Blogging vs. Real Life: Sometimes Real Life Wins

Things have been busy around here! Between wrapping up the last two weeks of teaching the 6-week summer program, day trips and weekend activities, and a girls’ trip to Nashville, I got a little behind on my blog. I really try to stay on top of the posts, but sometimes real life gets in the way, whether it’s in the form of a grading marathon, or a relaxing afternoon at a winery, or endless lesson planning. All three, plus many more, present good reasons to put the little ol’ blog on the back burner until more time opens up. Don’t fret: next week I will return with the next coffee shop post on Slipstream near Logan Circle. But this week, I am planning and gathering my materials for the Fall semester, which starts on the 31st.

The whole planning process takes a lot more time than expected. There are so many layers. First, you have to decide what’s due when. Then what reading to do on certain days. Then what overarching activities and objectives you want to accomplish. Then what you will actually do to accomplish those activities and objectives. It’s borderline overwhelming. In many respects, it feels exactly like this:

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At the same time, I love organizational tasks, so I don’t really mind.

With summer drawing to a close, I’m sad about the impending coldness and weekends full of grading, but glad that I was able to make the most of my summer over the past few weeks. Also, there are fall leaves already. WTF?!?!

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Having Rahul here PERMANENTLY is amazing, because we not only get to see each other every day, but we can enjoy our weekends together. We’ve explored our city a bit more, drunk wine and “listened” to a 90s cover band with friends (the band was far away and mostly illegible), visited the beach for our engagiversary, celebrated multiple friends moving away (with joyfulness and sadness), saw “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center (so funny!), and much more. In doing so, I’ve marked off a few things from my DC area to-do list, which included going to the beach in Maryland, going wine tasting in Virginia, and seeing as many plays as possible at The Kennedy Center.

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I also enjoyed a fabulous weekend with some of my dearest friends in Nashville. The weekend officially kicked off our wedding countdown–less than 100 days to go! It was amazing to spend some quality time with my best gals, while also dancing it up all over Nashville. Country music everywhere! We stayed in a house for the weekend, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the Nashville area. We were in East Nashville, which is an easy and cheap Uber ride to the city. Plus, we had space to spread out and hang during downtime.

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Now that I’ve entertained you with details about my fabulous life, I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming next week.

 

The truth about being a chronically late person…

…is that you’re always hoping for a miracle.

I’m not talking like John Green’s Paper Towns, where Quentin believes Margo is his one miracle in life. I’m talking, “crap-I-left-10-minutes-later-than-I-meant-to-why-I-am-surprised-by-that-oh-here’s-hoping-I-still-get-to-work-on-time” kind of miracle.
I will say, though, that I’ve had several trips to Target/CVS/Safeway/ etc that were exactly like the Paper Towns’ characters’ speedy trips to gas stations, except with one crucial difference: my trips were speedy because I was making them before class when I really didn’t have time.

As a chronically late person, I’m constantly hoping for some kind of time miracle where I miraculously get to work five minutes early, even though I left 10 minutes late. I’m constantly hoping that some kind of time warp thing will happen and I’ll get to my class with plenty of time to spare to leisurely look over my class notes for the day, or write on the chalkboard. I’m constantly hoping that time will play its tricks, as time does, and I’ll be able to walk to class at a normal pace instead of an awkward mix of speed walking and hopping.
As a reminder, this awkward mix of speed walking and hopping is exactly how I fractured my leg this past February. While walking to my first class. While (sort of) late. I’m definitely doing this to myself.

As I constantly route and reroute my travel to and from work, looking for the quickest and easiest drive that day, I’ve begun to realize something: as a 28-year-old adult, I still don’t understand how time works. I’ll usually set a goal leaving time and, even though I know I have to be out the door in thirty minutes, or 45 minutes, or whatever, I lie to myself about the time. I let myself eat lunch slowly, or prep dinner for that night, or try to finish grading a paper, forgetting that a leaving time of 1:20 means out the door by 1:20, not “oh crap, it’s 1:20, let me run around the apartment like an idiot to collect my stuff so I can leave.” I’m usually out the door five to ten minutes after my goal leaving time. Three on a lucky day.

Then, because this has happened before (not a lot), I hope for a time miracle as I drive to work. I hold out hope that ten extra minutes will pop up somewhere, forgetting that all of this is contingent on traffic, other cars, and other people in general. Which all points to one very simple thing:

I’ve got to slow down.

Even though I can lollygag with the best of them, I usually jampack my day with to-do lists. I really try to prioritize the to-do lists but, on some days, I have a hard time keeping an order straight and try to accomplish several things at once. This morning, I let bleach soak in my shower while I vacuumed and checked my email. I’m often on my phone (even if it’s just Instagram or WWF) during a movie or TV show, trying to get two things done at once. I multi-task and try to soak every second out of every hour to make sure I’m not wasting time.

And then I drive to school like an idiot, hoping that extra time will appear.

Anyone struggle with the same problem? Do you have suggestions on better time management? I’m not talking like “lay out your outfit the night before” or “just leave earlier, dummy.” Like, for real advice on looking at time realistically and not Katherine-ally.

Using planners and to-do lists has started to organize my mind a little and help me manage my time in a more realistic way. I’ve loved Erin Condren planners for YEARS, even though they’re a bit pricey. The “get it done” zebra notepad is a new purchase and I LOVE IT. Every time I look at it, I chuckle at the little zebra essentially telling me to get my shit together. 

Rifle Paper Co. // Erin Condren 

 

Qualia Coffee (and some other things)

Oh, man! I kept meaning to post this review and then kept forgetting. Life! I’m in the middle of a fast-paced six week summer course and the grading is for real. So today I took a mini-break to post this and order some audiobooks so I can cancel my Audible subscription (too expensive and also Lena Dunham’s book was way more boring than I expected).

