Pinspiration: What’s Inspiring Me

It’s a sleepy Sunday morning for me! I woke up, rolled out of bed, washed my face, then went straight for the coffee maker. Above the coffee maker is where we keep all our mugs. Mom and dad’s mugs don’t occupy nearly the amount of space mine do. I’m pretty sure they’ll be happy about all the space available to them after I graduate. I usually grab my “Keep Calm and have a cupcake” mug but today I went with my Vera Bradley mug. Fascinating, right? I poured my coffee and added some pumpkin spice latte creamer to it and then sat down to write this.

Most of you can probably guess that I’m the queen of Pinterest. I love to pin! Clicking on the pin and seeing where it takes you is half the fun. The photos people take are always amazing. For me, it isn’t a waste of time either. A lot of what I pin inspires these posts. Today is no exception. Here are a few of my pins that are inspiring me right now:

Check out all of these and more on my Pinterest page!

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Warm & Cozy Weekend

warm_and_cozySaturdays are made for relaxing and recovering from a stressful week. Unfortunately, my Saturdays usually have me working. With Christmas coming, I know my boss is going to be scheduling my weekends packed with work. Now that the temperature is dropping into the 30s, I hate leaving my house period for any occasion much less work. Anyway, for those of you who do have today to yourself, here’s 8 things that make my chilly days-in worth waiting a whole week for.

1. A Starbuck’s Gingerbread Latte

2. Fuzzy Ugg Mocassins

3. A plate of warm cookies

4. A flannel shirt (if I could find one that would look cute on me)

5. Christmas with the Kranks (fave Christmas movie!)

6. Cutting out paper snowflakes

7. Warm, cable knit blanket (this one is from Ikea)

8. Bath & Body Works candles

What does your perfect Saturday include? 

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Nails for the Holiday Season

nail_colors_for_autumn I have a love for painting my nails and with the holiday festivities coming up it’s only going to get worse. I find the best deals on nail polish from good brands like Essie at Marshall’s. At most I pay about $4.50 for Essie or O.P.I. there. I have quite the collection! I’ve compiled 6 colors that are worth wearing in the next 6 weeks that bring out the warmth of the season (ironic, right?) The brand I chose to go with for the purposes of this post is Zoya.

I chose gold and burgundy for the rich undertones in them. Gold reminds me of champagne and giving toasts and the burgundy reminds me of the wine at festive dinners.

Navy blue and forest green were my second favorite color combo because they’re often seen together in tartan plaid. It’s an age-old classic that’s sewn into big, warm blankets, scarves, and the Scottish kilt.

My third choice was a little more modern and icy, if you will. The gray brought in the chill of late Autumn and early winter while the purple embraced some of the non-traditional colors of Christmas.

What I like to do is paint my nails one color but leave out the ring fingers on both hands. With those fingers I paint them a complimenting but different color. For example, you might choose the navy blue as your main color but the green you would use on your ring finger. Sometimes I add a layer of silver or gold sparkle onto that. You can never have too much glitter, right?

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A Week in Review

Good morning and happy Thursday. I hope my posts brighten your day a bit and maybe even inspire you. I love going through Instagram or my blog feed and reading what other people are saying. It usually gives me that extra skip in my step to get my day going. Everyone needs something to groove to!

panera_breadThe last week has been relaxing and I’ve truly enjoyed it. Just sitting around and not doing much of anything is a luxury in life and I don’t take it for granted. Starting Saturday my life is going to get busy really fast. Not to mention Thanksgiving is next Thursday and I for one am looking forward to it.

Sunday I spent the day with a friend and we went to Panera Bread. I got tomato soup and a turkey and cranberry flatbread sandwich. It was a nice combo and just enough to satisfy me. I hate feeling overstuffed! You can just look at your stomach and see how it has expanded in the last hour. Getting on a treadmill seems like a great idea until you realize that the food hasn’t quite digested yet.

I also spent a little time shopping around town. I live in typical faux_fur_headbandsuburbia the only difference is that we don’t have many good places to shop. The nearest mall is 45 minutes away. The nearest nice mall is about 90 minutes away. So when I say I’m shopping what I actually mean is going to Target and maybe Marshalls. Anyway, I found the cutest little head band at Target and it’s made to look like fur. It’s on my Christmas list now.

keep_calm_and_eat_cupcakesThe rest of the week has been filled with a lot of sitting around and drinking hot beverages while updating the blog and sending out my resume. Did I mention it’s hard to find a job right now? I’m graduating in 3 weeks and the job market seems to hate me at the moment. I’m getting a tad nervous! It’s times like these when I wish I could jump up and marry a rich man so I wouldn’t have to worry. I think this elevates me to gold digger status though. Oops.

I’ve also been going through my closet and seeing what dresses and little_black_dressprofessional clothing needs dry cleaning or tailoring. I tried on this lacy, black Express dress and am debating on whether I love it anymore. It has become my go-to dress for events but I’m not sure if it still flatters my figure. Opinions please!

