Do For You

G O O D   M O R N I N G  &  h a p p y   m o n d a y

This week’s post is covering the importance of doing for you.  So often, our actions are dictated by a deadline, a job, a role- parent, partner, student, employee, etc.  But it is so important to take time to do the things you enjoy.  It’s like a little reset button each time we do something to take care of ourselves- we have more energy and patience to take on the tasks and roles that serve those around us.

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So, in the spirit of “do for you,” my mom and I took advantage of my day off last week and had ourselves a nice girls day.  I was off from work because NJ schools were closed for the NJEA convention, and my mom took a half day.  I met her at work so she could show me the beautiful Lawrenceville School campus, then we drove to Princeton for a delicious lunch at Mistral. Everything about our experience at this restaurant was perfect.  We sat in the main dining area, in which the main focal point is a bar with stools that sits directly open to the kitchen.  We sat at a cozy table near the window for a view of the whole restaurant.  The waitstaff was exceptional and attentive without being overbearing, and provided us with some great recommendations.

The lunch menu is a mix of unique small shareable plates and main course items.  Mistral sources their ingredients from local farms, bakeries, and butchers.  They have an impressive list of craft cocktails, wines, and spirits.  We started our lunch with a cocktail: I got the Element and my mom got the The Vuvuzela- both delicious, unique, and refreshing.  We shared the Burrata small plate as an appetizer- the cheese was perfectly creamy, topped with chives and red pepper flakes, over a bed of arugula and peperonata.  Served on the side was a roasted black-garlic crostini topped with fresh grated parmesan.  It was delicious and the perfect size to share!

For entrees, I ordered the chicken casesar salad and my mom had the smoked tuna melt.  Both were to die for.  The tuna was perfectly smoky, pairing well with the cheddar, apple, and walnut flavors.  The caesar dressing with cured egg yolk was creamy and salty- just the way it’s supposed to be.  The chicken on my salad was grilled to perfection.  We drank wine with our lunch entrees then moved on to dessert.  We ordered the Frozen Bee Hive which was not only delicious, but a true work of art.  A thick layer cookie crust topped with frozen honey, lavender, and lemon curd (consistency of ice-cream).  This was held together with a toasted marshmallow in the shape of a beehive- so cute!

Espresso beverages went well with dessert and we moved on to shopping! There was a farmer’s market right next door that was wrapping up so we checked out a few tents and walked around the adorable streets of Princeton.  It was so nice to spend the day with my mom doing the things we both love.  I would love to hear what you guys do when you “do for you.”    I hope you all have a beautiful week and that you make time to do something nice for yourself.  xx

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Organize Your Bathroom in 4 Simple Steps

Hi everyone! What better way to start your week than with a little organization motivation?  We are approaching the colder months which is a nice time to tackle these indoor projects, one small space at a time.  By popular demand, this week’s blog post is covering 4 simple steps to organize the bathroom.

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Step 1 | Purge

Grab a big trash bag (or 2) and bring it into the bathroom.  Those half empty conditioner bottles that have been collecting dust in your drawers or taking space up in your shower- toss them or donate them.  A good rule to follow: Pretend you are moving and you only have the space/energy to pack what you really use- if you haven’t used a product in a year, it’s not likely you will use it in the future.  Whether you toss it in the trash or offer it to someone who might get use out of it- that’s up to you.  The point here is, get rid of the crap you hoard!  We’re all guilty of this.

Step 2 | Categorize

Start with one small space at a time- a drawer, a cabinet, the space under the sink, etc.  Chunking one room into smaller spaces will ensure you don’t get in over your head and you can feel accomplished with each small victory.  Make categories for the contents in that space and pile them accordingly.  For example- face products, body lotions, nail polish, soaps/body gels, vitamins, hair products, etc. Do the same with your makeup- foundations, bronzers and blushes, eyeshadows, lip products, brushes, etc.

Step 3 | Contain

The containers make all the difference in my opinion.  Play with different options that work for the space you are tackling.  If you want to get real technical, you can measure your drawers before you go to the store to make sure the containers you buy will fit.  Usually I just buy what I think will work and return anything unused.  There’s also the option to look through your own house to see if there are any unused tupperware containers or boxes that can serve the same purpose.  Here’s a tip- if you have a Birchbox subscription, I love to use the boxes that the products come in as dividers in my bathroom drawers- and they cost me nothing extra!  I will post hyperlinks to all of my favorite containers at the end of the post.

