July 29, 2015

Lately: Minimalist Edition

At the beginning of the month I decided to do the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge. At first I just thought minimalism meant getting rid of 99% of your stuff and living in a practically empty space. It can mean that, if that’s what you want. But really, minimalism is about being mindful. It’s about figuring out what’s most important to you and weeding out all the rest. As soon as I read through the challenge I realized a lot of the tasks were things I was already doing. Some days served as a reminder to keep going, others, required some effort.

Since the month is almost over I wanted to check in on how it's been going.

I chose not to do the tasks in order. Mainly because I didn't want to, but I also felt that I would do each task as I needed to.

One of the very first tasks I completed, probably the first, was to identify 3-6 main priorities. I'm pretty on the ball with my priorities but it was a good chance to write them down and be present with them. I also, unknowingly, completed the unfollow and unfriend task. Fourth of July weekend seemed like a good time to start removing accounts, "friends", and businesses that I wasn't interacting with at all. People I went to HS with but haven't spoke to in years? Delete. Businesses that I like but never shop at? Delete. Talk about cleansing.
Almost immediately {the same day really} I started cleaning up my digital life. I went through my external hard drive, opened folders and documents and deleted anything I no longer needed. Old resumes, cover letters, term papers - it all went. This was something that needed to be done because my C drive was nearing capacity. How?! But it was and so programs, docs, and photos met their demise. I even went through all of my recipes and tossed more than half.

Thanks to the streamline your reading list task I scaled back my TBR list by 30 books. I didn't get rid of anything I genuinely wanted to read, but all those free kindle downloads that 99% of the time are trashy romance novels? Deleted.

Given that I was on a spending freeze this month, it wasn't difficult to not buy anything for 24 hours. I also had no trouble with going bare faced as I typically don't have time don't care enough to bother putting on makeup in the morning. I was more than content with no TV all day, read instead because really, TV is such a brain drain. Did I really just say that? Hello 90s. I have a select few shows but more often, I'm happier with the TV off.
I talked about letting go of a goal in its own post and so many of you agreed that if the goal was no longer serving its purpose, it was time to let it go. I deleted not only the list, but the account as well and I haven't missed it since.
Some of the tasks I was putting off, were to turn off notifications, no e-mail or social media until lunch and stay offline for one day. The latter was doable, it just required planning, a weekend, and some willpower. Thankfully, Little Miss and a good book is all the distraction I need.

I think my favorite days were unfollow & unfriend; declutter your digital life; downsize your beauty collection; evaluate your commitments; and let go of a goal. More than anything, it's been a learning experience. I'm going to continue with the minimalist life and see where it takes me. We say it about makeup all the time, but it's true for life as well

July 27, 2015

That Time I Got Kicked Off the Beach AND Out of a Bar

I don't understand how Monday comes so quickly. This 5:2 work week really isn't working for me. Why can't we adopt a 4:3 rule? Honestly, I think the masses would be much happier with one more day. Speaking of happy...

Last week was such an emotional drain for me. Thank you to all of you who offered support, commiseration, and suggestions regarding facing facts. I'm not sure where I'm headed next, and no I didn't quit my job...yet.

I don't typically do weekend recaps but this time I think a mini one is warranted. On Saturday the Blogger's Beach Day took place and Alyssa, Jenn, Dani and I all got together to spend some time in the sun and sand down the shore. Jenn is amazing! You guys, she drove up from Delaware. I heart her for that alone.

I'm sure someone else will recap Saturday's events more eloquently that I can, but let's just say that apparently we're a bunch of rowdy bitches who laugh in the face of authority and get kicked off beaches for following orders.

When you go down the shore, you always bring a cooler of some sort. It's just law. So that happened. When you go to Tiki Bar, you stand in a conveyor line to have your ID checked, scanned, and then your bag checked. Any "illegal" items, you know, like a bag of PopCorners, or a water bottle,  are quickly confiscated. However, when you bring a 6-pack of beer {illegal}, 3 water bottles {illegal}, and a sheathed steak knife that's okay!

We all get a drink at the bar and then post up on the beach. Jenn got there first and picked a great spot. We set up, drinks are drank, laughs are had, conversation flows.

