Wednesday, October 1, 2014

STYLE CHALLENGE II + MOSQUITOS


I was initially drawn to this location due to its isolated-ness. However, the moment Zach and I started snapping photos, every single mosquito in the Des Moines metro came swarming. Zach was all like, "Oh, they're getting me!" and he came away with what he thought was a bug bite (unconfirmed). I was all like, "Oh, they're getting me!" and came away with four confirmed bug bites.

Guess that means I'm sweeter or something...


These photos are from my second style challenge for J. LoVan. I'm sporting the dripping bow headband which you (yes, YOU) can win by following the two easiest steps ever. First, follow J. LoVan on Facebook or Instagram (still superspecialdoublebonusentry if you do both). Second, shoot me a quick lil comment below so I know you've complied with the first direction. This contest ends at 11:59 PM on October 5. 

As of now, you're odds of winning are pretty good, but who knows things change and maybe you'll miss out because you never tried and then your life will spiral out of control and you'll wish you could go back in time and take 30 seconds out of your busy schedule to enter this contest but you can't because you don't have a Tardis. 

Sweet Doctor Who reference, AMIRIGHT?


And just to prove that an outdoorsman I am not...

sweater | jcp last year // denim jacket | mng by mango (similar) // skirt | express (similar) // mostly un-pictured boots | tj maxx (similar)

Monday, September 22, 2014

STYLE CHALLENGE + MY VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY


Call this my 'season premiere'. 

Summer kept me occupied with pretty much everything except writing. And that's ok, because, like I said way back in April (when Summer (that saucy minx) was just starting to tease us with her lingering sun and above freezing temperatures): MY BLOG. MY RULES.

A few weeks ago, I was approached by Julia LoVan, designer/creator/mastermind of J. LoVan. She happened upon my blog and asked if I would be willing to style a few headbands from her current collection. Now, I have never done anything like this before, so I was both petrified and excited (a feelings combo I am well versed in). 

Julia and I met up for coffee and spent over two hours talking all things style, celebrities, and her many creative endeavors. Rarely one to just sit on ideas, Julia has dabbled in just about everything including working in the demanding L.A. fashion scene. She now specializes in accessories for men and women, home goods, and homemade body butter (which I didn't even know was possible, because the only thing my KitchenAid whips up is frosting). 

As the title of this post suggests, Julia is offering one lucky guy (no gender discrimination here) or gal a dripping bow turban headband, which I will be styling later this week. Entering to win this prize is easy-peasy, just follow J. Lovan on Facebook or Instagram (bonus entry if you do both!) and let me know in the comments section. This contest will be open for entry until 11:59 PM on October 5. Go out there and win something pretty!
button-up | ny&co. // sweater | i don't know // pants | ny&co. // boots | dsw forever ago // headband | c/o j. lovan designs

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

THE DAY OLD DONUT

My work week breakfast habits are woefully repetitive. Greek yogurt, berries, honey, granola. Every. Single. Day.

But that's how I like it. 

However, this morning was a bit different. 

As I opened a new quart of yogurt, both my eyes and stomach churned with disappointment. What was inside the container resembled something akin to melted ice cream versus that thick, sour cream-like consistency I know and love. Vowing to give it a chance, I constructed my breakfast. 

It was at that same time that I saw a day old, half eaten maple long john out the corner of my right eye. He (yes, he) sat alone in the pastry box which once contained twelve of his homies. Had it not been for my hovering boss, I would have taken that stale donut on the ride of his life. But I'm a professional, so instead I simply nodded at my future lover, promising to return, and walked away. 

Now I don't know if it was the texture of the yogurt or the promise of maple glaze in my mouth, but the breakfast I had assembled was even more vomitous than originally anticipated. But that's ok, because donut.

I heard footsteps in the kitchen and knew it just had to be my boss heading to his office. My time was about to come, you guys. Finally, after waiting literally four minutes, I could casually, yet swiftly, make my way back to my fried friend. Gospel choirs would clap and shout, the sky would fill with heart-shaped fireworks, we would both receive the final rose...

The face I saw approaching was not that of my boss, it was, for the sake of this story, a smug sun of a gun called Kent*. And in his grubby hand was something I loved. It was my donut. Kent's pace slowed (probably) as he passed my desk and took a clumsy bite out of my future. 

In a matter of seconds, my day old dream had disappeared.

