I do the whole shebang. Each powder has an instruction imprinted on it: Crease, Lid, Liner, etc. Really cute.

Ignore how dirty this blush compact is... like I said, I've literally had it for years! The color is "Orgasm." That used to make me giggle, but it made sense when one of my magazines said it was "the color that looks good on everyone." I believe it!

To finish off my eyes, I currently use Bare Escentuals Buxom Mascara. I borrowed my friend's at her house one time and loved it. It worked so much better than my old mascara! I used to use Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal, but the Buxom really fills out my lashes a lot more. It's on the pricier side, and I just read an article saying that most of your lash length/fullness has to do with the brush. So I may just save the wand and re-use it in a cheaper mascara when I run out to test that theory.

You wouldn't think the type of brush you use would be that important, but I have found that it makes a difference when trying to put on foundation. I used to use brushes that would shed like crazy, and I hated it. Little black hairs all over my face tickling me in the early morning was not my idea of fun! So after reading about the Elf brush, I made the switch. First of all, most Elf products are in the $3-$5 range. So that's a win. And this one doesn't shed at all while giving me even coverage. My blush brush is from Bare Escentuals back in the day when I used to use their foundation. It's a great brush that I haven't needed to replace, but again, Elf is awesome and I bet one of theirs would work just as well.

My daily lip wear is Burt's Bees all the time, around the clock. The grapefruit flavor is what I'm currently wearing, but I adore the pomegranate as well! I have been using Revlon Just Bitten balm stain in Lovesick when I go out on the weekends. I layer it over the Burt's Bees and I'm good to go! The stain lasts even after you feel like it's worn off (or the top layer has). For actual lipstick, I layer Bite Beauty Lip Primer (not pictured) underneath to keep it on longer and because my lips can be flaky.

So there you have it! Stay tuned for more WTW makeup posts in the future, and if you guys have posted your routine, share the link in the comments! I'd love to check it out.

belated music monday...

I know, I know. I'm running late this week. Lots going on around here and I haven't had time to put my fingers to the keys. Hopefully, I'll be able to explain more later, but for now let's talk music!

Have you guys heard Ingrid Michaelson's album Lights Out that came out last month? I just listened to it today and I am really happy with it. I was a huuuuge fan of her first two, and somewhere around the third or fourth I didn't get the same enjoyment out of it. But I really like what she's done with this one! Proof:

I've also been re-loving The Script since I will be seeing them this summer. Two favorites:

Any Once Upon a Time fans? Did you know that Colin O'Donoghue is too hot to just play Captain Hook? (I KNEW IT.) He's a member of The Enemies. I believe as of right now he remains an honorary member, since he hasn't had time to actually be in the band with Once going on. 

Catch up with you tomorrow!

journal day 11

Sorry I missed WTW yesterday, friends... It was hurricaning (new word?) outside and I was trying to finish an insanely long book yesterday when I got home from work! More on that book later. I promise you a nice WTW post for next week! Up next: journal times!

Sometimes it can be hard to hear criticism from others. I know for me it's something I may always struggle with- being a people pleaser, etc. At the same time though, constructive criticism can be very helpful, and allow us to look at ourselves in a new light and maybe even grow and change. Take a step out of yourself. If you were on the outside looking in, how would you critique yourself? What things do you see that could change or work on? This isn't about tearing ourselves down; it's about really looking at ourselves and seeing where there's room for growth.

Oh, criticism. We are all cut from the same cloth on this one. As human beings, we criticize all the time: others, ourselves, a tiny bit or harshly. It's a hard thing to deal with, isn't it? Let's start with being criticized.

Being criticized is part of life. Every single person is different, which is why criticism even happens. You may not agree with what someone says or does, and they may not agree with you. I view being criticized in two lights: the first being that there is such a thing as good criticism. The kind where a friend comes to you lovingly and wants to have a kind, albeit difficult, conversation about you. This usually results in a worthwhile conversation and a positive outcome. The other type is bad criticism. The kind where someone calls you out in a harsh manner and you kind of have no choice but to defend yourself or take a beating. This is generally unproductive.

The other half of things is being the criticizer. I am a critical person myself. I try not to judge others, but we are all guilty of that. We all have a picture in our minds of how we want others to be. When someone goes outside those mental guidelines, we immediately criticize in some form. Which brings me to the second part of the prompt: if I was on the outside looking in, how would I critique myself? What can I change or work on? (What a question!)

I touched on this in the last journal, but there is a lot for me to work on. We should never stop working to become better, don't you think? I think it's beneficial to step outside of ourselves and view us how other people do. Here's what I think people see in me (the bad):

- too outspoken; I often have an unfiltered heart
- hard on people who don't have their stuff together
- overly opinionated on certain subjects
- slightly unaccepting of people who I don't have things in common with
- showing that I am annoyed or frustrated (I wear my heart on my sleeve for all to see)

Wow. This shows me two things: 1) I have a lot to work on, and 2) I am probably never getting married, because who wants to put up with that ;) All joking aside, there is so much room to grow. I would like to see myself cut down the judgment and give people a little more grace in my own heart. It's good to step back and take a hard look at your own life sometimes, huh?