Step 4 | Label

I find this especially effective for the space under my sink where I added plastic drawers to organize all of my products.  Its so nice to be able to know exactly where everything is without having to open every drawer to see what’s inside.  Some of you may be able to skip this step, but my type-A self loves to label.  These plain white labels come in a pack of 128 for less than $2- you can’t beat that!   Simple masking tape works great too.  The nice thing about a writing on a sticker label is that if you ever choose to reorganize the drawers/ containers with different items, you can easily peel that label off and make a new one.

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These plastic stackable drawers are great for larger items such as sunscreen, vitamin bottles, hair products, etc.  I put all of my samples and travel sized items in the smaller 5-drawer unit, which I purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond.  I can’t find the exact unit but this is similar and would work just as well for those smaller items.  I got the wicker caddy that I use for all of my hair styling tools at Home Goods.  I can’t find the same one either but any utensil caddy with large enough sections would work- this one from Target looks perfect.  To organize cosmetics, hair ties, bobby pins, nail polish, etc., I like these clear plastic tray organizers– you can just buy one or put multiple side by side and they are super easy to clean.  My favorite places to buy these items are TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond.  Between those four stores (and Amazon) you should be able to find exactly what you need!  Good luck and happy organizing! xx

October Favorites

Happy Monday friends!  It’s Halloween eve- where in the world did October go because I feel like I blinked and it was over?  In other news, I want to try a monthly post covering my favorite products for that month- anything from beauty to clothing to household items.  I love your feedback so let me know if this interests you/ thoughts on my first post like this!  In no particular order, here are my October favorites:

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 | Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish |

You guys this stuff is good.  One of the things I gave up when I started fieldwork (no income for more than six months) was my twice-a-month gel manicures.  I hate the look of chipped polish so regular nail polish is out of the question- I would have to paint my nails 2x/week- who has time for that?  The Essie Gel Couture polishes give you a durable gel-like shine without a UV light- all you need is the top coat.  It usually lasts me about 10 days, it dries quickly, and there are a ton of pretty shades to choose from. My current favorite color is “Fairy Tailor” which is a beautiful pale pinkish nude (think OPI’s Bubble Bath).  I will keep you posted when I find the right burgundy shade!

| Mercanti Fiorenti Loafers |

Best DSW find ever.  Nubuck suede loafers with a bow tie detail.  They look like TOD’s, but for a fifth of the price.  I have the color red and will likely be purchasing a second pair in brown leather.  They are super comfortable and run true to size.  Not to mention they are a family-run business in Tuscany, Italy- love that!

| Pumpkin Spice RXBAR |

I love RXBARs- very few simple, clean ingredients that you can pronounce with no added sugar and enough protein to get you through to the next meal.  If you haven’t tried them- you must!  Pumpkin Spice is definitely one of my favorite flavors, and it seems fitting to enjoy in the fall.  My other favorites are maple sea salt and coconut chocolate.

| Batiste Dry Shampoo |

I recently picked this up at Marshalls and fell. in. love.  I wash my hair every other day so I like to keep it fresh and clean on the off-days.  I have tried so many dry shampoos- from high end brands like Living Proof to wallet-friendly drugstore options.  This one takes the cake by a long shot and it’s super affordable at $7.99 from Ulta. Word of advice- look out for it at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx when you go. I was able to snag it for just under $5! I have the original scent which doesn’t smell like much but boy does it work!  So excited to share this one with you guys- I promise you will love it!

| Grey Joggers |

Guys- I can’t say enough about these pants.  They are only $16.99 from Target and they are by far the comfiest pants I have ever owned.  They are advertised as pajama pants but can definitely work as joggers and be dressed up with sneakers and a sweater to wear in public.  I literally live in them and would consider purchasing a second pair because I like them so much.

| Lipsense Starter Kit |

Lipsense comes in a variety of beautiful colors and lasts for a long time- I usually get a full work day out of it when I reapply the glossy gloss 2-3 times. A starter kit comes with one lip color of your choice, the glossy gloss (which is necessary to lock in the lip color), and an oops remover (helps you take it off at EOD and erase any goof-ups). I own the colors Pink Champagne and Bella.  They look great layered or alone and are the perfect shades for fall.  Pink champagne is my everyday go-to and I add Bella for a night out look.  I hyperlinked the Facebook group of the Lipsense distributor I use if you guys are interested in purchasing!  Kate is amazing and posts frequent how-to videos, runs promotions, ships purchased products directly to you, and has a customer satisfaction guarantee- if you are not happy with the product or color you choose, she will give you a full refund or replace it with a different color.  This is a must try for those of you who are tired of spending good money on lip products that wear off after your morning cup of coffee or your first cocktail out!

