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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Interview Clothes

So today I have a job interview for a really cool job with a cool company (more info to come!) and I've been thinking quite a bit about interview attire. I spent a big chunk of time last night steaming different pieces for potential outfits. I need to leave the house in about 3 hours and I'm still not 100% sure what I'll be wearing. I don't own a business suit and don't have much desire to get one since I mostly freelance, so my options are dresses, nice pants and collared shirts, or a pencil skirt.

I think I'll decide when I get out of the shower.

If I had unlimited funds and time to shop and an office outside my house to work in, these are some pieces I might consider for an interview/work wardrobe ( and not necessarily all together, either).

I don't own any of these pieces, but I think they'd be a good start to a professional wardrobe. What do you guys wear to interviews or to your job? Is your workplace very conservative, or can you have fun with your clothes? My favorite part about working from home is the freedom to dress however I want-- I can wear yoga pants one day and a dress the next if I want! Well, I'm off. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 Skills Every Woman Should Have Before Turning 30

I used to intern for YourTango.com and part of my job was retweeting interesting posts to readers from sites like TheFrisky.com, so when I saw this post on TheFrisky, I thought it would be a thought-provoking topic to discuss here. I think I've got a handle on quite a few items on the list, but there are some that I have yet to do. How much of your personal style do you think gets rolled up into your skills and talents?

It also got me wondering about what else might be useful by-30 skills. Thoughts, my friends?

List from TheFrisky.com:
(Italics = skills attained)
1. Hard-boil an egg 

2. Diplomatically tell Mom to butt out
3. Ace a job interview (talk to me on Thursday after I ace my interview!)
4. Ask a man out
5. Send a thoughtful thank-you note (try 1 million thoughtful thank-you notes after my wedding!)
6. Listen to a friend in need
7. Ask for help (Does telling my husband to clean up the kitchen after dinner so I can attend a skype editorial meeting count?)
8. Effectively end an unhealthy relationship (romantic or platonic in nature)
9. Beautifully wrap a gift
10. Say “no” gracefully
11. Whip up a great dinner with the five items in her fridge
12. Forget pleasing him, by 30 a woman should be able to tell her man exactly how to please her
13. Sew a button
14. Mix a kick-ass cocktail
15. Take off her bra without removing her shirt (can't we all do this?)
16. Apply lip gloss in the dark
17. Balance her checkbook
18. Create a budget
19. Find the best deal (I was born cheap.)
20. Negotiate a salary and/or pay raise (Then I quit because it was a horrible job.)
21. Read a map
22. Hail a cab
23. Say something in French just for the hell of it
24. Apologize when she’s wrong (This is a skill for EVERYONE.)
25. Dress for her body type
26. Change a flat (or know whom to call to come change it) (AAA is my savior.)
27. Spot a fake (handbag, diamond, potential friend …)
28. Feign interest
29. Know what to tip on a $25 dinner bill
30. Hold a baby (Hey, someone you know is bound to have one sooner or later.)

What else should be on this list?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dream Backyard

I just found this photo online and immediately started thinking about my dream backyard. The lights, the gorgeous seats, the movie screen-- love it all.

My heart pitter-patters for this gorgeous patio from re-nest.com:

The bright pops of color in this backyard are lovely:

And we have to have a fire pit, obviously:

Right now our yard is pretty sad. We have no grass, we're waiting for our cesspool to be dug up and changed to a septic (which will tear up the yard), we need to put up fencing to enclose the yard for the dog, and we have no landscaping going on.

I'm looking forward to getting our hands dirty this spring and summer as we transform our blah backyard into a little sanctuary. Might not look as nice as these pictures, but it will be just right for us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Blue & Yellow Summer Wedding

I think a wedding says a lot about a couple's style. Matt & I got married last August on the most comfortable, sunny, non-humid day of the summer. Our colors were yellow and cornflower blue and we had our pictures taken at the beach (which, coincidentally is down the street from the house we closed on 3 days before the wedding). Our wedding reflects our love of the summer, the ocean, nostalgia (I wore my grandmother's pearls, we rode in a vintage-looking trolley), our simple style (nothing too over-the-top or crazy for us, thanks!) I thought I'd share a few highlights!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freakin' Funny Friday

I love humor. I love a good laugh. I love situations that shouldn't be funny but totally are (church giggles, anyone?)