Fast forward to an empty beer can sitting by my beach bag. In full disclosure, I, or I should say we, because none of us actually thought about it, left it uncovered. All of a sudden Captain Douchebag {and his sidekick Tyler} comes over with his overly authoritative loudness and tells us "how it's gonna be". We had 2 options:

a) We search your stuff, take anything you have, cut off your bracelets, you're cut off for the day, and you can enjoy yourselves;


b) you can pack up now and leave.

We went with option a because we had just bought our third round so really, whatever dude. Maybe an hour later the nicer of the duo returns to tell us that "typically we give people 30 seconds to get their stuff and leave" but they were being nice by allowing us to finish the round that had arrived during confiscation but "you ladies need to leave". Excuse me??? I promise you that we all had something to say about this. Mainly, that's not what we were told.

The fun part about this second interaction was that Dani was up in the bar to use the restroom. The rest of us decided we'd finish our drink when we finished it because F that. We paid to get in, yes we broke a rule, but we had already bought several rounds and were planning on buying more, plus food. Not to mention not one of us was rowdy, loud, or disrespectful to others.

Maybe 15 minutes later, #2 of the dynamic duo returns with some other superior who tells us we need to leave right now. We explained that our friend had gone to use the bathroom and we were waiting for her to get back. Nope. She was basically being detained from returning to the beach to collect her things. So in true asshole form I took my time folding up my beach blanket and packing up my stuff. When you're being personally escorted off a beach and out of a bar, you take your damn time.

If you caught me breaking a rule, you-1; me-0. I get it. You're doing your job. Here's the thing: be fucking nice about it! You don't need to be a douchebag and talk to us like we're trash just because we broke a rule. We complied with your request the first time you made it. Then you reneg on the options because someone "upstairs" {seriously, Tyler said this} won't like that we're still here. Oh, I'm sorry. Did you just realize you lost money by taking the bracelet so now you need to kick us out? 

Fun fact: Tyler took this picture... pre-kick out
Takeaways of the day:

a) like mother like daughter;
b) we're rowdy bitches;
c) there's a first time for everything; and
d) if you want to get kicked off a beach and out of a bar sometimes, you know where to fine me.

July 21, 2015

Summer Book Challenge: Check In

Until I saw both Kay and Kristen's posts I was under the impression that this was set for August 4th. I feel like I missed a memo somewhere. In any event, I've read several of the categories on the list.

I changed my mind about which books to read half a dozen times. I even started some and quit because I just couldn't get into them, but I'll save that for another day.

As for the rest of Summer Book Challenge, I think I'm doing pretty damn well. The challenge ends September 21st and I've read the majority of my books. I strayed - far - from my preliminary list.

A YA book {mandatory}: That Summer / Sarah Dessen

Synopsis: For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

Thoughts: I stumbled on That Summer by Sarah Dessen while at the library one night. After reading Saint Anything I knew this author was a new favorite. This was a quick read {208pgs for the hardcover edition} but it was a decent story.

A book with a kickass female character: The Lovely Bones / Alice Sebold

Synopsis: The spirit of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon describes her murder, her surprise at her new home in heaven, and her witness to her family's grief, efforts to find the killer, and attempts to come to terms with what has happened.

Thoughts: I'm glad I gave myself 2 choices for the female lead category because this was more to my liking and I read through it quickly. I liked the way the story was written and although it's a tragic story, some things {like why she can't "move on"} made sense in an earthly sense.

A book that is or will be a movie/TV show: Orange is the New Black / Piper Kerman

Synopsis: With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424—one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

Thoughts: I had zero interest in watching this show but after learning that it was originally a book {aren't they always?} I decided to listen to OITNB through Hoopla {a free audiobook program, fyi}. I'll admit that following the book I started watching the show on Netflix. Let me just say, the book is MUCH better, as they usually are. But for entertainment purposes, I get why the show is unfolding the way it is.

A book with a one word title: Joyland / Stephen King

Synopsis: College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever. 