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Blogger Challenge: Create a Look Around a Sporty Hat

Happy Wednesday y’all! Today, I’m doing something I absolutely hate- going to the dermatologist to have treatment done for my Hypohydrosis. For those of you who have never heard of this, it’s basically where your body produces too much perspiration under your arms. For me, it happens when I’m cold and my body is trying to warm me up, which makes no sense given that when you sweat your body is trying to cool you down. Anyway, the procedure goes like this: the doctor fills an applicator full with Botox and at the end of the applicator is a thin needle. The doctor then inserts the needle in about 30 different spots under each arm. Yes, this is painful and yes, Botox has been proven to work for conditions like this. I had it done back in March and it worked very well but over time the Botox wears off and you need another treatment. Wish me luck please!

preppy_essentials In other more pleasant news, Fanatics.com and I teamed up to create a stylish, preppy look surrounding a hat that had a sports logo on it. Here’s my creation surrounding my love for the Baltimore Orioles. I chose this hat because it’s chilly outside and a hat with a pom pom on it just says “winter” to me. Pairing it with a few preppy essentials like a puffer vest and riding boots really makes the look sporty with a New England feel.

I’m a pure bred American and I love baseball so anything with a baseball sports logo on it makes me smile. My grandpa used to play on a farm team before he had to quit to take care of his family. That was back in the 1930s. You’ll never guess what the farm team eventually became: the Baltimore Orioles!

This hat is going in my winter wear collection. Fanatics.com has apparel for all MLB teams as well as other sports teams as well. My lovely hat and others can be found here.

Have a fabulous day!
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Kate Spade Wish List

kate_spade_giftsHappy Tuesday beautiful friends. Yesterday, I spent most of the day drinking coffee and lounging around in sweats. The weather was icky and I’ve discovered that nothing looks pretty soaking wet. On the bright side, I made my Christmas wish list! Sort of. Everything on it is just a bit too expensive and any parent or friend who spends this much on their loved one needs to know that money won’t buy you love! I will admit though, that I love these products. However, what I’m really paying for when purchasing them is the name that happens to adorn said product. And unlike other style bloggers, you won’t see me sporting my brand new $350 handbag or $400 ballet flats in a cute style post or Instagram photo (#jealous much, Liz?) My life is just too realistic for that. If it weren’t so darn realistic, then this is what my wish list would look like:

1. Cedar Street Large Monday in Dynasty Red- $198

2. Leather Bow Gloves in Deco Beige- $128

3. Garden Drive Jewelry Box in Black- $40

4. Small Square Studs in Glitter Navy- $38

5. Daisy Place Medium Square Dish- $40

6. Animal Print Tiny Metro in Cheetah- $150

7. Toast Flats- $228

8. Skinny Bow Belt- $78

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#Hustle to Have It All

One of my best friends posted the funniest thing to my Facebook wall yesterday. I literally think most girls can relate to this struggle that seems never ending:

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It’s true isn’t it? The Kate Spade handbag is a favorite of mine but way too expensive. I could eat cookies all day, but then I couldn’t wear skinny jeans anymore. And every boy I ever liked takes forever to text back. I’m sitting here asking myself why life is like that? I think it might be because no matter what, we always want what we can’t have.

I could go on and on about the things I don’t have (or can’t have) that I want, but I think you all immediately understood what I was saying. It painfully resonates in all of us. Yesterday, I went to get coffee at Starbucks with two good friends and in the long line of waiting people was this gorgeous girl who had the expensive things I wanted, could probably eat whatever she wanted and stay skinny, and judging by the huge diamond on her finger, the guy she wanted DID text her back. In my pangs of jealousy, I came to the realization that there is no reason why I can’t have the same things. I started to admire the girl. She went after what she wanted and got it.

I made a little pre-New Year’s Resolution for myself. I’m going to work hard to have the pretty things I can’t afford, sweat more to eat the tasty things I love and still keep my figure, and am going to go for the guys that seem out of reach. There’s no point in living if we can’t live the way we want.

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Through the Eyes of Young Me

when_life_gives_lemonsI was thinking earlier about all the illusions I had as a child of what being an adult would be like. I found myself laughing at quite a few of them. For some reason I had the crazy idea that there would be no rules, I could eat cake whenever I wanted, and spend money on whatever I wanted. Oh how wrong I was! Although, I could eat cake whenever if I still had the metabolism of my 7 year old self. I lost that a long time ago.

I came up with a list of a few things I totally got wrong as a teenager wondering what adulthood (particularly life in my 20s) would be like. If you care to, read on and see if yours match up with mine!

10 Misconceptions of Being a 20-Something (through the eyes of a teenager)

1.  Life is not like an episode of The Hills and you are not Lauren Conrad. No one has time to go out every night and no one has the money to. Work attire will also consist of more than jeans and a blazer.

2. After college you will have an entry level job. Your cubicle (because you don’t get an office for a few more years at least) will be next to someone who either wears too much perfume or not enough.

3. Because you hoped the college years would last forever, they abruptly stop after graduation because everyone got their “ring by spring”. From now until you’re about 33, engagement, wedding, and baby announcements will be in your mailbox or inbox daily.

4. Finances are worse than when you only got an “allowance” from mom and dad. At least then you only had to budget for two things: your next trip to the mall and the movies.