A few other life updates:

  • Saw Magic Mike XXL and then overheard a conversation where someone was trying to explain the first movie from an intellectual POV. Like, really? Such a DC move. Let’s just all be honest and admit that Magic Mike is not a movie you watch when you want to expand your mind or grow as a person. It’s a movie you watch when you want to turn off your brain and hear other women in the theater ooh and ahh to Channing Tatum.
  • Rahul and I crossed some big wedding stuff of our to-do list: finished our registry, ordered our invitations, ordered his suit, etc. Plus we’re now less than 100 days away!! AHHH!
  • Summer is somehow almost over…what?? School starts back in one month! How did this happen? Time to do some last minute summer things…I’m dying to go to the beach, just need to find the time to make it happen!
  • My runs have gotten a lot better! I’ve found the magic secret to productive runs in the stupid, stupid summer heat: running indoors! OK, I know that’s not a new idea, but it is for me. I’ve always hated running on treadmills because it’s so BORING. But I’ve discovered that “Parks & Recreation” comes on TV weekday mornings at 10, which works great with my afternoon teaching schedule. Watching that show while running has finally gotten me through up to 4 miles without stopping, and on a pretty good pace too, considering I had a fractured leg earlier this year. Pretty ironic that “Parks & Rec” is the show that saved my runs, considering what I wrote a few weeks ago. Other things work too: Crazy, Stupid, Love got me through 6 miles on Sunday. About halfway through half marathon training and I’m finally pretty good about it, finally!
  • I made a few additions to the apartment, namely a new chair and lamp to our desk that has reinvigorated my interest to sit there.

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I’m in love with the chair. Plus, the view’s not bad either:

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Next home improvement: a new piece of wall art for above the bed. Any suggestions for places to look? I’ve browsed Society 6 and some of the free downloads on Pinterest, but haven’t found anything I’m absolutely in love with.

Okay, now on to the coffee.

The following post is part of the “‘I Can’t Stop Drinking the Coffee’: Exploring DC’s Coffee Scene” series.

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I’ve visited Qualia Coffee once before, and always meant to go back. You know what happens when you “always” mean to do something…it never happens. In any case, I live a little closer to the place now, so might try to stop by more regularly. WE’LL SEE. It was an easy drive, so that was a plus, and I scored a parking spot right across the street. Double plus. The place is within walking distance of the Georgia Ave metro, which also helps.

I loved Qualia when I first went (in 2011! ahh) because the barista was super friendly, talked to me about the different coffee options, and didn’t make me feel rushed as I ordered. It probably helped that I showed up so early that there was hardly any one else inside. I also remember liking the space and feeling productive because of the warm atmosphere. I wasn’t let down on my second visit. Even though they had more people inside, I didn’t feel rushed as I ordered, and the staff seemed friendly. They have GREAT coffee (as evidenced in my last visit), which I believe they roast in house.

What I ordered: I ordered just a latte, even though I was tempted by their snacks. I went to Qualia on a very hot Tuesday morning and was already a bit frazzled from a terrible, terrible run earlier in the day, followed by my apartment’s water being shut off for maintenance (which I knew was happening, but still annoying). In any case, all I could focus on ordering was the coffee, and I was almost too hot to even drink that.

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Latte Grade: The art on the latte was so-so, and I even overheard the barista talking about how his latte art is always a bit shoddy. I think that’s okay, dude, because latte art can probably only get you so far in life. The latte itself was hot and delicious, which was no surprise. As I said above, I’ve visited Qualia once before and their coffee was AMAZING then and is still amazing, as evidenced by the great latte flavor. You definitely get a strong coffee taste, which I love.  Again, another place with a good mix of coffee and milk. Overall grade: A. 

What I’ll get next time: They had a wide selection of cookies, which I wish I paid more attention to when I was there. I mean, peanut butter, dark chocolate, white chocolate cranberry…yes, please! I’ll also probably get the iced coffee, as I overheard a bunch of people ordering it. It’s either really good, or it was just freakin hot, or a combo of both.

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Best time of day to go: They have a lot of seating options–two patios, indoor seating, and an upstairs too, I believe (although I could be making that up). Point is, there seems to be plenty of seating, and the space inside was pretty sparse while I was there, but the back patio seemed to be hopping. Again, I would say a safe rule of thumb is in the morning or early afternoon, before people descend upon the place post-work or school.

The ambience: One thing I really liked about my second visit to Qualia was how open the space was. When I visited the first time, way back in 2011, it was a bit colder, although, according to my blog post, they had the door open then too, so I guess it’s a thing they do? IN ANY CASE, I really loved how the open door made the space seem super open and welcoming and airy. While the inside space is rather small, the open door space helped quite a lot. Right when you walk up, you spot people chatting on the front patio, a chalk board sign welcoming you, the whole nine yards. It seems to be a neighborhood joint, as I overheard several people who knew the baristas (I am such an OBVIOUS people watcher, it must be the writer in me), and I would definitely make this my neighborhood spot if I lived in Petworth. It’s quick, accommodating, and welcoming. Plus, as added bonuses, they had art for sale on the walls and free condoms in the bathroom. So, hey, anything goes.

Good for: Again, another place that seems accommodating for all things. I sat at the communal bar (again) and was sitting right next to another girl working on her computer. I visited Qualia the day after TCB–at TCB, I asked someone to watch my computer and at Qualia, I got asked to watch a computer. I don’t really know the purpose of this story other than to say not all people are jerks? I don’t know. In any case, they have a variety of seating, including some couches.

Will you need a jacket? Um, no. I actually realized on the way over there that I had forgotten a sweater, which I realized I did not need at all. They had the front and back doors open, so it was pretty steamy inside. Let’s just say I was sweatin’ a bit. BUT the open doors made for a nice, open space, as discussed above.

Other things to know: Fresh off the Roast brews and sales their own coffee here, in drinkable form or in coffee bean to-go form. Several people came in while I was there just to buy coffee beans. Also, as discussed above, they seem to have an open door policy (as in the doors were open), so it might get pretty humid and hot during these summer days.

What I did: I worked on a story I’m trying to write–key word is TRYING. It’s going pretty well, though. (knocks on wood)
Update on this: it stopped going well. UGH! My current plan is to reread my MFA thesis and finish writing it. I know I can do it! 

Stupid thing I read online: I don’t remember, but I loved this post where Buzzfeed edited Katy Perry’s nonsensical tweet, even though I found the whole Katy Perry-Taylor Swift-Nicki Minaj debacle to be SO DUMB. At the end of the day, you are all successful artists, so GET OVER yourselves.
I will say that Taylor Swift seems like someone I would NOT want to be friends with. You’d have to watch everything you say and do around her in an attempt to not offend or upset her! No thank you.

My reaction to how often the radio show people talked about this “fight” on the air:

Looking Back at my 25 Year Old Goals as a 28 Year Old

For the past little while, I’ve noticed that a blog post from 2012, 25 Life Goals from a 25 Year Old, has been getting a lot of viewership. I don’t know the reason for this, because I also don’t fully understand how the internet works. Either way, I thought I’d revisit these goals, written a little over three years ago, to see which ones I’m sticking to, which ones I think are completely bonkers (or don’t make sense), and any new goals I have.