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Just so you guys are aware, these recommendations are in no way sponsored- I just like to share good quality products that I have tried and loved.  Cheers to a productive week and a happy and safe Halloween!  xx

My Bestie’s Bridal Shower

Hi all!  If you have been following along my blogging journey, you’ll likely know that one of my best friends is getting married in December!  I wrote a post here with all of the bachelorette weekend details if you are interested in checking that out.  For this week’s post, I wanted to share all of the fun bridal shower details- lots of photos, the games we played, and where to purchase most of the decor.

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 | Location |

The Chart House, Weehawken, NJ.  Stunning views of the NYC skyline and the Hudson River.

| Menu |

Prior to the main course, we helped ourselves to a table with fresh bagels, muffins, croissants, cheese, and fruit.  Mimosas and champagne were served throughout the shower.  Lunch was served buffet style- french toast, sausage, bacon, eggs benedict, chopped salad, eggplant parm, and a make-your-own omelet bar.  Dessert was a red velvet cake, fruit, assorted cookies, and raspberry macaroons.  YUM!  The cake, cookies, and macaroons were from the Hudson Cakery.  Everything was delicious.

| Theme |

All of the framed signs, the photo prop, and invites were a beautiful floral pattern.  These were printed at Staples but the file is from the Etsy shop CreativeUnionDesign.  The color scheme was pink, pops of green from the greenery, and rose gold.

Registry |

The bride and groom registered at Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Amazon.

| Entertainment |

Bride or Groom? We played a game to see who knows the bride and groom best- the MOB asked guests a list of questions and we held up pictures of either the bride or the groom, depending on who we thought it was.  Example questions- who’s the better skier, who went on an African safari, who was 9 lbs. at birth?  She told us the answers when everyone held up a picture, and if you got the question wrong, you sat down.  The last person/people standing won a prize.  This was so much fun!

Registry Bingo.  Items that the bride registered for were typed up onto bingo cards.  As the bride opened gifts, guests marked off the item on their bingo card.  Prizes for winners to both games were oil and vinegar from a gourmet cheese shop in the bride’s home town- Fourchette.

In addition to these two games, guests were asked to write down fun date night ideas, favorite recipes, and guess how many hershey kisses in a jar.  Two games was the perfect amount of structured fun for a 4-hour shower!

 | Decor |

Balloons | Banner | Confetti

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This post was special for me to write because I love being able to document these sweet details of my best friend’s journey to wifehood.  The bride and her mom did a beautiful job planning this shower and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.  Hope you all have a fabulous week! xx

Podcasts I’m Loving

Good morning and happy Monday friends!  Today’s post is going to cover some of my current favorite podcasts- I listen on my hour long commute every day, while I get ready in the morning, paint my nails, or make dinner.  Podcasts are something I’m just recently getting in to- I love music but my Pandora stations are a little stale and I’m so over the radio.  I’ve hit my threshold for Despacito and Slow Hands- gotta take a break for a few years.  I use the iPhone Podcast app to download mine, but there are other free avenues to stream/download them including Google Play Music and Spotify.  One word of advice: download the podcasts using wifi so you don’t waste data streaming them.  Happy listening!

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| Dirty John |

If you watched and enjoyed the Netflix docuseries, Making a Murderer, you will love this.  Its currently ranked #1 on Apple’s top charts- and for a good reason.  Without giving too much away, I will tell you it covers a true story about love and deception.  There are only 6 episodes form start to finish, each ranging from 35-55 minutes long.  You will be hooked after the first one- I promise!

| Serial |

There are SO many to choose from but I am currently listening to Season 1 Episodes 1-12 (and updates 1-3).  The host delves into a murder trial from 1999- a well-rounded high school boy is convicted for murder of his ex girlfriend, but swears he’s innocent and may have been unfairly represented by his now deceased lawyer.  This is another one you will enjoy if you liked Making a Murderer.

| From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl |

I have followed Yoga Girl on Instagram for a few years now.  She has a fresh perspective on life and is known for being authentic and unfiltered.  She eloquently shares stories about life’s highs and lows and extracts lessons from her experiences.  She just recently started a podcast and uploads new episodes every Friday, which I look froward to.  You do not have to like, practice, or know anything about yoga to enjoy these.