*Real name

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ADVENTURES IN CAT WALKING


Putting the harness on her was less difficult than I anticipated. If we're being perfectly honest, I probably struggled with it more than Pennie did. However, once the leash was hooked to the harness, she began to exhibit bizarre, yet hilarious, yet sad behavior. This included attempts to jump away from herself (which ended in a wall collision), the refusal to fully stand up (opting to flop from side to side as if the harness were far too heavy for her to even consider walking), and the bone-chilling eyes of a cat calculating revenge.

Eventually Pennie's desire to explore outweighed her inclination to murder me right then and there. The next thirty minutes was both woefully uneventful and the happiest moment of my life. Zach described it as "an incredible demonstration of human absurdity and torture." In our first attempt, Pennie managed to flounder herself about twenty feet from the back door, making sure to chew on every patch of grass along the way (which resulted in a few grass-laced hairballs later on). Day two culminated in Pennie clothes-lining herself after realizing she had wandered all the way to the front of the building and could no longer see the back door.

Based on her initial reaction, I was certain she would fight the harness every time. Luckily I have the most intelligent and beautiful cat in the entire world (don't try to convince me otherwise) and she has taken to the process quite well the past week. To limit trauma, I typically just sit with the harness in hand until she comes to me. It hasn't taken more than a minute or so each time, though she still has a mini panic attack once everything snaps in place.

You can look forward to a reasonable amount of updates as this exploration in cat walking (AKA my new favorite hobby) develops.


And for any haters, Pennie has this to say:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

REUNION

In the months leading up to my 10 year high school reunion I have...

Panicked about what outfit to wear (still haven't decided)
Logged extra hours at the gym and felt guilty about bad food choices
Worried that no one will remember me, or worse yet, have bad memories of me
Had an existential crisis about my accomplishments in life (or potential lack of)
Flip-flopped about whether or not to attend no less than five times
Confirmed that at least three of my best friends will be there so I'm not sitting alone in a corner eating french fries

One may argue that I'm a bit high-strung (I am) or that the anxiety I have experienced is unwarranted (I know). 

The idea of being old enough to attend a 10 year reunion seemed nearly impossible when I graduated, but sure enough, time continues to forge ahead. Over the years, my imagination led me to believe this would be a time for everyone to come together and finally get along, to toss aside their former teen labels and begin new friendships. In my mind it looked a lot like the final scene in The Breakfast Club sprinkled with the cast of Saved by the Bell and the unforgettable dance number from Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.

However, as the event draws nearer, I am becoming acutely aware that the scenario I assembled in my mind might not be real life. Not due to a different roster of characters, but because of my own insecurities. While I would never claim to have had an abnormally difficult high school career, I endured my fair share of (subjective) hardships. False rumors were spread, boyfriends broke my heart, girls poked fun at my shape, and I was in band (but I loved band). And much to the horror of my present self, I fought hard on a daily basis to earn the approval of all my peers.

To quote Angus, my favorite movie of all time:

"As for what anybody else thinks, always remember these words and live by them: screw 'em!"  

Unfortunately, I'm not always great at taking the best, and often simplest advice. I have been fixated on the opinions of others for far too long which has directly affected my ability to  experience the joy of the present, of now. Knowing this about myself, I have spent the better part of my twenties learning to be content with myself and to rely less on how everyone views me.

Once again seeing the people who knew me at my most awkward has me resorting to past fears and left me with an embarrassing desire to impress. All of a sudden I'm back in braces and wearing too much Bonne Bell bronzer (pro tip: bronzer should never be used as a replacement for foundation unless you want to look like a tan Edward Cullen in the sunlight). I have obsessed about who will attend and whether the other kids will like me. 

Growing up, my mom preached the importance of treating everyone with kindness and respect. She shared a story about being nominated a homecoming queen candidate in college (beating out the "very cute girl with huge boobs"). And while I was never the homecoming queen, the concept of being nice because you never know who is paying attention has stuck.

An equally profound piece of advice was shared by our high school principal. "Don't let high school be the best years of your life," he spoke. "Don't refer to these years as your glory days and don't let high school define your future." It was some of the most hopeful and sincere insight I had ever heard. 


While my celebrity-filled, after school special reunion fantasies may be far-fetched, I am attempting to ditch the prior judgments, grudges, and preconceived notions of others. No one is granted a lifetime or popularity or relegated to permanent nerd status. 

At 28, I don't have it all together. But I'm learning to be ok with that. With the reunion just a few weeks away, I can only hope others accept the imperfect version of myself that I have come to appreciate through the years. 

And if not, well, "screw 'em."