That's why I'm starting a new Friday series called Freakin' Funny Friday where you'll get to see people and things that are just... freakin' funny. Why? Because it's Friday and sometimes we just need a good laugh, ok?

Also just because I find so many things funny and I love sharing them. But hopefully not in that it-was-funnier-when-it-happened-but-not-so-much-now-that-I'm-retelling-it kind of way.

So for my first Freakin' Funny Friday, I'm going to introduce you to Grace Helbig of Daily Grace. She has  My Damn Channel and YouTube pages where her daily vlogs are posted. And she's freakin' funny. I don't exactly know how I stumbled upon her, but I've been watching her videos and cracking up. A lot. Sidenote: you might want to watch these videos from the comfort of your home instead of at work, and if you're easily offended by foul language.... sorry.

So happy Friday to all of you! I hope your weekend is the bomb diggity and perhaps you can make it even better by making some Daily Grace Bacon Infused Vodka after watching this video, hmm? Let me know how that works for ya.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Ever Awkward & Awesome Thursday!

Over at The Daybook, a blog I seriously love, Sydney posts her awkward and awesome happenings each Thursday. It's always fun to read hers, so I'm going to take part. Besides, there's nothing else to talk about BECAUSE IT SNOWED LAST NIGHT and I'm in a very fragile emotional state because of this. It's best to discuss other matters.

-Buying green bananas at a small, local health food store and having the sort-of-strange cashier laugh and say "You know, I don't think these will ever get ripe. They've been sitting there like this for a week." And me saying "....Oh? Well... should I still get them?" And she shrugs. Thanks. Best part? I got home and looked over my receipt and realized she didn't even ring them up. So maybe that's more awesome than awkward!
-Reading emails on my phone and intending to write back on my computer...and forgetting to do so. For days.
-Cooking a heinously ugly chicken pot pie for dinner. Like... not-even-a-mother-could-love-it kind of ugly. My husband was diplomatic about it though-- he said he still really liked it and it doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside as long as it's good on the inside. Which it was. Ugly pot pie, FTW.
-Getting excited for a few weeks about seeing the ground again and spring coming... and then waking up to snow. It sucks when you get that spring-momentum going and it screeches to a snowy, gross halt.

-After a great phone interview, getting an in-person interview for a job that I really really really want.
-The classic, sleek bun my hair is in today thanks to two Goody Spin Pins. Glamorous hair & yoga pants are what my day is all about today. That's lazy for ya (I blame the snow).
-Feeling a renewed spark for the novel I need to keep working on. The ideas won't stop coming!
-Working out 3 days this week so far and feeling sore but awesome. I'm determined to look good in my sun dresses this summer.
-Wearing my beloved rain boots with pajamas this morning when I took the dog out and not caring who saw as they drove by. Whatever-- if it has to snow, at least I can slip into rain boots instead of snow boots. Those suckers are packed away in the basement. Forever. Til December.
-My husband. That's it, he's just so awesome. We have fun sitting around at night listening to music, watching YouTube videos, talking about our days. He rocks and I never miss the chance to remind him of that.

If you want to take part, you can link up your own Awkward & Awesome Thursday post here!  

Two spin pins are holding this masterpiece in place. Genius.

Some days you just need sleek hair... like when you're feeling too lazy to plug in the hair dryer. 

It could be a bit higher I think. Next time I'll try that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Does that title work? I might be stretching it there, but whatever. You get it, right? Spring inspiration... spring-speration. Right?

Let's go with that!

The weather is forecasting snow today and tomorrow here in the northeast and I'm not very happy about it. To counteract bratty winter and its refusal to just leave already, nobody even likes you anymore, I have decided to ignore the snow and focus on some spring inspiration in my immediate surroundings. Why? Because sometimes you don't even have to leave the house or buy a darn thing to feel the pulse of nice weather and green grass. Spring's a breath away... I can feel it. So this snow is just a minor speed bump (and as of right now, it hasn't fallen yet or accumulated or anything, so... here's hoping).

