Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Thing about 2015

Kensington Palace, 2015 Reflection, Lululemon Vinyasa Scarf, Palace, Tourist, London

I'm going to be very frank about 2015, there were a lot of ups and downs but there was an extreme amount of lows compared to highs. It kind of sucked.

2015 was not my favorite year. In fact, besides the obvious trips, I have a hard time liking anything about this year. I would say the lowest of the lowest happened and I'm the most excited for a New Year than I ever have been in my life.

This year was too fast, too stressful and I didn't make enough mistakes. I hardly felt like I've lived at all and the only thing I have to show for it is my beautiful trip to Europe with my Mom. Other than this trip, I have been fighting hand over fist trying to figure out what in the world I want to do about it so I've decided to do a recap of what I want to look forward to for 2016 and what I want to change.

Roman Baths, Smiles, destress, mental health, happiness, focus, you, laugh, be happy, be yourself, adventurous

Smile More - Stress is a B****, let's be real. My stress level hit an all time high this year and my goal is to never get that stressed again. I am going to try and find an excuse to smile, laugh and be completely ridiculous at least once a day to maintain a healthy mental lifestyle. I've decided to bookmark favorite funny youtube videos for these moments.

Kensington Palace, Stairwell, art, mural, beautiful, art work, art history, royals, royalty

Do What you Love More - I can't express this one enough. My favorite subjects have always been art related. Theater, Music Class or Art Class. As an adult, it's a treat and a delight to be able to practice these skills. Even to go see a ballet or your local city's Art Museum on the first Thursday for free. It's a little gift to yourself and you can do it inexpensively. I could honestly stare at an art piece all day without looking at my phone and it was one of my favorite pass times through out all of London, Rome and New York. I'm planning to pick up the guitar, learn french, take a painting class and put together a routine for working out.

Leather, sewing, stitching, unseeing, crafting, blogging, affari, lulls

Have an Affair - This one sounds crazy but two of my other blogger friends were talking about their blogging lulls this past winter. Work has been busy! One of them mentioned that they loved the idea that blogging, or something that you love but don't have time for, is like having an affair. People who tend to have affairs often say they don't have the time to do anything outside of work or be with family/friends but somehow they have time to have an affair on the side because it's something they want and it's somewhat suspenseful (The idea of getting caught). If you want something enough, you'll make the time (whether it's 2am) to do something you enjoy doing that no one needs to know about.

Kona, Hawaii, Fun, Boat, Hotel, Beach, Private Beach, Nintendo House, palm trees, paradise

Having Fun - Very similar to smiling but this one is just getting out and living happy. I love getting out of the house to run, rock climb, paint, etc. This year I've been in a rut with working on that. I want to focus on paddle boarding in the summer, taking a mini vacation to LA and Hawaii. I want to learn to snow board and just live my life to the fullest. I realize these all cost money and I'm getting to that soon. I also want to be more adventurous and open to dating.

Northwest club, 5k bibs, running, father daughter, bonding

Family & Friends - Make the damn time. I don't know if it's because I keep getting older or because I have a younger sister that just left to study abroad for three months but this is a big one. It was an upsetting realization that I could really only email her when she has wifi and it makes me very nervous. My Dad and I ran an easy 5K on Thanksgiving together and I think we bonded a lot over it. All because we did something and completed it together. It's something we'll always have. Now we're working on our next goals! Make the time. Life is never long enough.

London Red Bus, Traveling, Adventures, Notting Hill, Downtown London, mental health, balance

Adventures/Travel - This is a big one for me. A girlfriend of mine caught on rather quickly that I need to travel in order to keep my mental health balanced. I think it's because I am the type of person that needs to always be learning something. When I stop learning, it's a problem. I get stuck in a rut and think there is something wrong with me and then the insults come flying in. Adventures give me an excuse to plan, save, book and work towards something. Some people love cars, I love castles. It's as simple as that. I want, at least, one big trip a year.

