Monday, April 30

Manic Monday Part II

"Comparison is the thief of joy"-Teddy Roosevelt. Just in case you already forgot this post.

After getting back from a fantastic weekend in Austin, my dad and I picked out and purchased many plants to finish up the patio re-do.  During that time, he explained to me that I want to plant evergreens to last all year long, multi-years, and add in some annuals for color each season.   I picked out a few multi colored or variegated plants, some grassy plants, and a couple purple clovers.

My roommate and I spent under 1 1/2 hours out there after sunset, and look at the finished product!  We topped it off with some reddish mulch.  Mulch costs just barely $4 a bag and helps fight weeds and drying out.  My area (the length of all the edging measured at 33') required 3 full bags of mulch.

Now we're working on finding some good Adirondack chairs and a small table for well as an excuse to have friends over!!

Check back to the older post to see the nasty before pics if you need a reminder of how far we've come.
Friday, April 27

Finally Friday.

Off to Austin for a bachelorette this weekend and totally jazzed about it.

Finally Friday-Is that how you feel? In case you're wondering, it's totally how I feel.

What's been on my mind is something a little more close to home, and serious. 

The quest for perfection. As my cousin said "our biggest demon".

It eats you too, doesn't it? (Just nod yes anyways...) I am constantly in my own head...telling myself to work harder, that it's not enough, that I need to be better.  I read this article sent to me by a great friend, and this really hit me:

Why, when we know that there's no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone?

I really struggle with this.  I am the hardest person on myself. I always told my parents-no worries, you don't have to punish me, I've already done that. I drown in guilt, in doubt.

This, my friends, is the evil of perfectionism. This is NOT the same as striving to be our best.  So let's take the guilt/comparison/self loathing out of perfectionism and turn all of that into motivation and positivity so we can channel our efforts more efficiently and effectively. Easier said than done? Yep.

Comparison is the thief of joy-Teddy Roosevelt

Wise words.  That has been my theme this past month. 

Another great part of the article:

What's the greater risk? Letting go of what people think -- or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?  So, how do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to embrace our imperfections and to recognize that we are enough -- that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy? Why we're all so afraid to let our true selves be seen and known. Why are we so paralyzed by what other people think?

We are wired to want in our deepest desires to love, to be loved, and to belong.  Women actually have a harder time believing they are WORTHY of love (surprise, surprise).  We create a laundry list of "to-dos" because when those are checked off, surely we'll be more worthy. Lose weight, work out, cut hair, climb Everest, do laundry, wash windows......STOP!

We have to have the courage to put our vulnerability on the line, embrace our uniqueness and imperfections, and use them to strive to be our best, instead of wanting to destroy them. 

I don't think I realized I was going to write such a serious post, but this has been on my mind for WEEKS and the article was sent to me today.  Whenever I make a mistake at work, or home, or with friends, or family, I beat myself down.  I apologize several times.  But you know what? We ALL make mistakes. NO ONE is perfect, even if they try to make you believe they are.  My talents are different than others around me.  My imperfections are what make me whole. All of this makes me human, worthy of love, and striving for courage.

So stew on that, why don't you. Maybe a little at a time we can chip away the walls that we're holding ourselves in, and let go of all that tension.
Thursday, April 26

Thrifty Thursday-shopping in stores

I promised. And I'm delivering. It's great how that works out sometimes.

When I shop, I get things from all over.  It really just depends if the item is cute, wearable, and fits well.  If the price is high, I'll ponder the purchase longer. If the price is low, it can be bought on a whim.  I think people know where to buy the pricier things (JCrew, Madewell, Banana Republic, Nordstrom) but it's hard to dig for the budget-friendly items.

1) Forever 21. Caveat: do not enter store if you have to: go to the bathroom, eat something, or take a nap.  This is a marathon, not a sprint. Endless racks and endless shoppers fill the store to the brim but ahhh! There's one last stripe tunic top you have your eye on....go get it.  Just make sure your purchases are age appropriate.