| This American Life |

This is a weekly public radio show with over 2.2 million listeners.  It’s hard to write an umbrella description for this one because the episodes cover a broad range of topics.  Check it out!  There are so many to choose from based on your interests.  My favorite episode so far is #597: One Last Thing Before I Go.  Have your tissues in hand for this episode- it’s so moving.

| Waking Up with Sam Harris |

Sam Harris is an incredibly intelligent neuroscientist, philosopher, and author.  He covers current affairs, societal trends, controversial topics, and the essence of human experience.  To be honest, some of the stuff he covers can be a bit over my head, but it challenges me to focus and use my brain!

| Listen Money Matters |

Does anyone else think there should be a class in high school called Adulting:101?  This podcast covers everything you need to know about money- how to use it, how to save it, and how to invest it. I could rattle off the diagnostic criteria for every diagnosis in the DSM-5 (jk I totally couldn’t), but what the hell is the difference between a Betterment, Vanguard, and Roth IRA?  I think it’s important to make informed decisions about how you handle your money, and the best time to learn is now!

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If you guys have any recommendations for me, please let me know! I am always looking for new ones to listen to.  Hope you all have a productive week! xx

 

Designer to Drugstore Makeup Alternatives

Happy Monday friends!  I have the day off for Columbus Day so I am thankful to have slept in and am currently enjoying my morning cup of coffee on the couch as I write this post.  Per your request, I am sharing 5 drugstore brand makeup alternatives for pricier, high-end products.  Being a graduate student with very limited income for the next few months, I have tried to cut spending where I can.  For example, I do my own nails now as opposed to getting them done, I make my coffee at home instead of stopping on the way to work, and I swapped some of the pricier items in my makeup bag for more affordable alternatives that work just as well!  

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Loose powder | Swap this for this

I have a naturally shinier complexion, so I always use a loose mattifying powder over my foundation.  I used to love Make Up Forever’s HD Microfinishing loose powder, but at it’s $36 price point, it had to be swapped for something more affordable.  After trialling a few different products, I discovered and fell in love with NYX Studio Finishing Powder.  It’s a loose mattifying powder, costs $9.99, and can be purchased at Ulta or Target, saving me a drive to the mall.  I have also used NARS loose powder for $37, and I still think the NYX powder is a better product for the price.

Bronzer | Swap this for this

I have been using Bobbi Brown bronzer in the color natural for years.  It has a natural, matte finish, which I always preferred over shimmery.  Another favorite for the summer or a night out is NARS Laguna Bronzer.  It has a touch of golden shimmer that doesn’t feel too sparkly and adds the right amount of color for a sun-kissed look.  I love these bronzers and never expected to switch to a cheaper alternative because I didn’t think it would hold a candle to my go-to’s.  Well, I did.  NYX Matte Bronzer in the color medium is the cheaper clone of Bobbi Brown’s $44 bronzer.  At $8.99, it provides just the right amount of natural looking color for an every day look.

Dark circle concealer | Swap this for this

I have always had dark circles under my eyes so a good concealer is a must.  I have tried too many products to count but I have most recently been using It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer.  It provides good coverage but the shade is a bit off for me-  the color light is too light and medium seems to be a tad too dark.  At $24 and a shade that isn’t quite right, I was on the hunt for a new product.  I now use NYX Dark Circle Concealer in the color light.  It has orange undertones to counteract the purple shade that dark circles tend to have, doesn’t cake or crease throughout the day, and is only $5.99.

Mascara | Swap this for this

If you use any high-end volumizing mascara, please give Covergirl’s LashBlast Volume Mascara a try- you will thank me later.  I have tried SO many mascaras- both designer and drugstore, and I always return to Covergirl’s.  I get the shade very black and I often do a coat of the regular mascara, and a coat of the waterproof variety to seal the look.  The brush is amazing- it separates lashes so you don’t look like you have spider legs extending from your eyeballs (pet peeve of mine), it adds volume, and makes lashes look longer.  What more can you ask for? Oh yeah, it’s only $6.94 at Walmart.  Pro tip- only buy this at Walmart as Ulta sells it for $8.99.

Felt tip eyeliner | Swap this for this

I have tried a few different brands of felt tip eye liners in black.  I like the felt tip liners because they’re easy to use, provide a very thin line that you can build up if desired, and offer a lot of control in application.  Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner always worked well for me but in the interest of my bank account, I searched for a more affordable alternative.  I really like Rimmel London’s Colour Precise Eyeliner as it is long-lasting, easy to use, and affordable at $5.99.