Thoughts:This was my first Stephen King. I didn't want to pick one of the crazy large ones for obvious reasons and opted for this instead. I read it in a single day. As far s enjoyment, I think that says volumes because I don't remember the last book I read in less than 24 hours. Even though this book isn't "scary", there were moment I found myself looking over my shoulder. He truly is a great storyteller.

A book about summer or with summer in the title: Summerland / Elin Hilderbrand

Synopsis: It's June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny's friend Demeter Castle are unhurt--but suffer tremendous emotional damage.

Thoughts: Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors so I knew she was going to take the summer category. All her books are set on Nantucket, in the summer. She's pretty much the queen of the beach read. I really liked this book as well and finished it quickly. Her books all read easy and I like that she tells this story from different POVs.

If you want to read other reviews, or to see what's in my queue, you can find me on Goodreads!

July 17, 2015

Anniversary Wish List

In honor of Nordstrom's annual anniversary sale starting today {for non-cardholders} I thought I'd be lazy post about my anniversary wish list.

Back when I worked at Nordstrom {did you know that? #funfact} I used to check out the catalogue and all the sale merch weeks before the sale even started. I'd make my list and figure out how I was going to get what I wanted on my lunch break.

The whole point of anniversary is to showcase the new fall arrivals at deep discounts. It's also a great way to rack of those Nordstrom points. Every year I always find a bunch of things I want... this year is no exception!

2015 Nordstrom Anniversary Wish List

1/ These Dolce Vita boots are sooo gorgeous. When I saw these I immediately said I was buying them come August 1st. {179.90}

2/ These BP 'trott' booties are a must have. I don't own a nice brown pair and I know I'd get a LOT of use from them. They're only $79.90 for the sale.

3/ and 7/ Because you never know when you need to smooth things out! I really like the Spanx thigh shaper {$27.90} but think the slip dress {$37.90} would be a better option so there's no spillover.

4/ The hat I brought home from Jamaica is looking pretty tired after taking a few swims in the ocean. I dream of a fun/flirty fall outfit with this one. And it's only $17.90!

5/ Is there such a thing as too many tote bags? I think not! I need, okay want, a nice cognac tote. All my bags are black. {31.90}

6/ I really like this style. It's perfect all week long for work or with jeans.

8/ Ok. Maybe this is my inner Snooki talking but I'm loving this leopard moto jacket. I know they say not to buy stuff like this because it's a one-season wear but there's just something about it. And really, does leopard ever go out of style?

9/ Lounge pants also never go out of style. The ones I have definitely need to be retired and I'm a sucker for stripes.

10/ If there's one pair of jeans I will willingly pay full price for, it's KUT from the Kloth. This brand fits like a glove no matter what size I'm at. And I think they're pretty affordable and hold up to rigorous wear and tear. {$52.90}

Aside from all 10 items, I really do want to buy something from my list. I come off my spending freeze the day before the sale ends {fate?} and I'm looking to buy items 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10. Total it comes to $248.40, which I think is a steal since full price it would be a lot closer to $500. I'm really not looking to spend $300 either so which items do you think I should get, and which should I pass on?

And then of course there are the other items....

Over Budget Nordstrom Anniversary Wish List

1/ I could afford this, but I'm not spending $104 on a dress. Not even if it is on sale. #notsorry

2/ I really want a pair of real diamond earrings. These Kwiat studs are the perfect size for me. And they're "only" $798.90. smh...

3/ You guys, I can't even begin to tell you how gorgeous these Frye boots are. I'm not a Frye junkie but these are just beautiful. I mean, look at them! Aren't you drooling?

4/ I just really love the color of this Mackage moto jacket. I have a non-quilted one in both cognac and black and I wear them throughout fall. Pretty much up until it's parka season.

5/ God, they're gorgeous. These Michael Kors are crying to be in my closet. Unfortunately, I have a pair of knee-high leather boots (pointed toe) and I never wear them. Mainly because the heel taps need to be replaced... but that's besides the point.

6/ I'm a HUGE fan of my Longchamp Le Pliage tote.

So there you have it. My possibilities and pipe dreams. What do you guys think? Are you shopping the anniversary sale? Thoughts on the items in wish list #1??