Mom and Me, shadow, self, giving

Giving - This one can be whatever you want it to be. This year, I had the unbelievable opportunity to take my Mom to on a trip. I saved up for years so that we could afford nice hotels, three tours and meals. I gave this gift to my mother and we both got a lot out of it. This one sounds selfish because I got a trip out of the deal too but both of our hearts were filled throughout the entire experience. I also do my best to give up one day a month to volunteer at the Boys and Girls club as apart of a non-profit organization that I'm involved in. It's been a terrific experience and those kids get way more out of my 4 hours than I would have spent at home. Giving is what you make of it. I always learn from them and I hope they learn something from me.

wine, appetizers, apps, sauce, financial truth, eating out, dinner, meals, self

Financial Truth - During one of the training classes I'm in for the non-profit I belong to, my peer said that her new mantra is to try and "Live within her Financial Truth". I can't tell you how much I love that. It's hard being a woman living in the city, especially by yourself. Dinners, Happy Hours, Drinks (alone), gifts for new babies, homes, weddings, and just basic care is expensive. We all need to focus on ourselves financially because realistically how are we living in a society that 3 out of 4 people are in financial debt? You can't spend money that isn't there. It's really just borrowing. My biggest goal is to work on savings to travel and to put aside for my future self.

These are my reflections from the past year to help make my 2016 the best that it can be. My biggest goal is to make this year better than 2015 and I honestly don't think it will be hard. Any tips? Feel free to comment below. I want to hear them all.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Simple Wrap

Gifts, Christmas, Christmas Gifts, Presents, Christmas Presents, Craft wrapping, Wrapping paper, christmas wrapping paper

Written: While watching Broadchurch S2E1

This has been one of the hardest Christmas Shopping experiences I've ever had. If not, ever!

It took me weeks to nail down exactly what to get everyone in my family. Not to mention on a budget too. I had to go back to two stores to make returns because I way over bought for my brother and sisters. It was really heard, by the way. It's completely natural for me to overspend on people because I love giving gifts. However, focusing on myself is something I've been trying to work on. Particularly with my finances. I'm trying to "live within my financial truth". Which is a mantra that I will be taking with me into the New Year.

As for wrapping, this has been the same!

I decided to buy a big industrial postal wrapping paper, instead of using standard Christmas paper. The first reason is because I love how brown paper looks as gifts. It reminds me of a rustic cabin that's in the woods surrounded by snow. It was a dollar more than Christmas wrap and it has more paper and it's thicker. Which, in short, means it's reusable!

Gifts, Christmas, Christmas Gifts, Presents, Christmas Presents, Craft wrapping, Wrapping paper, christmas wrapping paper

The yarn was left over from a project I started. It was very inexpensive and I'm pretty sure I bought it at Joann's Fabrics. The other string is actually ribbon, which I got at Michael's. I searched online before I got to the register for a promo code and I found one for 40% off one item. I used it on Mod Podge but the point is that I searched for on first! Haha. 

It's a good habit to get into. In store coupons/promo codes. Mark that one. :)

Gifts, Christmas, Christmas Gifts, Presents, Christmas Presents, Craft wrapping, Wrapping paper, christmas wrapping paper

The pom poms were easy to make and, I think, are a sweet little touch to one package per recipient. I used a single bow tie on the others. Including hand made tags from the wrapping paper.

Are you ready for the holidays??

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thriftmas Sweaters & Leathers

Written from: The Dinning Room table with Lady Grey Tea

It's that time of year where I've walked into my closet every morning this week and not had an ounce of inspiration.

As a creative mind, I know something is wrong when I get bored and I need to fix it, immediately.

This is one of my favorite excuses to thrift. I love being able to hunt through old things and discover a whole new style by adding it to my collection.

This trip I was looking for a few winter sweaters to get me through the typical rainy season. I mostly went to see if I could find any inspiration for a new project however, I walked out like a bandit regardless of my mission.

As always, I set a budget for myself because it's Christmas and I shouldn't be spending money on myself. I figured I could make a bit of an exception because I was technically upcycling. Regardless, my budget was $35 and I walked out spending $29.17.

I tried on a lot of clothes, mostly because I'd been on the hunt for dresses and also because I was just trying to get inspirited again. Its an interesting thought. I suppose mostly people turn to pinterest for their daily dose of creativity but I love old vintage mysteries and accessories so I get mine from a thrift store.

I left with:

- 2 Sweaters
- 2 100% Leather Skirts
- 1 100% Leather Boots

I feel as if I struck gold finding those boots. Plus, one of the skirts (the one that is FAR too small for my waist line) was $2.50. I'm pretty positive it's going to be apart of my next project. If you follow me on pinterest, you might have a guess as to my upcycling inspirations.