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I wanted to end this post by saying that although I love a bargain for a good product, I also believe in investing in products that are high-quality, good for you, and good for the environment.  I am learning more about healthier alternatives for many of the beauty products I use daily, and I will keep you all posted as I do.  In the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this post and can benefit from these money saving makeup tips.  If you guys swear by any affordable products, please share with me!! Also- any magic tricks to get rid of dark under-eye circles? Send them my way.  Enjoy your Monday and the week ahead! xx

Outstanding in the Field

Good morning and happy Monday! Quick update- I survived my first week of fieldwork and I love my supervisors, the setting, and the kiddos I work with!  I am so grateful for the path that led me to OT- waking up every morning at 5:30 isn’t so bad when you’re doing what you love 🙂

For this week’s post, I want to share more about my wonderful experience at an Outstanding in the Field event at Plowshare Farms in Pipersville, PA.  They travel to different farms across the country (and France) and bring in local renowned chefs from the area to prepare a family style meal using the farm’s fresh ingredients and other local goodies.  I encourage you to check out the hyperlink to their website to learn more about what they do!  Attending one of these events has been on my mom’s bucket list for quite some time, and I am so thankful to have shared the experience with her.  We decided to make it an annual mother-daughter date since we had so much fun!  We started our day with cocktails on the outdoor patio bar at Buttonwood Grill in Peddlers Village– I got a cantaloupe martini and she got a cucumber martini.  Both were so delicious and refreshing on the hot day that it was!  From there we headed to Plowshare Farms.

Upon arrival, we signed in and dropped off our plates.  Although not mandatory, guests are encouraged to bring their own plates- another fun aspect of this event.  If you don’t want to bring your own or forget, they have ones for you to use!  The event began with a welcome/cocktail hour where the wait staff passed around hors d’oeuvres and guests sipped a on local sparkling rosé wine, cider, or water- all included with the price of your ticket.  We snapped some photos, admired the table set up beautifully with white linens, checked out the vintage bus the team uses to tour the country, and met some wonderful people to chat with for the rest of the night.  Cocktail hour was followed by a few welcoming words from the event founder and the farmers, then we split up into two groups for a tour of the farm.

After the tour, everyone sat down at the table for a delicious meal.  Each course was paired with a local wine.  One of the things that makes this event so special is how friendly everyone is- the dinner is served family style so you end up chatting with your neighbors while passing plates.  There was something so refreshing about this social exchange with strangers- it was such an intimate setting in a field; with a view of the setting sun, the pasture, tall grass, and endless fields of green.  After a few glasses of wine and good conversation, neighbors on either side of the table quickly became friends.   Dinner was followed by local coffee and chocolates, and a few parting words from the founder, Jim Denevan, and his team.  By the end of the night, the only source of light was from the candles on the table, the moon, and the stars- it was truly magical.  I included some photos below to give you a better idea of how special our night was.  I highly recommend attending one of these events.  Sign up for their email list to be notified when tickets go on sale- they go fast!

Happy October! I hope you all have a beautiful week! xx

Preparing for Change

Happy Monday!  Today is a big day for me- day one of my first level II fieldwork at a special services school district.  For the next three months, I will have the opportunity to apply everything I learned about occupational therapy with a pediatric population.  After that- another three months working at a residential neurorehab facility.  I am craving a routine after a routine-less summer and am experiencing a mix of emotions, but I am excited to begin this last chapter on the path to adulthood 😉

Change is something I try to embrace but I will admit- it’s hard for me.  The anxiety leading up to the change is what does me in- but then I always find a happy, new normal.  Within the last year, I’ve experienced a lot of change- my best friend moved across the country, my family moved from the home we built in Hunterdon County, NJ to a house in New Hope, PA; I finished the academic portion of graduate school, and I no longer work as an instructor at JW Tumbles- a job I held and loved for over seven years.  Moving boxes, hugs, a few shed tears, demolition, paint, and sawdust (my family is remodeling our new house)- I am finally starting to settle into a new routine and see beauty in the change.

One of the more adaptive ways I manage stress and anxiety is to organize.  I’m not sure if its a type-A thing or a me thing but having a clean and organized physical space helps me emulate that same mental state.  It’s almost like nesting- except without the baby.  So this past week, to prepare for a big change and quiet the anxious mental chatter, I organized my closet.  For this week’s post, I am sharing some of my tried and true tips to help organize and maintain a clean closet.

