My Spring Style Essentials: the perfect sweater

My Spring Style Essentials: the perfect sweater

Spring is my favorite season. The temperature is just perfect for a light jacket or sweater, the sky is blue, and the flowers are blooming.  I find it so hard to be unhappy during spring time, because everything around you practically screams, ‘be happy!’

I also love how much longer the days stay bright.  My days involve being inside from about 10 AM- 6 PM and during winter, I am always so sad to leave work or class to find the sun has gone down and it is pitch black outside.  Seeing the sun at the end of the day gives me so much more energy.

My favorite part of spring though is the style.  People always talk about fall fashion, but I think they are missing out on spring fashion.  I love wearing bright colors, specifically pink and yellow, and love being able to do this during the spring.  I also love wearing navy and that usually doesn’t fall into the autumn color scheme, but is an essential for spring/summer style.

So, today, I am starting off my spring style essentials list with my absolute favorite sweater, the Tippi sweater from J Crew.  The sweater sells for $79.50 and is currently 30% off.

I love this sweater because it is so versatile.  It’s a really light cotton and it works beautifully paired over dresses or collared shirts, but also looks great on its own. I also love how bright and fun it is.  Here is how I am styling it right now for spring:

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I’ve paired it over a sleeveless summer dress I got from Gap two seasons ago and I love how it makes this dress functional in the cooler spring temperatures.

If you are looking for this style of sweater but don’t want to splurge on it, J Crew factory offers a version of this sweater called the Teddie sweater for significantly less money. Currently, a bunch of colors in the Teddie sweater are on sale for between $24.50-$34.99.  I own the Teddie in Navy and I love it, it’s slightly thicker than the Tippi sweater, but otherwise looks the exact same. Here’s how I styled my Teddie sweater this fall:

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To make this look work for spring, I would just get rid of the tights and change the shoes to a cute pair of flats or sandals.  I would also add a bright statement necklace to this look for spring to brighten it up a bit more.

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Sharing My Playlist for Life’s Most Overwhelming Lyrics

Sharing My Playlist for Life’s Most Overwhelming Lyrics

Yesterday was a hard day.  I felt overwhelmed in every aspect of my life– professionally, I have a big decision coming up and many interviews; academically, I had a paper due that I struggled A LOT with for my hardest class; socially, I get down on myself that I’m not a good enough friend because there are weeks where I feel like I don’t make enough time for my friends.  On days like that, self-doubt creeps in and tells me that I’m only overwhelmed because I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough. I know I’m far from being alone in feeling like I’m constantly fighting a little monster in my head– if you’re feeling this way, I want to remind you: we are stronger than that monster.

I turn to music when I’m overwhelmed to help me fight the monster. I feel like music can help me feel seen and understood so I’m sharing below five of my favorite songs that help me calm down and also, a link to my spotify playlist.

 

  1. Hold On by Shawn Mendes.  

 

Favorite Lyric: And it won’t slow down, no matter what you do, so you just gotta hold on.

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  1. Girl in the Movies by Dolly Parton.

Favorite Lyric: I want to be happy, I want to be free, just like that girl in the movies.

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  1. Flicker by Niall Horan.

Favorite Lyric: Then I look in my heart, there’s a light in the dark.

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  1. Inside Your Heaven by Carrie Underwood.

Favorite Lyric: When minutes turn to days and years, if mountains fall, I’ll still be here.

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  1. 1973 by James Blunt.

Favorite Lyric: I will always be in a club with you in nineteen seventy three, singing here we go again.

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Here’s my entire Spotify playlist, which I do periodically update and add new music to:

February Goal Check-In

February Goal Check-In

Can you believe it?  We are two months into the year already and it just feels like 2019 is flying by.  With the year rolling and the semester halfway done already, I feel this is a good time to do a goals check-in and set some goals for the rest of the semester.

Goal Check-In:

Goal #1: Plan Less: This was my biggest goal for the year and the goal I’ve seen the most progress on.  I’ve said goodbye to my Google Calendar, where I would plan out every single minute of my day.  I mean it– I would create time periods for sleep. Productivity was the name of my game, but I just ended out burnt out and unhappy.  With a less structured schedule, I’ve made time in my life for the moments you don’t always predict– the meetings that run over, the random run-ins and catch-ups with friends, and time to relax and breathe.  I’ve still got a LOOOONG way to go on this goal, as I usually can still be found making plans weeks in advance and still have a pretty stuffed calendar, but I’m getting there.

Goal #2: Spend More Time with Friends: Whenever I get busy, I tend to isolate myself and only spend time with the people who directly relate to whatever I’m busy with, whether that’s work, extracurriculars, or class.  Whenever I do that, I create a stress bubble for myself, as I’m only around people who share my stresses and struggles. I’ve been trying to make time for all my friends this semester and I’ve been doing pretty well on this.  I’ve been getting coffees and dinners with friends I wouldn’t otherwise see and Facetiming my long distance friends.