Reading a three-year old post was delightful and entertaining. These goals are definitely the ones of a young, optimistic person. There’s nothing wrong with them, but many of them seem a little too hippy-dippy for my current state. Some also seem crafted and written specifically for a blog post, instead of realistic, true goals. Again, nothing wrong with that, but if I had written this today, I would have surely used different language.

Something I’ve realized in the three years since I turned 25 is that life is magical and ever-evolving. After turning 25, I experienced a life crisis of sorts. In college, 25 seemed so old. I expected to have everything figured out by 25 and that I would basically be a billionaire living on the ocean in an exotic country or something. Since turning 25, I’ve adjusted my worldview and come to understand that life is often a slow burn (in a good way) and that things take time. Also, I’ve realized that age is just a number. Sure, there are certain things that I should be doing by 28–like saying thank you, or doing things I want to do, and a handful of other things on this list–but most of these are just general being-a-decent-person life goals. I set these goals at 25 as a reminder to myself to take ownership of my life, and that mindset is still just as prevalent today. So, in a way, they’re life goals from my 25-year-old self that I can stick to and adapt and mold for as long as I want.

New Goals:

1. Find ways to work on my anxiety. I’ve developed a lot of anxiety over the past year (thanks, fractured leg), and I’m trying to find ways to reign it in.

2. Get out of my apartment and stop wasting time. I waste so much time, especially when school is out for the summer.

3. Never get tired of my surroundings. DC is a great city, and I never want to feel like I’m just “tolerating” it.

4. Don’t underestimate or undervalue myself. I’ve had a revelation of sorts lately where I realized the reason why I hardly ever spoke in any of my classes as a student was because I was underestimating myself, not the other way around. I’m learning to value my voice more, as well as my own opinion, and finding ways to more thoughtfully engage in conversations.

5. Write write write write write!!!

The Original List: 

1. Write thank you cards. Say thank you.
I’ve done okay on this one. I usually remember to send thank you cards, and try to always say thank you when I feel genuinely thankful for someone’s help, advice, you name it. 

2. Take a moment to calm down when overly emotional. Re-consider your thoughts.
Eh. What can I say? It’s that quarter-Italian in me. My brain has this funny way of going into overdrive when I have something interesting to say, or I’m trying to make it point, and takes over my calm, rational side. 

3. Never make decisions when you’re emotional.
Again, I’ve done so-so on this one. I’m pretty impulsive by nature and when I realize I need to do something, I want to do it RIGHT AWAY! But, I have gotten more practical about my decision making, usually allowing things to sit before completely deciding. 

4. Read books for pleasure.
Yes! It’s a slow process, but I have done this one. When I made this goal, I was in the middle of my first year of my MFA, which required a total of 20 books per semester for the lit classes I was taking. Ah! The back-to-back reading turned me into a very, very slow reader, as I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing anything potentially important while reading. Let me tell you, that’s not a fun way to read. I’ve been working on bouncing back from that. I have little time to read during the school year because I’m up to my ears in papers to grade, but I’ve managed to read The Secret HistoryThe Girl on the Train, and Station Eleven, and I loved all of them. Just finished Everything I Never Told You, which was amazing. AH-MAZE-ING. This book will stick with me for a while. Do yourself a favor and add it to your reading list now. 

5. Open your windows. Go outside.
This one seems kind of silly, but I am trying to do this instead of lounging on my couch all day…which has happened a lot, unfortunately. BUT I’m finally running outside again, post-leg injury (knock on wood). I also take advantage of the apartment’s pool, as well as walking to the grocery store instead of driving. Even though it’s blazing hot, it’s nice to get outside. Plus, I have huge windows which make my apartment feel luxurious. 

6. Stop making excuses.
Eh. I’ve gotten better at this, but I still come up with the excuses in my mind, even if I don’t use them. Since I’m sort of anxious/shy by nature, I’ll often think of reasons not to do something, even if it’s just meeting friends for a drink. BUT I will say that I didn’t use my broken leg as an excuse to not grade my classes, other than for the day I was actually in the hospital. 

7. Allow yourself to have free time, even if it’s 10 minutes of coffee in the morning, 2 minutes to play Scramble with Friends, or a date with your boyfriend to watch Titanic. Don’t laugh—Rahul and I totally did this the other night.
Free time is my best friend. I probably take too much advantage of it. How else am I going to watch all of my favorite TV shows constantly? 

8. Celebrate something at least once a day, if not more.
This is hard to track. I am trying to get better about focusing on things I DO do during the day–cue Chandler Bing–instead of things I haven’t done. Doing this helps cut my anxiety and also helps me enjoy my days a little more. 

9. Catch up with a different friend once a week.
THIS IS SO HARD and I’m also really bad at it. I’m the queen of texting, but suck at phone calls. I’ve kept up with friends, but it’s more sporadic than scheduled, which is actually fine with me. 

10. Keep your attitude in check, always. Be intentional in what you say.
I’m good about this when talking with my students, but sometimes bad when talking to friends or family. Working on it! 

11.Listen to others. Take notes. Remember.
Again, another one that is so-so. I definitely haven’t taken notes (come on, 25 year old Katherine), but I do try to be a conscious, observant listener. 

12. Don’t be scared of confrontation, when necessary.
Hmm. If I was making this last now, I would change it to “Don’t be scared to hold your ground.” I definitely struggle with this in my teaching–at my core, I want to help each student be their best, but I’ve had to acknowledge and understand that it sometimes just doesn’t work that way. 

13. When you make a mistake, never, ever blame it on someone else.
I’m pretty good at this. I had a teacher in college that would never take the blame for mistakes he made (i.e., we would put something in the newspaper because he said we could, and then go back on his word, etc), so I vowed to never be like this because it’s so disrespectful and wishy-washy. 

14. Laugh at yourself.
Um, yeah. All the time. 

15. Do things YOU want to do.
Also all the time. Stay tuned for my coffee shop series to see an example of this!

16. Don’t say sorry when it’s not your fault, and do say sorry when it is.
This is a hard one, especially since I say sorry all the time for stupid reasons. 

17. Engage.
What? As in get engaged? Okay, yeah, I did that. : ) 

18. Talk to strangers, or someone you wish to get to know better.
HAHA! I’m definitely the type to have few, close friends, instead of a 1,000 friends. Of those people, I try to ENGAGE and get to know them better. I definitely don’t talk to strangers. This was definitely written by optimistic Katherine. 