(1), (2), (3)

2) H&M. We now have two in Dallas! I got a great silk top there this weekend, for less than $25.  This place will have one pattern in 12 different silhouettes, but surely ONE of those will suit your shopping needs.

(1), (2), (3)

3) Target. You know you love it too! V Necks for under $10, summer dresses for just over $20, and a plethora of swimwear.  You go to pick up eggs, and walk out with a wardrobe.  Plus did you realize they make great work out clothes?!  Some of the cuts are the same as Lululemon for a fraction of the price. Plus they have a whole section on their site devoted to neon swimwear-swoon!

(1), (2), (3), (4)

Any other places you like to go for budgets?  Next week I'll post about some of the best online shops...which can be so dangerous. "I'll buy all these and return the ones I don't like" turns into "I love everything!"
Wednesday, April 25

Work Wear Wednesday

This week JCrew and Madewell both brought out new arrivals that will knock your socks off. I'm inspired to brighten up my work wear with their neons, neutrals, and patterns.

Check their new arrivals here and here.  Below are my favorite work wear pieces!

Look one: patterned top, neon pants, and nude wedges (love those!)

Look two: Striped feminine blouse, bold pants, and animal shoes (don't try so hard to match!)

Look three: floral top, pencil skirt, and dotted shoes

I know ... you're thinking "these pieces are all so expensive!" I won't always show JCrew and Madewell.  Girl's got to live on a budget so don't think for a second I don't shop at H&M, Forever 21, and Target...because I do.  And often.
Tuesday, April 24

Top Three Tuesday

I'm going to make Tuesdays the day of Top Threes.  Why Three? The only reasons I have is that it is shorter than ten and still starts with T to go with my theme. 

Today's Top Three centers around something I should be more ashamed about, but honestly can't help but be pumped up by it...

... Pop music

Uhoh, I think I just lost a reader forever. Maybe two?!

Top Three pop tunes I play on repeat this week:

3) Nicki Minaj-Starships
Initially I thought it was possible to stay away from Nicki.  But you get two British girls obsessed and Ellen involved, and I start to pay more this video for some reason gets me awake on my morning car ride like none other.

2) Just Bieber-Boyfriend
I know, I know. It's Bieber. But...he got together with Timberlake and I thought I'd give it one listen. Then it started to get out that most of my friends were listening to this song on I succumed to the Bieber fever.

1) Carly Rae Jepsen-Call Me Maybe
I know that this song is very "girl meets boy and starts obsessing over him after 32 seconds in an almost creepy way" sort of song...but I can't help but love it.  And play it. Loudly. In my car. Most days. You should too.

Ok I'm going to get back to work and play the YouTube station I made that happens to contain these three songs and more similar gems.

Happy popping!
Monday, April 23

Manic Monday.

So I've been thinking that I want to "theme" each day of the week, and thus, each day's blog post. I think it'll help keep me on task, instead of (as I told Grace this am) starting a post about the bitter diatribes of single life and the dating world and hitting delete-delete-delete 76 times, giving up, and posting about the latest baked good I ... baked.

Today is Monday, which almost always makes me feel manic.  I feel like most often this day's post will include happenings from the weekend, which I was still living, instead of being back inside my cage cubicle.

Saturday I began the day in a very girly fashion by getting my hair did.  I actually looooooove how it turned out! I chose Sydney's color and will try to take a better pic as the week progresses (but I'm not making any promises).

After that I got an oil change (ahem, they added on new air filters...goodbye $74) and then an adventurous trip to Lowe's. I don't know about you, but the weather in Dallas this weekend was ideal.  Mid 70s at its height on Saturday, so I knew I needed to work on my dishelved patio.  I walked into Lowe's and admitted I needed assistance.  The nicest man helped me procure 11 of these to install myself, and 3 extremely  bags of gardening soil.  (Side note-he said "who is going to do all of this?" and I said "you're lookin' at her").

Toot toot!