July 15, 2015

The Downfalls to Office Life

For the past 9 years my job, regardless of where I have been, my job was in an office. Compared to the alternative of working retail, I am A-OK with this. An office means set hours; a salary. But for all its perks, someone forgot to water the grass on the other side.

How Do I dress?
If you’ve ever worked in an office you might understand this. One day you’re wearing a sweater because it’s cold outside. You get to the office and realize you’ve miraculously arrived in the Sahara. The next day you wear something lighter only to be transported to Antarctica. No matter what time of year it is, you can’t win. Layers are your friend.

The Longest Hour
I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with an office environment but that last work hour is always the longest, especially during this time of year. It’s as if the clock is actually moving backwards.

This is Not a Bakery
Every office has one. The person who is constantly bringing in chocolates and baked goods, stuffing all those treats right in your face any time you walk into the break room.  Sadly, my willpower to say no to chocolate or a scone is about as good as Kanye not saying something stupid. 

Silence Is (not) Golden
I don’t care what anyone says, there is no silence like mid-afternoon office silence. It’s as though absolutely everything has stopped making noise. And then the phone rings and it sounds like an air horn went off in your ear.

No Soup Blogger for You
Sometimes Blogger is blocked, and really, that’s just a travesty. It's not blocked at my new gig so I draft often.

Elevator Traffic
Anyone who has ever been in a high-rise elevator knows this pain. You're on the 46th floor and you are headed out to a) get lunch, or b) leave for the day. It's at this precise time that every asshat in the building also needs the elevator so you make a stop at every. single. floor.

Office culture is definitely a different world. Sometimes you meet great coworkers, other times...well, see above. It's nice to have a set paycheck, if you're salaried, but regardless of how nice it can be there's no doubt that every day ends like this

July 13, 2015

The Lost One

You know those weekends where you wish time would stop stand still? I just had one of those. 

It's not that I did anything particularly interesting. No concerts, no beach trips. But it was a great, peaceful, fun weekend just the same.

But Monday has returned and back to the grind we go. I was continuing laptop and hard drive clean up when I found an unamed doc I had saved. I opened it and found a draft that never seemed to make it's way to the blog. We'll call it The Lost One. It's not anything extraordinary. But hey, if I took the time to answer the questions and draft the post, it deserves the edit and post time. 

Alyssa was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award and basically tagged all of Blogland for participation. As she said, who doesn’t love a good survey? I know I do so here are my responses!

1. What is the most frightening / most exhilarating thing you've ever done? 
To date, the most frightening thing I’ve done was probably when I just picked up and moved to NJ. It was on a whim after coming down to visit a now ex for the weekend. I went into Nordstrom and applied in their Salon Shoes department and was hired on spot. I moved 2 weeks later. 

2. If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
This question always stumps me. There are so many amazing people both alive and deceased that I’d love to just sit and talk to. I’m cheating and naming a few: Judy Garland; Audrey Hepburn; Clark Gable; Michael Michelle {obviously we need to discuss our shared name}; and George Carlin.

3. If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would it be?! 
As a kid, and even now, I always wanted to be on Wheel of Fortune. It's not really reality per se, but it's as real as a game show can be. I'm just good at it. I even had the handheld game. As a teen I wanted to be on The Real World. How fun/crazy would that have been!? At  this point, I seriously hate reality TV.  

4. If you could travel to one place (money not an issue) where would it be? 
Does everywhere constitute as a place? My travel wish list is so long there’s no way I’d be able to see all my places in any meaningful manner in one lifetime. One of the places that I’m interested in seeing that’s not a “typical” choice is the Czech Republic. Granted photos can be enhanced but the city of Prague looks beautiful. Plus, the Sedlec Ossuary is there. That’s been on my wish list since my 2002.

5. Tex-Mex or Chinese food?!
Tex-Mex all day errryday. As Jim Gaffigan says, “"I'm convinced that anyone who doesn't like Mexican food is a psychopath."