Here's my spring-speration today:

Holy bike baskets, I want this CB2 bike bad. But alas, I already have a bike and it's only 2 years old and there's nothing wrong with it, and this one costs money while mine is, well... already paid for. But regardless, those bright yellow wheels and that ADORABLE basket make my heart flutter and remind me of all things spring: bike rides, our engagement, farmer's markets, sunshine. You know, good non-winter stuff.

Ulta had a sale last week so I stocked up on spring-friendly nail polish. The peachy coral color on the left is currently on my fingertips and it's lovely. The pale pink and red are so vastly different, but they both scream spring to me. The mint green? Well, that's for fun. And to ward off winter. The bracelet was one of a set of I bought last July to wear for my bachelorette party. Paired with my coral dress, they were perfect and still remind me of warmer days.

My brother and sister-in-law got me this card & adorable notebook for my birthday. I have to get cracking on that novel, now! This was one of the most thoughtful gifts ever. 

The card is so me. It has an e.e. cummings quote that I adore: "The world is mud-luscious and puddle wonderful." Yes, yes it is. I love my bro & sissy so much for this awesome gift!

My friend Jacey sent me a book of short stories all the way from Georgia and included a little note. I loved the design at the top of the note because it reminded me of a wild garden of flowers. 

This Old Navy scarf from last spring is the best thing ever. Isn't it?? The colors are very me and I adore the pattern along the edges. Paired with a crisp white top or a carefree sun dress would be total spring perfection, no?

What's your spring inspiration? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

6 Tips for Having the Most Productive Weekend Ever

This past weekend was one of our most productive since we moved into our house in August.We did a ton of spring cleaning, but still had time for socializing & pizza, church, a serious workout, and a trip to The Christmas Tree Shops. Here's how to do it.

  1. Divide and Conquer. My husband tackled the office (which had turned into a dumping ground for anything and everything that didn't have a home) and the basement, while I tackled the living room/kitchen/dining room. We got so much more accomplished because we were focusing our efforts on different areas of the house, rather than working together on the same space (which usually leads to chatting, pondering the placement of certain things, etc). We also worked all day. After breakfast on Saturday we got started and wrapped up around 6pm, at which time we ordered pizza and ran out for some booze. Then my husband's brother and his wife (my talented, artistic sister-in-law, Lisa) came over to hang out. The best part? The house was clean!
  2. Be Systematic. I think the best way to approach cleaning is with a plan. I like to start higher up and work down (example: wiping down kitchen cabinets, then cleaning counters, then washing the floors).  I also do one room at a time and don't move on until that space looks how I want it to look. Having a system that works for you makes the cleaning process move much faster, which is always a good thing.
  3. Be Ruthless. Do you need it? Did you even realize it was wedged in there behind five other things? No? Throw it out or donate it. This isn't the time to be a pushover; purge the trash and don't feel bad about it. And don't let yourself ponder for too long, either! Chuck it as soon as you realize an item is not crucial to your existence. Less isn't more; less is freer.
  4. Clean the Spots You Always Forget. We all have those usual places we clean; typically it's the more visible/higher traffic areas. But spring cleaning is the time to get up on those counters and scrub the tops of the cabinets, wipe down the topside of the ceiling fans, vacuum all the way under the couch, dust the baseboards you never see behind the TV console. In short: you'll feel better about cleaning if you take the time to focus on the places you pay less attention to. Plus that's less dust you're breathing in, and most people have a hard enough time with spring allergies without adding extra dust to the mix.
  5. Don't Take it Too Seriously. Unless you have someone coming through with a white glove to wipe a finger over your mantle and windowsills, don't take it too seriously. Get the work done to your satisfaction and move on; it's a living space... it will be dirty again before you know it.
  6. Schedule the Rest of Your Time/Work on a Deadline. We managed to fit a ton of things into this really productive weekend, probably because we scheduled it all. We knew we were having company over Saturday night, so we worked all day and knew when we could quit and kick back. Sunday was the same way: we went to church at 9, then ran to the pharmacy, grabbed coffee, and headed home to finish cleaning out the office. We knew we had to leave at 1:15 to go workout, and we planned on grabbing a few things for the office at CTS after that, so we were cleaning on a deadline, which helped us finish the office before we left the house. Cleaning on a deadline helped make us even more productive. Schedule something arbitrary if there's nothing on your calendar-- clean from 9-2, then stop so you can go for a walk or go shopping. Knowing that there's a set end-time makes you clean much more efficiently because you're forcing yourself to hit that deadline. Or if that doesn't work, just invite people over. That always makes me want to clean!
Being able to see the top of the desk finally? Priceless.
Hopefully these tips will help you turn your next weekend into a productive, fun 2 days! 