Here's the part where I toot my own horn.  I dug out the old edging that was remaining (I'm pretty embarassed to show you the before pictures) and dug space for edging insertion all the way around.  Then I put these clever rows of cedar half-logs around the patio.  It looks SO CUTE... Side note, the salesman showed me plastic edging for a while until I proclaimed "but it's not cute". Ha.  Then I spent time cutting a hole in the bag of dirt and dragging it around to spread.  Next I had to till the land...hello? Tilling is TOUGH! My palms and biceps are actually quite sore even today.  Finally I fixed the lights strung around the tree and did a good sweeping to get it all in order.

This week I buy plants.  More pictures to come once it is a garden oasis back there.

And now photos...Hair...and patio..what a cohesive post!

I'm sorry Grace. I know I'm kind of frowning in the pic below, but can you blame me? It's already Monday again!
 Alright I'll tryyyyyyy smiling. Don't you feel awkward taking photos like this?
 This is the before pic.......that's the old plastic edging...and empty pots (I haven't purchased plants yet, remember?)
 Ew. I'm embarrassed.

Tada!!! HOW GREAT does that look? Oh shoot...I took this BEFORE fixing the lights...well give me a day or three to re-take a better picture.  :)
Friday, April 20

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink

Favorite quote from one of my favorite movies.

I am not a wearer of pink, ever.  My debit card is pink, and that may be the only item in my possession that is.

But then comes neon can you resist it?! It's's's daring...and I love it.

Here are the current hot pinks I'm tempted by:

and yes, I want all three.
Wednesday, April 18

Celebrities who should be couples

I read this great post today that Grace tagged... and I couldn't agree more.

(1) I mean, Zooey D is already my favorite home girl...then you add Jason Gordon Levitt and forget it! They're quirky and hipster-y and crazy cute, but claim they're "just friends". But then they wrote a cute New Year's Eve song together.. sigh.

(2) The second cute "friend couple" is Taylor Swift and Zac Efron. Yes I realize he's young...but I too have a fairly significant crush on him.  They were seen together on Ellen recently where she had just taught him how to play the guitar, and they performed a little duet on the show.

The other celebrity match making/baby making/wishful break ups this blogger lists are still important, but the highlights were the above two for me...don't you agree?
Friday, April 13

Hair help.

I need hair help.  I went to get it dyed recently, and the color did not take very I may be going back quicker than planned.  It's such a hard decision...coloring your hair.  What is the trend? What will the sun do to it? Is this too dark? Is this too light? How does my complexion look?

So.. I'll show you my current hair color... and then some options...and I'd love some input!! Pleeeeease. (see how nice I was there?)
(this photo was taken by my cousin. she's great. and cute!)

and here are some options.  (ps I have an entire pin board dedicated to hair styles.)

 the sultry, dark option:                                                           the red option (hard to keep red in!):
the sun kissed option:

Sydney has great hair, so it's obvious why I pick hers as an option. And, I have to say...I'm super impressed with Kristen Stewart. How great does she look in that picture!?

and slightly off topic (sorry I'm not sorry...!!), how cool is this cut?! My hair is so long now, I'm not sure I could get the courage to do this, but it would be gorgeous.

Sometimes your hair needs a face lift! Thanks in advance for your advice...
Thursday, April 12

All I do is bake

I bake a lot, which suits me.   I bring the fruits of my labor to work to share.  So much so that one of my friends' wife said I should collect cash for the baking I do.  I told her a couple more batches and I'm making the engineers pitch in for a Kitchenaid for me.

Moving on, here are the fruits of my recent labors, recipe found here on none other than Pinterest.  And...for once the cookies (I think?) turned out very closely as pictured!

I used the "Rainbow Jimmies" from target and mixed them with the batter...mmmm
Wednesday, April 4

New arrivals at Madewell that I love.

i love madewell's fresh faces and simple silhouettes in their new arrivals.  and if money grew on trees, these would all be in my closet STAT.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Tuesday, April 3

To try.

I'm struck by this image. Her face---the rusty blush...the bright lips...the full brows. Then, her nails! Must fine a mustard polish. Has anyone tried?!