19. Do things that remind you of what you love in the world.
I really try to stick to this, especially living near such an awesome city! Since writing this blog, I’ve traveled to some beautiful places (India, Paris, London, New Orleans, Provincetown, just to name a few), which definitely reminds me what I love in this world. Visiting and doing things in DC allows me to take advantage and enjoy a city I love, even if it’s just driving to the Trader Joe’s on U Street. 

20. Try new things. My recent fascination: baking and cake decorating. Sorry, Mary Beth, but I’m probably going to ask to use your kitchen a lot this summer.
Mary Beth, do you remember if this happened? I don’t know. BUT I did get into a serious baking frenzy after moving to my new apartment. My masterpiece is banana chocolate chip bread. 

21. Don’t bullshit. Ever.
I’m pretty good with this, but this is also so broad. Don’t bullshit about what? I’m not sure what I was thinking here. 

22. Embrace who you are, even if you sometimes don’t like who you are.
OH BOY. I’ve had some ups and downs in the past three years. I’ve had many moments where I didn’t like myself, and many moments where I did. However, I think that’s natural for most people. Regardless, I am working on embracing the parts of me that are inherent, and changing the things I can change. 

23. Tell people what you think of them at every chance you get, whether it’s “You’re a rockstar” or “I appreciate you” or “You inspire me” or “I love you.”
I do try to do this! If it’s my students, I let them know when they’ve done good work. I tell my family and Rahul how much they mean to me and how much I love them constantly (so they don’t forget, haha). When someone helps me out, I try to say thank you or that I’m appreciative. 

24. Don’t waste a day with a bad mood. Find things to cheer you up.
I wish I knew what this video was, but the account has been deleted! oops. But I do try to do this, although when I get in a REALLY bad mood, it’s hard for me to come out. Usually it’s because I’m freakin’ stubborn and want to sulk. 

25. Love.
Yes! 

And an extra one because I have problems with limits (even when they’re my own):

Don’t complain about things you can control. This is a MAJOR one to remember for me as of late.
OH MY GOSH, I still struggle with this SO MUCH. The kid taking too much time at the water fountain, the traffic on the way to school, you name it. I’ve really tried to work on these things and let these complaints go, because, when I do, I feel lighter and happier. But sometimes I just want to be mad at the world. 

Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2

After weeks of nonstop grading, a much-needed trip to my hometown, wedding cake tasting and flower picking, celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday, and several cuddle sessions with our family cat, Bella, I have finally found time for Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2.

My sister and I decided to match at my dad’s 60th birthday party. We also decided to practice different poses while taking pictures:

I call the series below Bella with Katherine’s Laptop (and doesn’t help grade):

Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures, let’s get on to the actual post.

Before dress shopping, I got a few tips from friends and websites on how to best approach the whole process. Most of the tips were simple: set a budget, scout ideas beforehand (while also being open to other choices), take a few favorite people with you to each store, and keep your store visitations to a select few places. 

Well, I did really well with the first three: I set a very clear budget in the beginning and stuck to it, screenshotted dresses on Pinterest and cut some out of magazines, took my mother to every single dress shop (except for one, when my sister tagged along as well), and made initial appointments at three dress shops that I had researched extensively online. I just knew that I was going to find THE dress at one of these first appointments, because that’s what my friends and every single TV/movie featuring wedding dress shopping had told me.

Guess what? I was wrong.

If you read my last blog post, you know that somewhere between the 3rd and 9th bridal store visit, I disappeared into a tulle-induced frenzy where I was determined to try on every single dress that I might REMOTELY like. I was on a crazy dress path and it was going downhill fast. I was waiting for that “ah-ha” moment when I put on the dress and everyone around me starts clapping and crying instantly. I’m not making that part up–I’ve literally read a blog post where a bride said this happened to her. So, in my crazy bridal mind, I was determined to have that same moment because, dammit, why not! I tried and retried dresses, determined to have an ah-ha moment of my own.

But then, something my best friend said to me brought me back to reality: “The TV/movies lie to you. The dress is important, but it doesn’t make the wedding, and definitely doesn’t make the marriage.” (I’m totally paraphrasing because I can’t find the original text).

There is a reason we have best friends, and it’s for times like these. Her simple text reminded me that just because the “ah-ha this is the dress” moment happens all the time in the media doesn’t mean that it has to happen to me. Every person’s dress shopping experience is different, and every PERSON is different.

This is the same rule that applies to the reaction to getting proposed to. Even though I always pictured that I would cry, as that’s what you see in the movies/etc, I instead started in utter shock at the ring. On an unrelated note, I’ve also started to think that men holding women’s purses when they shop is not a real thing, but something started in commercials/TV shows. More on this to come.

After this text, I slowly came back to reality and the rest of the wedding dress shopping experience became a little easier, as outlined in my first post. Here, I want to share a few dress shopping guidelines–as it there weren’t enough already out there–to remind other soon-to-be-brides that it’s okay if the “ah-ha” moment takes some time, or happens in a different way than you expected.

Wordifications’ Endorsed Wedding Dress Shopping Guidelines

1. Plan beforehand. Like I outlined above, going in with an idea of the dress you’re looking for is key. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a helpful reminder.

2. Say no and be firm to dresses you are not interested in. You will be offered plenty of dresses that are not your type or are too pricey. Just because that trick works on other customers–oh, you love the dress? oh, it’s $500 over your budget? oh, you want it anyway? perfect!–doesn’t mean it has to work on you. I’m a perennially nice person when it comes to interacting with salespeople, often too timid to really speak my mind, but I said no when necessary.

3. The step above helps trim down your dressing room options, which is key. You don’t want to take a bunch of dresses you don’t actually like back to the dressing room, and waste your time trying them on, when your dream dress is probably somewhere else in the store. Especially in stores that have a strict appointment time limit, say yes to only your favorite picks.

4. At the same time, say yes to different styles–within reason. Like, if you know you will never, ever want to wear a huge ball gown type dress, then mark those off completely. But, if you know you are open to, say, strapless, even though it’s not your first choice, then try on some strapless dresses. You never know, you might find the dress this way. Let’s just say that’s how I found mine–although my dress doesn’t fall into any of the above categories. Like I would give away what the dress looks like on this blog!