Do you have any spring cleaning strategies that help you get the job done efficiently and quickly?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day of Silence

I would have posted this sooner and truly kept my blog silent today, but I only learned about this Day of Silence this morning and I wanted to take part.
We all know what's going on in Japan is bad. Really bad. This may be a small way to take part in supporting them, but I think it's a good one.
Props to ever-ours.com and utterlyengaged.com for doing this.
Hope you all have a blessed, great day. Find at least one thing to be thankful for. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Grocery Shop & Cook For Two... Minus The Mold

We have a problem 'round these parts. It's called mold, and it's striking our expensive produce before we have a chance to consume it. And I'm not happy about it. Mold is not our style.

There are a couple of reasons this is happening. I have Ulcerative Colitis and sometimes eating produce isn't an option for my stomach, while other days it seems fine (makes no sense to me either, folks). If my stomach is too sensitive for salad mix and vegetables, I leave it up to my husband to eat that stuff.

The other reason, which sort of relates to the first reason, is that we obviously have more stuff in our refrigerator than we can consume before it all goes bad. Last night we tossed so much bad produce (and some too-old-to-eat leftovers) that I was really annoyed. That's money in the garbage! And it's not like we don't try. We eat it and cook with it, but still throw away a fair amount.

No more, I say!

I'm tired of seeing mold. I'm sick of leftovers that don't get eaten. Time for a change.

This is what we're going to be doing to successfully shop and cook for two people while cutting out the wastefulness. Maybe it'll help you, too.

  • Plan! We've been planning our grocery list since we moved into our house in August, but we're going to plan an even tighter list now. I like to plot out our meals for the week (kind of necessary since I write a weekly cooking column, and one night a week our dinner is the recipe I write about). By plotting, I know exactly what we'll need. From now on, when planning the shopping list, I want to have a clear and specific idea of when and how each item will be used. If we're grabbing something "just because"... well, I need to know when it goes bad and if we will realistically eat it by then.
  • Reduce! By reduce, I mean scale down. As in, scale down the recipes. I'm a fan of allrecipes.com and grab most of our meal ideas from there. The problem is most of the dishes are for families of 4 or more. While I usually cut the recipe in half anyway, sometimes we'll make extra for leftovers... not a good idea in all cases. From now on, we make enough for two people to eat.
  • If you must leftover... leftover wisely! Sometimes the leftover thing works. My husband likes taking food from home to work with him for lunch, so when we have leftovers, he'll pack it for the next day. The problem is, he only likes to do this once (maybe twice). Besides, leftovers should be eaten within 3 days of preparation. Which means, between that fact and my husband's lunch habits, we can cook 3 servings of a meal and that would be just enough. So from now on, when we have leftovers, if we have more left than he can take for lunch, we need to plan when the rest will be eaten. In a timely manner.
  • Avoid impulse buys! This is hard since there's always something on sale that you can't help but scoop up "just in case," but come on. Impulse buys are dangerous; they add up and can wreck a shopping budget, and sometimes they're the very item that goes rotten before you can eat it. I'm sticking to the list unless I had a specific use for the impulse item.
  • Grow it ourselves! This one I'm most excited about. We're planning a vegetable garden, which means when we want produce we can grab it, prepare it, and not worry about it going bad. Frankly, I'm tired of how expensive produce costs at the store, and I'm paranoid about pesticides. So the logical solution is to grow our own food when we can. It may only be for part of the year, but I'll feel better knowing we're saving money and avoiding nasty chemicals. 
Hopefully this will fix the problem. I'm off to make my air-tight grocery list...