6. Would you rather wash dirty dishes or do the laundry, including the ironing? 
Believe it or not I would rather do laundry for days than have to wash one dish. I loathe washing dishes. It dries out my hands so I wear rubber gloves; it’s tedious {didn’t I just wash these yesterday?}, and it’s time I could be doing something else. At least when I’m doing laundry I throw it in and can do other things for 25+ minutes. And the folding? Not so bad. I’m one of those freaks that can actually fold a fitted sheet and make it look normal.

7. What's your most embarrassing childhood memory? 
Ha! I’m clearly in a good mood because I’m actually going to share this. So there I am in my 3rd grade class. This week the room is in a horseshoe shape. I have no idea why that’s relevant, but I remember the detail. The problem: I had to fart. Fast forward and of course a fellow classmate called me out on it among our little corner. I tried to play it off as if I was just making mouth sounds. You know, when you puff out your cheeks? I’m pretty sure no one believed me. 

8. Are you a hot or cold weather person? 
My personal motto, Mo’ hotta, mo’ betta! I livefor summer. Don’t get me wrong, I like the chill of fall and feet { yes, feet} of snow, but summer was my first true love.

9. What are you deathly afraid of? 
I actually don’t have any fears. Not in the sense that people have phobias of spiders, snakes, heights, etc. I just don’t. What I ammost afraid of is failure. And really, I think that’s more self-imposed. Who says what makes me a failure other than me? So I guess that makes me fearless :)           

10. Would you rather watch movies at home or at the theatre? 
Let’s see… get dressed, spend money, be around people OR couch, pjs, wine? You tell me.

The lesson from all of this? Maybe I should start naming and.or dating word documents. 

July 10, 2015

Why I Let Go of my 101 in 1001 List

I started my list on August 15, 2013. It was set to end on May 12, 2016. I gave it up on July 7, 2015.

First and foremost I am a list maker. It keeps me organized, lets me gets my thoughts and ideas out, and there’s a very real satisfaction to crossing things off once completed. This was the mecca of list making.
All 101 items are things I truly want to do, see, and accomplish. I separated everything by category: money, travel, food, etc. so that the list itself was organized. As of July 7th I had crossed off 34 tasks, which put me a little over 1/3 completion.

So why did I let it go?
The list was becoming a weight of aspirations. Did I do an item on the list? Did I check it off? What haven’t I completed yet? What do I need to finish? That’s no way to go about doing things that I desire to do. Instead of being fun it became tedious. If I don’t complete the entire list part of me feels like I failed.

When I saw the “let go of a goal” item on the minimalism challenge I immediately knew this was going to be the one. The 101 list stopped being enjoyable. It wasn’t challenging or motivating. It was a dark shadow looming over me, mocking me if I didn’t do it.

So I washed my hands. Granted, I do still want to do the things on the list, but I’ll do them in my own time. And if I don’t, who cares. Because really, it’s not important that I read 101 books or see a movie for every letter of the alphabet.
When I look at those type of tasks I see them for what they are. Fillers. Things I know I could do that didn’t require any real effort. Sure I love to read, and I greatly enjoy watching movies, but it’s like the movie Inception, they were just another layer of lists.

But now?....

July 08, 2015

I Confess...

It's been a while since I've gone to confession, so here we are. Confessing things.  

+ Some days I want to just pack up my sentimental belongings, my clothes, and my fur kids and just bounce. I want to be on permanent vacation.

+ I took my daily lunch walk down 6th Avenue last week and noticed that there were more people than usual. Sure it was gorgeous out but there were people everywhere

+ I really dislike not being able to buy what I want when I want it but I know that putting myself on a ban was the smart thing to do. 

+ Occasionally I get so tired of working out. Sometimes a well timed stomach virus would be great.

+ Although I swore I'd never do it, last week, for like 5 minutes, I entertained the idea of moving back home. 

+ I think I'm ready for it to be fall now. I hate walking to work only to be coated in sweat and I'm tired of smelling hot, urine soaked streets during my lunch break. 

+ I think I want to get rid of my heels. I never wear them anymore because a) I have no reason to, and b) I've reached old lady status and no longer live by the mentality of 'who cares if my feet hurt, my shoes are hot!'

+ I'm counting the days until Labor day weekend. Not because I have plans, but because it's time off from work. 

You guys, I think I've officially entered the dog days of summer. Woof!