My emotions (in gif form, of course) about halfway through the whole dress shopping process: 

5. Don’t put your hopes on one store. Let me repeat. DON’T PUT YOUR HOPES ON ONE STORE. This was the big dress shopping mistake I made and it ultimately lead to my wedding dress-shopping-frenzy. I was so disappointed that I hadn’t found the dress at this specific store that SO many people had vouched for, that I spun out into a wedding panic.

Which store, you ask? Well, about 2 1/2 hours away from my hometown in TN is Low’s Bridal & Formal, which so happens to house the largest bridal selection in the mid-south. Sounds perfect, right? My mom and I heard about the store and, after asking for opinions on FB on whether or not a visit to the store was worth it and getting a resounding yes from many people who got their dress there, I made an appointment. After such praiseworthy FB comments, I was positive that I was going to find THE DRESS here. Like, steroid-induced confidence positive. And I did find many lovely dresses at this store, ultimately whittling it down to two favorites. Yet, while I was looking for the “THIS IS THE ONE!” moment, I instead spun off in a totally different direction: stressed, anxious, and confused. Sure, I had found some lovely dresses, but none of them were THE dress. Instead of feeling excited that I had found good options, I was stressed about the whole process and upset at the blind confidence I had placed in the store after hearing such rave reviews about it. I had planned on walking out with a dress purchased, and I instead walked out (well, rather, hobbled-I was still in the boot from my fracture!) confused, angry, and a little bitter, which is SO not the emotion you want to get from wedding dress shopping.

The visit to Low’s slowed down the whole process a bit instead of speeding it up, as I had hoped. Even though many, many people raved about the store, I finally accepted that their positive reviews didn’t mean jack if I wasn’t finding the dress I wanted, even in a store that looked like it was straight out of “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Ultimately, going to 12 different stores paid off–I found THE dress, and I’ll be going to try MY DRESS on in a week and a half. However, if I had known some of the above reminders going in to the whole process, especially the fifth one, the process would have been a little easier. I finally had to remind myself: There are thousands of dress shops with millions of dresses (not really sure on that math) and NO WAY to try on every single one. I had to put aside my inner perfectionist and, once I did, I was able to calm down long enough to say yes to the perfect dress.

Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 1

GUYS. It has been a hot minute since I posted on this ol’ blog—55 days, to be exact. A lot has happened in those days: spring break, sending out our SAVE THE DATES, grading upon endless grading, day trips to DC with my mom,  a short hospitalization for a blood clot in my leg, an anxiety attack from said blood clot in my leg, physical therapy visits, weekend trips to New York (Soho shopping, yes please!), finishing Amy Poehler’s book, finishing Mindy Kaling’s book, watching “How I Met Your Mother” two times through, ordering HBO just to get HBOGo to watch “Veep,” starting “The Mindy Project,” job interviews, wedding planning, the list goes on…

But today, I want to write about the most exciting event of the last 47 days: FINDING MY WEDDING DRESS!

The journey to finally saying yes to the dress was a long one. My first official bridal store visit was on March 3 (Birthday Bride!), and I finally ordered THE DRESS almost a month later on April 2. During this time, my mom and I visited 12 bridal shops in 4 states, tried on countless dresses, developed a genuine distaste for excessive netting, and reached a near breaking point. Somewhere during the experience, after my third bridal store visit and before my ninth or tenth, I disappeared into a tulle-induced frenzy where I was DETERMINED to find the perfect dress. I had found a lovely dress at the 2nd store visit, but somehow convinced myself that I needed to be sure that a more perfect dress didn’t exist somewhere else. In this journey to satiate my inner voice, I tried on many dresses that were not my style at all, squeezed into size 8s and drowned in size 14s, and became more and more frustrated with the whole process. I was positive that I would find the dress while home for Spring Break and, when I didn’t, I returned home to Maryland disappointed that I would have to do the rest of the shopping by myself.

But then something miraculous happened—I spent a day in the hospital for a fractured leg-induced blood clot, after which my mom flew back to Maryland (after already spending 3 weeks with me during my hobbling stage, because she is the best) to spend another 2 weeks with me while I adjusted to a new medication and lived in an anxiety-induced fear of what was happening in my body (watching this video on repeat helped ease my mind and also laugh). While the circumstances for her return to Maryland were crappy, her second visit in 2015 meant one, very exciting thing: we could finish wedding shopping together!

We made a few more appointments in other bridal shops in Maryland, even though I was starting to get tired of the whole experience, which was kind of frustrating. Its wedding dress shopping; how can it be frustrating? I had gone into the whole experience expecting a Monica Geller moment of finding the perfect dress, complete with a “THIS IS THE ONE!” exclamation, pushing all those around me into tears immediately (ok, that last one is a bit of a stretch), with an immediate sense that this dress was going to “complete me.” But then, I had a moment of realization, plus a real talk with my BFF and countless conversations with my mother, and came to understand that I wasn’t buying a wedding dress in the movies. The ah-ha moment is fabricated, in those situations, and I also realized that I’m not even a “ah-ha” moment kind of gal. I just knew I wanted to find a dress that looked and felt amazing, and I started to push myself to hard in finding this dress.

After a few conversations about this frustration, my mom and I set an April 1 deadline for picking the dress, after our last bridal appointments in March 31. A deadline! As a former journalist and current teacher, I love deadlines, and so I latched on to this quickly. I still liked a dress I had tried on at the second bridal shop, and had tried on countless other times afterward, but I wanted to be sure.

And, despite the lengthy journey, I’m so glad I did. On March 31, we visited our last two shops. The first visit was strange—they didn’t allow you to take photos while trying on the dresses (which I know is standard in many shops, but also kind of lame) and the woman helping me made a comment about how I can “wear the wedding dress again,” to which she asked “Why do you laugh?” when I, of course, laughed at what she said. She was being totally serious and implied that I could always make a short summer dress out of the wedding dress. Acc-a-scuse-me? I’m not turning my wedding dress into craft time.

So while the first visit was a bit disappointing, the second visit was so different. Maybe it was because I knew this was our last bridal store visit, no matter what, or maybe I was just in a good mood, but this last store was lovely! Not only were we the only ones, but the dresses were spread out instead of being crammed together, which made browsing a lot easier. Because there were fewer dresses, and this was our last visit, I ended up trying on a few dresses I would have said “heck no” to at other places. Because of this, I finally had a mini-bridal moment. I tried on a dress that I normally would have turned away, and immediately and instinctively knew that this was the dress. It was very similar to the other favorite dress I had tried on several times, but upped the ante just enough to knock the other dress out of the ballpark. I tried it on twice, twirled it in, sent pictures to my sister who immediately approved, and immediately went for fro-yo afterwards to discuss the decision with my mom.