Do you have any money-and-produce-saving tips? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Would You Take Your Biggest Style Risk?

I've been thinking a lot lately about red lipstick. Maybe it's because spring is just about here and it feels like it's time for some fun. Or maybe it's because red is such a classic color that I want to infuse my look with a bit of that timeless class (I really enjoy timeless, vintage looks... a lot).

I really couldn't tell you where the semi-obsession with it has come from, but it's definitely one of the biggest risks I'd be taking with my style.

First of all, I don't wear lipstick. Ever. Just on my wedding day. Every other day, I wear lip balm. I don't even really do gloss or tinted balm. Second of all, I'm not the biggest fan of standing out or drawing attention to myself. So red lipstick really would be a completely new thing for me, and it definitely would be attention-grabbing. But, I really want to give it a shot.

Apparently it's important to know your coloring first and then pick a red. I think I've determined that I'm cool toned, since I have dark hair, dark eyes, and lighter skin. I'm not entirely sure, though... and I don't want to pick the wrong color and look ridiculous (even thought I'm pretty sure at first I'll feel ridiculous anyway).

The point of this blog is to explore what I love without reservations. So even if I don't normally wear red lipstick, I should still try it out because it's something I'm interested in, and I shouldn't let a little bit of fear and hesitation and self-consciousness stop me. Right?? Right! So I'm on the hunt for the right shade of red. Maybe it will actually look good and I'll realize it wasn't a huge risk at all. Besides, if nothing else it will be fun. And it's not like the world will end if I find out I don't like the look, or prefer my balm at the end of the day.

What is your biggest style risk that you're dying to take but are holding back on?

Tell me in the comments!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Your Couple Style?

Do you think you have a couple style?

It's not something I would have thought much about before I got married, but now I see that when you share a space with another person (even if it's your family or a roommate or a sibling), you are blending two tastes into one. Which is hard! It's hard enough to figure out what exactly you like sometimes, never mind complicating matters by adding another person's taste, too.

I got to thinking about this on Saturday. Matt and I set out to enjoy the early spring weather with a walk around Wickford, which is a charming little village not far from where we live. It's on the water and there are lots of little shops and fun things to do.

Isn't Wickford cute?? It's very historic. A quintessential old New England village, really. So we went down there to walk around and remembered that the first time I took Matt there 3 years ago, we had our aura picture taken at this awesome little new-agey store.

We decided to get an updated aura picture taken now that we're married to see if it's changed at all. It only takes a minute and they give you a paper that explains what the colors in your aura (or, in our case, our joint aura) means. Ours is full of white and blue light, which means we've got peace in our relationship and we're good at communicating. Neat, huh?

So it got me thinking about our couple style. We're still working on decorating and settling into our house and so far we haven't disagreed on any stylistic choices. We've liked different things, but always seem to compromise on something we both find appealing. Our biggest difference? I love color. He loves neutrals. What was really funny about the aura photo is that it kind of encompasses our mutual love of the color blue: the ocean, blue skies, all the navy clothes we both own, our great Ikea rug in the living room, the backdrop of navy in our amazing hand-me-down couches. I think in part we're both drawn to nautical colors, and blue is definitely nautical. For me, it's a great neutral that also works well with colors. I love yellow, and you can't go wrong with blue and yellow (just ask my wedding-- it was a blue and yellow fest!).

Knowing how our styles differ and blend will help us not only decorate our house, but will help us figure things out in our marriage. The fact that I love color sort of reminds me of how I can get really passionate and impulsive. His love of neutrals is similar to his easy-going, mellow personality. See?? There's something to this style thing, I swear ;)

What's your couple style like? Do you define it, or just go with it?