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| Use the same hangers |

This makes a surprisingly big difference in the appearance of your closet as it reduces visual clutter and increases uniformity.  I like these black, velvet, non-slip hangers for pants, shirts and dresses; and these wooden hangers with clips for skirts, shorts, and strapless dresses.  I tagged both items from Walmart but they can also be purchased at any Marshalls, TJ Maxx, or Home Goods.

| Organize clothing by length |

This will not only help you find specific items you are looking for when getting dressed each morning, but it can also help you visualize what you have enough of/ what you need to stock up on.  For example, I have all of my shirts hung on the top rack of my closet organized in the following categories- long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless.  I have more than enough long sleeve shirts, but very few short sleeves so next time I go shopping, I have a better idea of what I need.  My dresses are organized by length and sleeve- all of my short dresses are hung in order from long sleeve to sleeveless.  I do the same for my maxi dresses, then I hang all of my strapless dresses together.    It sounds excessive but all it requires is a few minutes of rearranging hangers- super simple.

| Organize clothing by color |

Within each section based on length, each item is organized in rainbow order.  I start with black, then brown, then gray/ivory/white (darkest to lightest), then continue with the colors of the rainbow.  If you do anything to organize your closet, I would suggest putting the time in to do this.  I never have to search for anything in my closet because I always know exactly where it is based on the color of the item I’m looking for.  For my jeans, I continue with the ombre theme- darkest to lightest.  My dark wash jeans are hung to the left, then medium wash, then light wash, then white.  I have some patterned work pants and khakis/chinos that I hang to the left of all of my jeans.

| Organize shoes by type |

One of the perks of moving into the new house was a major closet upgrade- I am able to organize each type of shoe on a different shelf.  I like these stackable, white shoes shelves from Target.  Here are the categories that work best for me: sneakers, boots, flat closed-toed shoes, flat sandals, and heels.  If you don’t have enough room in your closet, you can still throw the shoes in labeled tubs to stay organized.  Within each shoe type, I also organize them by color because I have the space and I am slightly insane 😉 but this is definitely not necessary.

| Keep your closet current | 

If you haven’t worn it in a year, ask yourself why and initiate the appropriate next step.  About four times a year, at the start of each season- I like to go through my closet and do a quick assessment.  If something is dirty and the dry cleaner can’t save it, if it has holes, if you would be embarrassed to give it away- toss it.  Some bins accept clothing to be scrapped and recycled so search for something like that in your town.  For the items that are in good condition- you can either choose to donate them or sell them.

Use your judgement for the items you choose to sell- for example, I sell my designer purses, shoes, or brand-name exercise clothes and jeans because I know they are in good condition and I can get some money for them.  I use an app called Mercari to post these items for sale.  I have had a lot of luck selling Lululemon clothes, Michael Kors handbags, jewelry, designer watches, and Ugg boots.  It is simple and user friendly- you choose who pays for shipping, list your items at the price you wish to sell them, print a prepaid shipping label, and drop it off at your nearest FedEx or post office.  I have friends who have also had luck listing items for sale on sites like Poshmark and Ebay.  In addition to listing items online, I have had some luck selling clothing and shoes at Plato’s Closet.  Search for a location near you, bring the items you want to sell, and they will offer you money for a certain number of items that fit their current inventory needs.  You can choose what to do with the clothing they do not accept.  This is the super easy way to sell the items you no longer want because it all happens in an hour or two- you don’t have to go through the hassle of taking photos, listing each individual item, and waiting for a buyer to purchase.

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Here are some photos of my own closet:

Below is a picture of my (much smaller) closet from our old house to show you that these tips apply to closets of all shapes and sizes!

I hope this post gives you inspiration to organize your own closet and serves as a resource to you in the process.  Here’s to hoping I don’t do anything too embarrassing on my first day of fieldwork 😉 I hope you all have a wonderful week- happy organizing!  If you get a chance to utilize any of these tips- I would love for you to share! xx

Secrets to Happiness

Hi guys!  It’s Monday again- day one of the work week and we’re already counting down the days until the weekend.  I am guilty of succumbing to the occasional case of the Monday blues- who isn’t?    However, I like the idea of beginning each week with something fresh and positive to set the tone for the week ahead.  This is one of the reasons I chose to update the blog with a weekly post, every Monday.  Those of you who know me might better understand the meaning behind the name of my blog, Through Rose-Colored Glasses.  I see the best in people, view the glass half full, and tend to have a positive perspective on life in general.  I’m here today to share some of my own tips for maintaining a rose-tinted perspective, even during tougher times.