I'm very excited about it!

Where do you get your inspirations?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Oh Thriftmas Tree

A very exciting trip to the thrift store yesterday. I'm very excited about my finds and more so the level of creativity I received from it. I was every where in that store. I probably could have stayed all night had their leather jackets been less picked over.

Alas, I gave myself a time limit and a budget and genuinely stuck to it! #NailedIt

I tried on a lot and surprisingly walked out with less than what I thought I was going to get. It really boiled down to a fight between an Athletica dress (below on the right) and a pair of Leather Boots from Brazil. Guess who won. I bet you can't guess!

I always had so much fun shopping by myself. It's my time to really be creative and let my wheels spin on how I can incorporate items into my wardrobe with something old or just a little worn.

Below are some not so great pictures. More to come on my winnings!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Holly Jolly Reds

Chanel: Rouge Allure - 99 Pirate, Dior: Diorific Mat - Holiday 2015 Limited Edition - 750 Fabuleuse, Ciate London: Olivia Palermo Satin Kiss Lipstick Limited Edition - Velveteen, L’Oreal: Color Riche Collection Exclusive Reds - Blake’s Red, Too Faced: La Creme - Jelly Bean
I don't wear enough lipstick. I'm sure men would beg to differ. I heard that men don't necessarily like it when women wear lipstick because they have a fear of it getting on them. I think it's absurd but than again, I'm a single lady.

One of my greater joys during the holiday season is the amount of red lip colors that come out. My past post on 5 Fall Lip Shades is a dead give away on my obsession with lipstick and the number 5. Even though I rarely buy a tube of lipstick over $5 (ah hem), I can't help but dream about each one of these! I'm dying to try out that Olivia Palermo Velveteen. It's such a luscious red. I can see that being one of her personal go to colors. I'm definitely going to try and it out at Sephora.

Did you notice the gold trend?!

These designers are after my heart and my money. I love a good gold accessory. Tell me why I wouldn't love a gold tube of lipstick? The Too Faced packaging is on point for the holiday season. Have you seen their holiday gift set this year? Anyway, This beautiful bell gold and the name, Jelly Bean, is too lovely not to adore. It makes me happy and gives me a sweet tooth thinking about it. It's a red that will make your teeth look whiter and I like the thin tube design because it can fit in any "on the go" make up bag or purse pocket.

The Dior seems to be a statement piece and I feel as if it's meant to live on top of your dresser.

What's you're favorite red for December?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Winter Lull

Getting back in to shape, running, outside, seattle, washington, fall, leaves, cars, sidewalk, run, get in shape, work of it, fence

I can't believe how fast December is going by. It's almost stressful to think about Christmas being around the corner. This winter I was not prepared for the stress it was going to cause on my body and due to that, I've slaked off in the one area I generally pride on: Myself.

As a result, I'm trying to start a new routine this winter because I know it's only going to get worse. We are headed into vampire season. For those of you non-pacific north westerners, that's when you get up in the dark and leave work... in the dark. It's my least favorite time of year, despite Christmas. I'm a warm climate kind of gal all the way. Thank goodness I can look forward to layering.

As I was saying, I'm trying to start a fitness routine that I can stick to again. It's been hard for my in the past. I used to get up, go to the gym, run 3 miles and then go to work. It was hard then, it's hard now. We'll see. Maybe I can make it into a habit.

I think the key is going to bed early... which I'm also not very good at. I'm working on it.

New Challenge:

  • Get up Early
  • Work out Hard
  • Eat Healthy (Hence my board re-org on pinterest)
  • Keep Positive Mindset
  • Believe in Oneself

I've done a few challenges in the past, like the Booty Challenge and the 30 Day Crunch Challenge. If there is one thing I've learned it's that I am NOT an abs person. I really hate crunches and I think it's because they were punishment back in my color guard days in high school.

SQUATS though, are my jam. I could do squats all day and love the burn. I want to find a routine that focuses on my shoulders and gaining muscle. I'd like to get back to where I was pre-sprained ankle.

I have been adding a lot of work out motivational pins to my motivation pinterest board. Check it out if you're in the same boat. Stress is the ultimate killer. I swear, if it weren't for yoga and weights I don't know what I'd do.