During the whole process, my mom provided the perfect balance of “this is your decision” and “that dress does/does not look like you.” She never pushed me toward a dress, while also pitching in when she could tell I was unsure about a dress I had tried on. She did intervene when I was in my tulle-induced frenzy to tell me I had gotten away from my original dress goals, which was true, and which was exactly what I needed to hear. But she didn’t hide her excitement when we actually PURCHASED THE DRESS, which was such a surreal moment for me that it took a trip to Old Navy and the mall for the realization to sink in. I had found the dress! I’m so happy that my mom was there to finish the wedding dress journey with me; it would not have been the same without her.

We found the dress at the last shop visited and bought the dress at the first shop visited, which adds a nice touch of symmetry to the whole process. Come back in a few weeks for “Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2”, presented in list format, of course. But first, grading. And grading. AND GRADING!!!!

 

2014: A Year in Review

I know we are already seven days into 2015, and that more responsible bloggers had their 2014 blogposts up when it was still, you know, 2014, but what can I say? Sometimes it’s more fun to be lazy. Which, if you were wondering, was exactly how I spent the last few days of 2014: being lazy. After a marathon grading session and a 12-hour drive home (in which Rahul did most of the driving and I did the listening to Serial), a BREAK (in all caps) was exactly what I needed. I watched TV, ate lots (and lots) of food, enjoyed Christmas celebrations, read Wild, saw three movies (Night at the Museum, Unbroken, & Wild), and just generally did nothing responsible for the whole break. In fact, I shut my brain off so well that when I got back to the grind yesterday, I realized I hadn’t checked my work email in about a week. Huzzah!

Now that we are well into 2015, and I am missing Rahul (he returned to India to finish up his internships, after which he will back here FOREVER!), I want to take some time to reflect on 2014 and the great year that it was. All around, it was an AMAZING year, full of fun trips, exciting news, and personal victories. Find the highlights below:

2014: A Year in Review

1. The top of this list is, without question, that Rahul and I got ENGAGED IN PARIS. After talking about it for a long time, and anticipating when it would happen, Rahul surprised me by dropping to one knee and popping the question in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was the perfect moment.

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Celebrating our engagement with photos!

2. Speaking of Paris, visiting Paris added a new city to my travel log. We spent ten days wandering around this beautiful city, during which we mastered the art of eating delicious French cuisine (read=EVERYTHING), drinking red wine, and understanding one out of every seven words in French.

3. After working on my MFA in Fiction Writing for three years, I graduated and immediately became a MASTER WRITER. Just kidding about the latter part, but I did graduate. I didn’t walk, but my overwhelming feeling of accomplishment was achieved after my hour-long thesis review, in which I got to spend focused time with three accomplished writers and receive advice on the project I had worked on for a year and a half.

4. I moved out of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity house, which had been my home for three years. Working as their House Mom was one of my top favorite life experiences, and definitely something I never thought I would do. I was sad to move out of a house with 30 boys, where there was always someone to talk to, but also SO EXCITED to have my own apartment again, complete with real-sized closets, a KITCHEN, and actual carpet.

5. For the first time EVER, I started a Fall semester solely as an employee, and not a student/employee. I taught a total of five classes at three different colleges and, while I enjoyed each of them, I’m scaling down to four classes/two colleges in the spring. Additionally, I was able to stay at UMD as a lecturer, which is great, because I love teaching composition and I love the Terps!

6.  I ran two races in the spring, the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler and the Iron Girl Half Marathon, and beasted both of them! My 10-mile race time didn’t change much from the year before, but I upped my half-marathon time by about 16 minutes! This was a huge personal high for me. At my first half-marathon in 2011, I was determined that I wasn’t going to walk. In my mind, I didn’t train for months to walk. Well, of course, my knee started aching around mile 9, slowing me down considerably. If I taken about 5 minutes to walk to let it rest, I would have done much better–which is what I did this time! I walked during a few of the water stations, and once to take off my jacket, but that was enough to refresh me and push me through the race. Plus, I ran it with my friend Cassie, and my dad there supporting me, which was awesome.

7. In addition to visiting Paris, I saw a lot of cool places in America as well: New York City at Christmastime, the White House Garden Tour, New Orleans for a friend’s bachelorette, Minnesota to visit a bestie, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. In addition, I saw many friends get married, start new jobs, graduate college or graduate school, and move to new places (including my sister, who is also a friend), which was exciting.

8. Rahul lived with me for a few months, which was AH-MAZING. I loved seeing his face everyday and finding fun things to do together on the weekend. My favorite? Our “Batman with Flowers” painting we created at a paint-and-wine class.

Duh Na Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh BATMAN!

Duh Na Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh Nuh BATMAN!

9. After being a TN resident for all my life, I officially became a MD resident. I expected it to feel more life-changing, but really it was just as simple as someone at the MVA taking my TN license and giving me a MD license in return.

10. I can’t think of a 10th event, but I’ll say that this year definitely marked the beginning of my transition from being a young adult to a full-fledged adult. Being employed, engaged, and having my own place to live has made me feel more like an adult than anything else. That doesn’t mean that I still won’t watch “Friends” on Netflix for hours on end, which is what I was just doing while working on this. But hey, in my defense, it’s snowy outside and I’m kind of sick.

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The furthest I’m traveling today is to the grocery store across the street to buy more cough medicine and tea.

I hope everyone had a successful and exciting 2014 as well. Here’s to 2015, or, as I like to call it, OUR WEDDING YEAR!

A Tourist’s Guide to Christmas in NYC

There are a lot of places on my travel wish list. Greece, Instanbul, Rio De Janeiro, the Great Wall, Texas (one of the 12 states I haven’t visited), London at Christmastime, Spain, etc etc. Some of the places on my travel wish list are conveniently located in America, like NYC at Christmastime, which happens to be only 4 hours away from where I live. So this past Saturday, Rahul and I loaded up my car (if you count packing banana bread, nutri-grain bars, water, and an apple as “loading up”) and drove up to NYC for the day.

We hit the major Christmas spots: Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park, Macy’s, Central Park (Home Alone bridge), and more. We oohed and ahhed at the pretty Christmas lights, window shopped at Saks Fifth Avenue, and bought some delicious treats at Chelsea Market. We also mastered the subway, only getting turned around once. All-in-all, it was a fantastic day, full of Christmas cheer and enormous crowds.