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| Practice gratitude |

This is a biggie.  In my opinion, the happiest people are those who are genuinely grateful.  Take time every day to remind yourself of the things that are going well.  The big things and the seemingly insignificant things- they all matter.  Did you have a delicious cup of coffee this morning?  That’s a reason to take a moment to be thankful.  It’s easy to get caught up in the daily noise of life, but this shift in attitude can make a world of difference for your mood.  If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for in the present moment, put on a song that brings you back to a fun moment in your life or take a look at some photos from a fabulous vacation with your girlfriends- I find that I am most thankful reflecting on nostalgic moments.  Everyone in my life knows how much I love to take pictures- I treasure their way of reminding me how good I have it.

| A clutter-free space= a clutter-free mind |

I truly believe this.  When your environment is cluttered and disorganized, so is your mind.  When I am stressed, I organize.  My friends and family know this- during the week leading up to the start of a new school year, my Mom used to find me knee deep in the contents of my closet because naturally, it was time to reorganize.  It’s an adaptive way to deal with stress, although I understand not everyone is as crazy as me 🙂 My advice is to focus on one small space at a time to tackle (i.e. kitchen junk drawer)- toss what needs to be tossed, donate the items with a little life still left in them, and find a home for the items you choose to keep.  During this process, keep in mind that stuff doesn’t make you happy- experiences and fulfilling relationships do. I plan to do an organization series as this is a passion of mine so stay tuned for more tips!

| Make time for you |

Everyone needs a break to focus on you and only you.  This one doesn’t need much explaining but everyone needs a reminder to be selfish once in a while- especially those of you who fulfill the caretaker role.  Some of my go-to’s: Go for a walk, sip on a cappuccino at a cute coffee shop, get a mani-pedi when it’s in the budget, take a bubble bath, or arrange some fresh flowers in a pretty vase for my bedroom.  Identify what helps you unwind and indulge a little!

| Reflect and prioritize |

Mental chatter- that persistent and perpetual stream of consciousness reminding you of the things you need to get done, the friends you forgot to call back, the appointments you have to make. It keeps you up at night and adds stress to your busy day.  First-listen.  Then- write. it. down. I am a to-do list connoisseur and if you’re not already, I hope to convert you.  As a visual learner, writing things down helps my brain make sense of all that chatter, and helps me prioritize each task.  Nothing is more satisfying than checking each item off your list.  To-do lists got me through the didactic portion of grad school, developed my time-management skills, and contribute to my happiness, one check at a time.

| Surround yourself with love |

Spend time with the people the support you, cheer you on, and lift your spirits.  A strong support system is so important.  Reflect on how the people in your life make you feel- appreciate those who love and support you and reevaluate relationships with people who bring you down.

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I’m so thankful for those of you who the take time to read my posts- your support means the world! Here are some photos of the things, places, and people in my life that make me happy.

A delicious cappuccino | Scout’s Coffee Bar + Mercantile

Fresh cut flowers | Even better- hydrangeas

A Jersey Shore sunrise | Cape May, NJ

The Orchid House | Duke Farms

Mark | My boyfriend and best friend

More flowers | Mark’s Mom’s garden

Black raspberry ice cream | Moo Hope Ice Cream 

The change of seasons | Leonard J. Buck Garden

Iced coffee with a view | The Stone Bean

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I would love to hear from you- what are your favorite things to do to unwind?  Happy Monday and cheers to a great week ahead! xx

My Bestie’s Bachelorette Weekend

Hi everyone! I am so excited to share more about my weekend in Southampton, NY to celebrate my best friend Kim’s bachelorette party.  A weekend in the Hamptons was not part of our original itinerary, but Hurricane Irma had other plans.  We had everything booked for a trip to Charleston- a paddle boarding tour, flights, reservations, and a place to stay.  The day before our Thursday flight, we chose to cancel our trip and figure out plan B after hearing of South Carolina’s decision to declare a state of emergency.  Kim, in her true nature, had a full itinerary and new location for the bachelorette weekend by Wednesday evening.  Morgan, Kim’s best friend from college, was kind enough to welcome us into her family’s home in Southampton, NY.  Let the celebrations begin!