5. Eating healthy will still be just as hard for you now as it was when you were at college, not to mention just as expensive. A fresh salad topped with almonds, strawberries, and balsamic vinaigrette will always be pricier than the mac and cheese a few aisles down.

6. You realize that the 5-year plan just turned into “go with the flow” because no matter how hard we try, some things just don’t turn out the way you wanted them to.

7. There are more rules now than your parents ever had for you. Most of these rules are unwritten and through trial and error you will learn them.

8. No one cares that you were captain or president of anything in high school. They might care about it if it was in college, but only if it somehow benefits them, otherwise it really doesn’t matter much.

9. The short shorts you wanted to wear but your parents said “no” to are now socially unacceptable unless you’re going to Wal-Mart or the beach. They aren’t a statement piece for your outfits anymore.

10. You will not be driving a Mercedes-Benz or Audi. You’ll still be driving the car you bought in high school or one your parents are lending you.

Does your list match up with mine? Let me know in the comments!

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Taking Photos for Instagram or a Blog? Here are 8 Things You Need

Do you want to know one major thing I’ve noticed amongst all big-time bloggers, Instagrammers, and Etsy-ers? They all know how to take great photos and use props to enhance them. If I had a dollar for every time I saw a photo on Instagram using something sparkly or something with texture I’d be driving a convertible.

Seriously though, what makes some of their photos so great? It’s how they set them up. Here are 8 props you can add to your blog/Instagram pictures right now!

Props for Pictures

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The number one thing people seem to be using is sequins or glitter! As annoying as those little things can be at times (they stick to everything), they really make a photo look pretty! Sprinkle them around the key items in your photo for an added pop of cuteness.

Another thing I’m seeing is colorful paper straws. This was especially popular over the summer. Etsy store owners are laying them beside their prints and artwork as a way to enhance the colors in the art.

To illustrate the business of their day, bloggers are using stationery and notebooks. You’ll see these items on their desks laid out as if they were mistakenly left there.

Flowers, particularly Peonies, are being included in photos as a natural way to enhance and add color to an otherwise neutral palette.

Candles have been making appearances in many Instagrammers “lounging around” type photos. You know the pictures I mean- where the picture includes the bottom half of her pj pants, socks, coffee, laptop, twinkly lights, and a lit candle.

Expensive make up is also being haphazardly laid on a desk or vanity. If the item the blogger wants to highlight is pink, then she’ll use pink lipstick. If it’s gold, she might use red lipstick.

Finally, macarons are here to stay and for good reason- they photograph nicely. With this pastry, there isn’t much to capture other than the edges of these delicate treats. They sit in a picture to fill up space but they look awfully darling doing it!

Lately, I’ve also been using coffee mugs, jewelry trays, and jewelry in my pictures for Instagram. It seems to work depending on the quality of the image. A key element is having natural light. No fluorescent lighting! Ever. It adds a yellow glow to the image instead of a nice white one. A white background is also best.

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How I’m Paying Back my Loans Early

Today is the last warm day of the season I’m thinking. While parts of Minnesota got 40 inches of snow, my hometown in Maryland sported a breezy 68 degree day with abundant sunshine. Towards the end of my afternoon I noticed the breeze was getting a bit brisk for my taste. I don’t do brisk. I do warm breezes and sunny days. As much as I adore mittens, warm coats, Ugg boots (I know, so tacky), and PSL from Starbucks, I just prefer 75 degrees and a shorts and hoodie combo. How chic, right?

In my efforts to embrace the coming holiday season, I splurged at Starbucks and bought their new Chestnut Praline Latte and a snowman cookie. All I can tell you is to try that latte! I’ve never had a drink from there I enjoyed so much. The cookie, eh, well it was made in a factory far away from here and doesn’t have that home-made sugar cookie taste. But, hey, it’s sugar. I’ll take it!

This time of the year I enjoy window shopping and taking a look around stores to see what Christmas-y things they have on their shelves. I have the worst time restraining myself. Today, I think I did rather well. I’m trying to save money for after my graduation when I have to relocate to who knows where. Spending money is so easy, making money is next to impossible. In my endeavors to do the latter, I found a few freelance writing gigs. Now, if I could only get people to respond to emails faster then I know I would be on the fast track to getting out of the red.

Speaking of getting out of the red, if you’re like me you have some student debt to pay off from college. I’ve always wondered how on Earth I would be able to pay back every cent I owed to the government, but I’ve found a clever way to do it that I bet you’ve never heard of. It’s called FundUcation.com and this website hooks writers, marketers, designers etc. up with short-term freelance work with small businesses. The cool part is each time you get paid for a job the money you make goes directly towards your student loans. When you sign up, the website will ask for your lender’s name and your account with them. After you get your first job done, the payment will sync with your account and pay back some of your loans. The jobs don’t pay thousands, but they do pay up to $100. I talked to the founder of the website, Chris, and his vision was to make paying back student loans easier and faster.

There are so many brilliant people out there and I’m working my hardest to be one of them. Do any of you have clever ideas on how to make money? I’d love to hear them. Comment below and share with your besties!

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