Goal #3: Get to the Gym: This is the goal I have been so sporadic about.  There are some weeks where I get myself to the gym daily with excitement about the next episode of my podcast.  And then, there are weeks when I can’t even fathom where I’d get the forty-five minutes a day to spend at the gym.  I’d day I’d score like a 4/10 on this goal so far.

Where do I go from here?  Well, I consider the progress I’ve made so far and use that to help me form new goals for the rest of the semester.  Here’s what I have so far:

  1. Continue to try to plan less and be more spontaneous.  Try to go into a weekend with nothing on the calendar and just make it up as I go.
  2. Make time for myself.  I often feel like on the weekends, I’m exhausted from everything and just need some time to decompress with myself.  I want to start making time a few times a week for me to do this so it doesn’t pile up.
  3. Actually get to the gym consistently.  I really want to get into the habit of going daily or every other day and so, this is a goal I want to continue working on.
Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

Do What Scares You: Learning to Be Alone

People always say you should do what scares you in order to grow.  That’s an intimidating concept at its core and one I have ran away from for a long time.  What scares me? Being alone.

I’m not scared of being alone in the romantic comedy sense, but rather, for the majority of my life, I was scared to actually do anything alone.  My freshman year, I skipped a lot of meals in the dining hall because I was too scared to eat alone. Why? I was so scared that everyone who was there with their friends would judge me for being by myself.  In my head, I could hear laughter about how I had no friends. In reality, no one even batted an eye, but my inner monologue and fear controlled me.

When I went to Disney, I felt it was time to change: I only had five months to take in this place and if I only did things when others were around, I knew I would leave with regrets.  So, I did park days by myself. I booked meals for one. I explored the resorts when I wanted to. I also spent time with my friends and enjoyed their company, but I didn’t let my fear of being judged stop me from doing things alone too.  It was about balance: I could be alone or with people.

So, I want to share with you all my favorite ‘alone’ activities, in case you’re new to spending time with yourself like I was.

 

  • Coffee Shop.  I’m convinced there is some hidden power in coffee shops (and I’m not talking about caffeine) because when I’m in them, I find it completely comfortable to be alone.  I love working in coffee shops and so, I often bring my laptop to write an essay and do some readings, but I’ve also found I love coffee shops for relaxing alone time: I love just bringing a book and sitting and reading in a coffee shop.  It’s a space where so many other people are by themselves that this whole idea of being judged for being alone goes away.

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  • Museums. The first place I ever went by myself was the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  Going to museums alone is one of my favorite activities, because you get to explore at your own time and pace and be taken away by what strikes you.  I spent a good half hour just staring up at the ceiling at the Renwick and it was amazing– never before would I have been able to spend that type of time like that.

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  • Shopping.  This one intimidated me.  I had always gone shopping with either my mom, my sister, or my friends, but never alone.  However, when I shop alone, I find I’m willing to take more risks in what I try on because I’m not worried about anyone commenting on how awful something looks on me.  So, I try on things that look horrible but sometimes, I find a surprising good find that I would have completely missed out on otherwise.

 

I still hate eating alone at a sit-down restaurant and I sometimes hear that inner voice telling me everyone is judging me, but I’ve also found a solace in being alone and learning to enjoy my own company.

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One of my favorite photos from Disney that I took on what started out as a solo park day (I ran into friends who I then spent time with): Ariel in the Festival of Fantasy Parade

 

Making Weekends Work for Me

Making Weekends Work for Me

As a kid, I was woken up every morning by my mom telling me the weather in the happiest young.  I always responded with a groan and “ten more minutes…five more minutes…just one more minute.”  You could say that I am definitely NOT a morning person. I’ve tried to be a morning person and hit up that 7 AM spin class so I could get my workout in and start some work before the day even really began.  But, it never worked. I ended up despising the gym, feeling exhausted by my lack of sleep because I only got about 4-5 hours because of the early wake up, and I didn’t really get anything done.

One formula doesn’t work for everyone.

Mornings don’t work for me– they are not how I become more productive or happier as a person.  So, this semester, I’m trying something new: I’m doing weekends differently. In the past, my weekends included me waking up around 10, struggling to do work all day but feeling really distracted, and meeting up to go out with friends at night.  I would end up drowning in work on Sundays because Friday and Saturday had been pretty unproductive. So, this semester, I’m changing my schedule to work with my own personal productivity.