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HATS  | TUMBLERS | BANNER

 

The Itinerary.

| THURSDAY |

We got to the house in Southampton around 4 pm, unpacked, freshened up, then headed to dinner at an adorable restaurant in Hampton Bays called Cowfish.  It was fantastic! Reasonably priced, great cocktails, delicious food, and a gorgeous view of the water.  We were all starving so we split the guacamole and spinach artichoke dip, which were both great.  I had two mojitos and the scallops for dinner- there wasn’t a single crumb left on my plate.  For dessert we all split two iron skillet cookies- YUM.  After dinner, we headed home for some wine and a good night’s sleep because we had an exercise class scheduled for the morning!

| FRIDAY |

 We started the morning with coffee, flagels and cream cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice, and fruit.  After breakfast we all got changed into exercise pants and the adorable matching tanks Morgan got for all of us.  We headed to SoulCycle for a good sweat and some fun!  It was my first time trying a SoulCycle class and I loved it- besides the fact that it’s a little pricey to do regularly ($40 price point for a single class).  The instructor was great, the music was so much fun, and the choreography wasn’t too intimidating.  There were a few moves I wasn’t able to master by the end of the class, but it was super challenging and really fun.  After class, we spent the rest of the day by the pool.  The bride got us all personalized adorable floppy sun hats from Etsy so of course we took a ton of photos!

After a beautiful day at the pool, we went to Jue Lan Club for a family style dinner.  Appetizers were vegetable spring rolls, chicken satay skewers, edamame dumplings, and vegetable lettuce wraps.  For entrees, we shared sweet & sour chicken, vegetable fried rice, garlic broccoli, chicken lo mein, and flat noodles.  Dessert was a piece of red velvet cake and Oreo cheesecake.  EVERYTHING was delicious.  The groom sent sparklers and two bottles of Moet to the table, which we happily sipped throughout dinner.

After dinner, we walked next door to the Southampton Social Club for more drinks and dancing- so much fun!  They have a beautiful patio with a warm fire place, standing tables, an outdoor bar, cabanas, and strung up lights.  We started out in a cabana then moved our way to the dance floor.  A bachelorette weekend would’t be complete without a night out!

| SATURDAY |

On Saturday we were lucky enough to tour some local vineyards by limo.  The first one we went to was Paumanok Vineyards.  They had a menu of different tasting options so everyone was able to pick their own tasting based on what type of wines they like.  I did the festival tasting which included a Chardonnay, Rosé, red blend, and semi-dry Resiling.  My favorite was definitely the Rosé!  We split two charcuterie boards and admired the view of the vineyard.

Next stop was Laurel Lake Vineyards.  We sat outside at picnic tables, chat about puppies and memories from high school, and drank some more wine.  I split a bottle of the 2012 Merlot with another girl and it was really delicious!  Our wine tour was cut a bit short when we got to the final vineyard because they did not tell us when we called ahead of time that limos are not permitted to enter the vineyard.  We made the best of it, popped a bottle of champagne in the limo, and headed back to the house!

Saturday night was low key because we were all exhausted from the day.  We had a cheese plate on the patio then went to the beach to enjoy the view and snap some photos- I posted a silly one we took with a glitter popper and a selfie stick.  A lot of the glitter ended up in my mouth, which gave us all a good laugh.  We headed in for dinner and admired a gorgeous view of the sunset.  After dinner, we put a chick flick on and got a good night of sleep!

| SUNDAY |

Our Last day 🙁 A few of us got up early to make a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise- something I always enjoy doing at the beach because the view is so stunning and unobstructed.  After a leisurly morning, we packed up our stuff in the car, gave a proper mimosa toast sendoff, and headed to Tate’s Bakeshop in Southampton to pick up some cookies on our way to brunch.  Our last destination for the bachelorette weekend was brunch at Wölffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor.  The town of Sag Harbor is just adorable- there are tons of cute shops and restaurants (and luxury cars) lining the main streets, and a beautiful marina.  Brunch was fantastic- two highlights for me were the eggs Benedict and grilled cheese.  After a delicious meal we headed back home, thankful as ever to have enjoyed such a beautiful weekend.

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A huge thank you to Morgan for hosting us in your family’s beautiful home and to Kim for being the opposite of a bridezilla and planning the best weekend ever-twice! I am SO thankful to have had the opportunity to spend the weekend in the Hamptons with a fabulous group of girls celebrating the beautiful bride.  I hope everyone has a great week! xx

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