I’m minimally familiar with NYC, in the sense that I know what direction the major tourist attractions are. I can tell you how to find Central Park and am really good at pointing at the big buildings in the sky (and how to differentiate between the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building). That being said, I figured there are other people like us (aka non New Yorkers) who are venturing to NYC for a Christmas day-trip and might appreciate a little advice from another tourist POV.

A Tourist’s Guide to NYC 

1. If you only have time to see the Rockefeller tree once, then do it at night. It’s so much prettier because the lights hide how droopy the tree is (and it was kind of disappointing during the day). Plus, the lights make everything look magical. Be prepared to overhear fun things like “YOU like the crowd, I don’t like the crowd” and a child responding “I hope I get lost!” after a mom said “Stay close, you don’t want to get lost.” Put your fight face on to maneuver through the crowd.

In case you need more convincing to go at night…

2. Don’t wait in the line to ice skate at Rockefeller Center. Not only is the ice skating rink tiny tiny, you’ll be standing in a line in the cold. Rahul and I chose to watch the skaters from above instead. Plus, we got our ice skating fix in at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink a few weeks ago. Plus plus, there are tons of other rinks in the city (we saw at least 5, and we definitely only visited about 5-10 % of the city).

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3. Take cash. I know this seems so obvious (and I can hear my parents’ voices in my head admonishing me for never having cash on me), but some of the subway stops accept cash only. Plus, toll roads.

4. Speaking of toll roads, if you are driving, be prepared to pay. Also, don’t pull a Katherine of 2012 and get so overwhelmed by the honking drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike that you speed right through the “EZPass only” lane. They will find you and send you a notice with the money you owe. If you enter the “no toll roads” option on Google maps, pay attention to the map, or you might end up stuck in immobile traffic for an hour (that didn’t happen to us or anything…).

5. Paying attention to the map is a good rule in general. Have a general idea of what leads where, and don’t go down roads that lead away from the island if you are trying to stay on it. It’s like the rule my family and I created when we visited DC when I was in high school: DON’T GO IN THE TUNNELS. They lead you somewhere completely different than where you were trying to go.

6. Except for the Rockefeller tree, hit the major attractions early: the Empire State Building, Macy’s, FAO Schwartz. Save “easy” attractions, like Central Park, for empty spaces during the day, as Central Park is huge and, unless you are wanting to use the ice skating rink, there are no lines.

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Central Park ice skating rink.

With the Home Alone bridge (except you can't really see the bridge).

With the Home Alone bridge (except you can’t really see the bridge).

7. Speaking of lines, DON’T wait in line at Grand Central Terminal to use the bathroom. This is where Rahul and I had lunch (Shake Shack!) and there was a ridiculous line for the ladies bathroom. Go over a few blocks and use the bathroom at the NY Public Library, which has a much smaller line and allows you to reenact scenes from The Day After Tomorrow.

8. Speaking of the NY Public Library, it’s beautiful inside! Plus, it backs up against Bryant Park, which features a Christmas market, skating rink, and a Christmas tree. This tree was much less disappointing during the day (the ornaments help).

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9. The decorations at Macy’s and Saks were beautiful, but save your shopping for elsewhere. You can buy a Kate Spade purse anywhere. Personally, I liked Chelsea Market. There were tons of small shops inside, including an Etsy pop-up shop, where local Etsy sellers were selling their stuff in person, an Anthropologie, and a flea market with several individual boutiques, including Pamela Barsky. I’m set on my Christmas shopping, so I didn’t buy anything, but we did have lobster straight from a fish market (new experience for both of us) and delicious mini doughnuts that I probably overpaid for….

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Macy’s.

10. Speaking of the “money” factor, I’m a big supporter of using your money for food and drink over shopping. I know many of you probably have a vision in your mind of shopping on 5th avenue being fabulous, but if you’ve never been to NYC before, let me break it to you: each store on 5th Ave. is overwhelmingly packed with tourists, even the fancy ones. Most people are walking around and taking pictures (especially in places like Macy’s), and you don’t get much space to breathe. If you must buy something, buy something representative of the place, not a shirt that you could probably buy at home. Instead, spend your money on food! There are tons and tons of restaurants and food trucks and other food places (like the Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market that I probably overpaid for) that are delicious and will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

That’s it! Many of these are probably no-brainers but if you’re like me and google “what to see in NYC at Christmas,” you might also appreciate a list of tips from a NYC outsider. Saturday was, of course, busy because it’s Saturday, but we aren’t able to go during the week. Plus, it was amusing (at first) to see all the Santas dressed up for Santacon (which I didn’t know was a thing until we saw a bunch of them at Grand Central), then annoying after a while. Once you’ve heard one drunk idiot yelling about how drunk they are, you’ve heard them all. Plus, it was nerve-wracking watching some of them try to catch taxis.

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Grand Central was our first Santacon sighting. At first, I thought it was some charity thing (which I think it technically does raise money), but then I heard “selfie!!!”

Stay safe, kids, and remember this:

bb453wr-w800h800z1-34677-he-sees-you-when-youre-drinking

How I’ve Been Wearing My Fall Essentials

A few weeks ago, I was inspired to create a quick Fall Capsule Wardrobe and posted my selections on the blog. While I love creating new outfits, I’m not quite as dedicated as the serious bloggers to limit myself to only a certain amount of clothing options for the entirety of Fall, so the capsule wardrobe really just highlights my favorite items, aka the items that I pop up regularly in my outfit choices. After I posted the blog, I took pictures for a few weeks to share what I was wearing and how I was combining my favorites.

From these photos, it’s VERY obvious how much I love layering. This is a recent obsession of mine (recent as in the past year), so any advice on how to up my layering game would be much appreciated. A few of the outfits include the outerwear component, as you can see. All outfits are in order, but stop right around Thanksgiving because many of the outfits here traveled home with me for Thanksgiving…that’s right, I’m a repeat outfit offender! I love finding favorite combinations and relying on them when I’m too lazy to think of anything more creative. The gray sweater/plaid shirt combo was my Thanksgiving outfit.

I’ve marked the outfits that contain a fall essential item (except for the jewelry, because each outfit has the jewelry), which are most of the outfits.  However, I’m in the midst of grading, so did not take the time to look up links for the items–do you know how long that takes? My brain can’t handle it. If you are curious about any of the items’ origins, please leave a comment and I’ll let you know!