Is anyone in the same boat as me? What do you do to start a new routine? What works for you?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Alice and Olivia Sample Sale Review

Written: From my Bedroom while drinking Camomile Tea

Gems! I've seen the light! I've finally found the one thing in the whole world that might be a complete and total game changer on my pros and cons list for ever moving to New York.


They are not an Urban Myth! How do I know?

I got up early on my last day in NYC to hop on a 6, from the East Village, to meet my dear friend at a Sample Sale on 5th Ave. Apparently these are events held often. Sometimes you will need an invite and other times it's a free for all.

I got there about 10 minutes late. The doors had opened AND on the last day... Which makes me believe that the first day was a complete and utter cluster, if you know what I mean.

When I arrived I had to check my bag in at the door. They gave me a number to hold on to while I walked around. There were about three bouncers doing coat check so I felt pretty safe about my stuff being held on to. I also kept my phone and my wallet, for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately with all of the commotion! And catching up with my lovely gal pal, as she taught the ways to the ultimate designer budget shopping, I didn't snap any pictures inside! No joke, I deeply regret. I will do my best to explain.

Instantly I could sense that this was not the first Sample Sale held at this location. Everything was set up so nicely and price points were laid out everywhere on chalk boards. All clothing was nicely hung up and were grouped by sizes and items, sample sizes to a 12, I believe. Like, literally 0 (xxs) to 12s and then blouses, dressed, skirt, pants and gowns.

Y'all, these prices were insane for what I was looking at. The prices were slashed to $29.99 to ... $520, I think. I saw a $1,600 gown for $450. I saw a $450 dress for $111.00. I felt a sheer panic run through me as if I hadn't prepared for this moment my entire life.

I saw this Cohen Military Coat for $200 bucks. Originally $550.00.

Naturally I grabbed everything in my size that was going to be wearable. By this I mean, something I could wear to work or to a cocktail event for JLS. However what I was not prepared for was the dressing quarters. Folks, this was crazy. There were about 15 women in a small area trying on clothes in front of people and it was a mad house. Women checking out the other's dresses and no filter asking for it when they were done trying it on. I had a woman see me in an adorable mod dress that I was considering but the zipper was missing in the back (definitely a sample item). She practically took it off me. Waited and waited for me to take it off. I'm much too nice of a person. All well, it just wasn't meant to be.

In the end I was going to walk out with about 5 items until I narrowed it down to 1. Yes, one beautiful while drape top that's fussy on the inside and that I will probably need to dry clean but it's okay.

I bought this Air by Alice & Olivia Top but in White. The Sample Sale Price was $35.00 and the Original Price was $165.00.

I'm happy with my one purchase. All in all, I survived my first sample sale without going crazy and I stayed within my financial means. I'm rather proud of myself!

Next time, New York, I'll be prepared for you!

Kiss, Kiss!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's the Holiday Season in New York

Written from: An East Village Airbnb off of 3rd, New York City

This week has been exceptional. It's been so enlightening. Even though I'm exhausted from meeting new people, working and learning, I've been cultured by the graces of Manhattan. I've been able to act like a tourist and yet I've also been able to experience the city as a local. Especially by staying at this airbnb my last few nights.

I knew New York was expensive but I didn't know it was reasonably expensive. I've discovered that it's really what you make of it and how you live your life. There are some great breweries that are inexpensive and lively without the judgement of fashion or character.

I'm a Pacific Northwestern, through and through. This is hard to admit, but I really like New York. It's a city of culture and love. It's a pool of people from every nationality imaginable! It's truly one of the front lines of America. Plus, the food is phenomenal.

There was a lot of great timing on this trip. I was in for business and my friend also came in for business on Wednesday. We ended up staying together and meeting through out the week. I'm on day 7 and I don't have a single complaint except for a one stinky cab.

The city is beautiful this time of year. It's filled to the brim with lights, trees and shopping.

I was able to fit in four nights of friends. A girlfriend of mine from Florida moved up there 2 months ago. Another girlfriend from an old job did exactly what she said she was going to do, move to New York, find a job and get married (all within 3 years). A former co-worker and also new friends! It really goes to show you how wonderful of friends you can be with someone. I hadn't seen my old friend for 5 years and the other one for 3! Girlfriends really are the best friends.

Happy Holidays!