I like working at night.  6 p.m. is when I start to feel energized and focused so now, that’s when I’m starting my work on weekends.  During the day, I’m enjoying myself. I felt like in the old schedule, I never really spent quality time with people during the weekend.  Maybe, we went out to a party together or to a big dinner, but I never got to have the long conversations and connections I really wanted to have.  So now, I’m having coffee and lunch and sometimes, even breakfast with friends on the weekends. Another thing I found was I had bogged my weekends down so much in work and honestly, not being productive, that I was never getting to spend time in D.C. and enjoying this city.  With my new schedule, I actually have time to go to the museums I love and take advantage of all the opportunities that exist here.

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I am literally overjoyed by having the time to enjoy D.C. again.

So, this quick post is just to tell you: do what works for you.  Don’t have a schedule that leaves you feeling disconnected and unproductive just because that’s the conventional way of doing things.  Change the pattern and you might find life looking a lot easier and happier.

How I’m Finding Happiness in the Here & Now

How I’m Finding Happiness in the Here & Now

For the past week or so, I’ve been feeling stuck.  My focus has been lacking, my creativity has been nonexistent, and I’ve just not been feeling like myself.  When I’ve been trying to write, I’ve felt a wall go up: I can’t figure out what I’m ready to share about myself and my experiences.  Every time I try to write about my experiences, I lose my words. It’s like a wall goes up within me that stops me from sharing. I haven’t been able to figure out exactly why I’m in this rut right now.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reflecting and I keep coming back to this point: a year ago, I was preparing to embark on an amazing adventure that would cause huge amounts of growth in me as a person.  For the last year of my life, I have changed locations and routines approximately every four months. I have not settled and now, I’m going back to a routine of sameness and I can’t help but fear that in settling in one spot, I’m not growing enough as a person.  I had a feeling I would go through a struggle this semester, and it’s the very reason I did not study abroad: I need to learn how to be in one place for a while.  

Staying physically in one place and one lifestyle though does not mean my life needs to be boring, mundane, or lack growth.  Today, I realized that staying in one place and having a routine here is giving me the opportunity to do what I haven’t done in a while: pursue things just because they’ll make me happy.  I have been so constantly moving for a year that I haven’t taken time to do things just because. I’ve felt like I had to experience everything all at once because each place I’ve been in, I’ve had a limited time there.  Even over break when I was home in New York, I felt this weird sense of urgency: I had to go to the diner and my favorite coffee shop and to see a Broadway show, because I don’t know when I’ll be back and able to do it all.  Now in DC, I don’t have that urgency and when I push aside my fear of sameness for a moment, it’s almost freeing to be able to prioritize my happiness without feeling like I’m missing out on something.

So, this semester, I’m going to do things for no reason other than that I want to and they will make me happy.  And to be honest, I have no idea what I’m going to do. Maybe, I’ll take that pottery class I’ve always said I was going to take.  Maybe, (when the government opens again), I’ll spend a day reading at the National Portrait Gallery or maybe, I’ll find my way back to an old hobby, like songwriting.  I don’t have to plan it all out perfectly for once. I can just live in the present for a while.

 

“Everyone has it together except for me” is a myth

“Everyone has it together except for me” is a myth

Sometimes, it feels like everyone has it all together except for you.  Everywhere you look are people who have it all figured out for the next ten years and then, there’s you.  You don’t even know what you’re having for dinner tonight, let alone what’s in your path five years, or even one year down the line.  It feels like the world is spinning too fast and you’re at risk of falling off the planet altogether.

BREATHE. You are not alone in this.  There is nothing wrong with you and I promise you, gravity will not abandon you anytime soon.

Behind the Picture

Often, we assume we know people and their lives better than we actually do.  We forget that we only see what other people want us to see and with that, we miss most of the story.  The girl who has our dream job doesn’t share the tons of interviews she went on before she landed that job.  She doesn’t share her struggle with mental health that affects her daily. She only shares the perfect pictures with the world– the good times, the perfect-fitting suits, and the success.  We assume we know her life, but we don’t see any of it. This is not to say she is not doing well and her successes shouldn’t be celebrated, but rather that it is not all picture perfect. She does not have it all together all the time– she’s just convinced us she does.

Making it Through

Personally, I find there’s something comforting when you take the mask off and see the reality of the world around you: everyone is making it through their own struggles, their own way.  That’s the thing though: everyone is making it through. The Earth hasn’t stopped spinning and people with struggles are not spontaneously combusting. Everyone is fighting through, day-by-day, because that’s life.  Life is not about having the perfect picture, but rather about making it through our struggles, scarred and bruised, and coming out the other side with a smile on our face.

I think life might even want us to embrace our baggage and our wreckage.  It is the moments with no direction that truly determine who we are. It is when nothing is given to us on a silver platter that we find our strength, determination, and path.  We live in a society that so badly wants to stuff our struggles under the carpet, but when we do that, we lose out on showing the world the most beautiful and bright parts of ourselves.