Okay, back to the grindstone. That’s the phrase, right? At least I have “Gilmore Girls,” wedding ideas, and Christmas gift buying to keep me entertained during grading breaks.

Quick Fall Capsule Wardrobe

First of all, I’m sure you’ve noticed the changes I’ve made to the blog. It’s a work in progress, but I wanted to update the appearance and userability–that’s a word, right?

Thursdays and Fridays are my favorite days this semester because, usually, THEY ARE FREE. I usually spend the entire afternoon on the couch, watch something relaxing and mindless (last week, “Scandal”, this week, “Gilmore Girls” for the 1000th time), and get next to nothing done, even though I vow “to take advantage of the time and grade soooo many papers!” HA! While that would be nice, one of the greatest gifts that I gave myself this past weekend was not grading for a couple days. I was able to actually enjoy the weekend and still got the grading done on time, anyway. Thursday is technically the weekend, right?

Today, I want to talk CLOTHES! Lately, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about capsule wardrobes for the Fall. Essentially, you create a Fall line-up complete with essential items, ranging from outerwear to jewelry and everything in between. You wear only those items for the entire season and–this is the kicker–DON’T SHOP during that time. It emphasizes simplicity and creativity in putting together an outfit using many of the same items over and over. Plus, it just gives you an excuse to wear that favorite shirt over and over (and not spend money, okay, sure).

I decided this morning that I wanted to assemble my fall essentials. We all know those items that we wear over and over, and feel slightly  bad for wearing them repeatedly. But the fall capsule wardrobe emphasizes not feeling bad. Now while I’m not sticking to it 100%–I don’t have time to plan out exactly what I’ll wear for the next 3 months, I don’t have anywhere to store the items I won’t wear, and I like the occasional trip to the outlet malls–it was fun to pull out my go-to items.

You can find some of my fall essentials below.

 outerwear

Old Navy tweed vest // Ellen Tracy sweater (similar) // J.Crew blazer

I know the blazer might seem like a weird, or boring, choice, but I got it for $15(!!!!!) at Crossroads Trading in DC, a secondhand shop. I mean, come on! Those bad boys are expensive. Since I teach every day, it has proven to be a smart purchase.

sweaters

Old Navy patterned sweater (similar) // J.Crew Factory sweater (old color) // J.Crew Factory colorblock sweater 

button-downs

J.Crew Factory suckered plaid shirt // Old Navy chambray shirt // Old Navy gingham shirt

I also purposefully placed the button down under a sweater I have styled it with in the past few weeks. Sweaters + button downs = a favorite combo.

stripes

J.Crew striped sleeve tee (similar)// Loft striped boatneck tee (similar) // Old Navy striped boatneck tee (similar)

skirts

J.Crew Factory pleated mini // J.Crew Factory houndstooth skirt // J.Crew Factory pleated mini (similar)

I like their skirts, okay? I have the pleated mini in 5 colors….

dresses

Urban Outfitters navy blue dress (similar) // Mossimo black dress with faux leather sleeves (similar)// Gap striped sweater dress (similar)

the rest

American Eagle jeggings (my favorite!) // scarves and jewelry // boots (and cats)

See the end of the post for the information on these last items.

There’s a few things missing, like tights, belts, purses, etc. Also, even though I really wanted to add my favorite leggings, I haven’t been able to wear them as much as I like because the leggings and big sweater look is not exactly appropriate for a teacher…I picked items that I either wear a lot, or layer a lot, in the Fall.

You’ll see one of my most recent outfit creations has its items featured in the pictures. I created this gingham and green outfit the other day and have now decided it’s a perfect Fall outfit. It contains some new favorites, specifically this vest from Old Navy. This vest! I had my eye on this J.Crew Factory vest last winter, but was not as impressed with it when I saw it in person. I like that this vest not only looks textured, but is textured. Plus, it’s damn comfy. And an excuse to wear boots and my latest obsession, crystal & gold jewelry? Yes, please.

As for the rest of my life, I’ve been having a lot of ditz moments lately. I remembered yesterday that my rent was due on the 1st (luckily, there’s a grace period), left my phone on full volume in all my classes, lost some student papers, found some student papers, continued to hone my skill at not being able to leave on time for ANYTHING EVER, etc etc.

On the other hand, I had a GREAT WEEKEND that didn’t consist of endlessly grading papers, as stated above. It was like what weekends are supposed to be. Rahul and I went to a friend’s Housewarming, shared our engagement story some more, went to the outlet malls, passed out Halloween candy, and just enjoyed the weekend like normal people. I also had a delightful hour-long phone conversation with a good friend on Saturday, where we talked weddings, and then saw Gone Girl for the 2nd time on Sunday. Because why not?

I also spent the last week catching up on “Scandal,” which I binged watched last Fall right before it went on winter break. I then had a hard time picking it back up because all the characters are NUTS and I kept talking to the TV like a crazy person about their bad life choices. But, after a few months apart, I decided to pick the show back up and quickly caught up. My thoughts? The show is still crazy, I still talk to the TV (I’m glad Quinn finally figured her shit out, but dammit Fitz! You’re being such an idiot right now), but at least Olivia Pope’s face is less intense than before. She might even be really acting instead of constantly overacting.

On that same note, my mom picked up the show this week and has already made it to season 3. Granted, she is watching it while she paints her house, so she has plenty of time to watch. I am LOVING her texts about the show, especially these: “Olivia is not drinking all that wine. It has to be grape juice or red bull!” and “I can’t believe the Pres acts like this!”

Agreed, Julia. Agreed.

Lastly, I am becoming a Maryland resident within the next few weeks. Short story, I have to get my own car insurance (I’m becoming a real adult every single day), which means I have to register the car in the state I currently live. I have a lot of thoughts about this, which I’ll save for another post. Ooooh, cliffhanger!

Alright, now time to be productive. Which means trying out a new yoga studio near me and placing the papers I need to grade on my coffee table–hey, in sight, in mind, right?

from above

scarves left to right: a friend brought this back from London (aka I don’t know how to find it?) // Zara soft checked scarf // Zara printed scarf

jewelry left to right: J.Crew Factory chain link bracelet // J.Crew Factory chain bracelet // Stella & Dot Amelie Sparkle bracelet // J.Crew Factory layered crystal necklace // J.Crew Factory layered circle necklace // Style & Co gold watch // KD Alex & Ani bangle (gifted) // Target gold stretch bracelet

boots: Mossimo tall zipper boots // boots bought in France (similar) // Guess riding boots