Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Favorites!

I'm in denial that July is over. It happens every single year though. May and June move nice and slow at a normal, relaxed pace and then you blink and July is over. So yep. Here we are on the final day of July. Luckily for me, I have some fun things lined up (a roadtrip, a quick trip to Cape May, and a visit to Charleston in October) so I guess it's not too bad that summer is winding down.

I thought I'd share some of my July favorites. These are all things I either discovered this month or used too much to ignore!


Kiehl's Micro-Blur Skin Perfector // This has been featured on my blog before, but now it's stood about six weeks of serious testing. Verdict? Awesome. I can't pinpoint if my skin is necessarily better because of the product... but my skin has improved and I can say that it serves as a great primer for my makeup application. (Garrett has been using it too and loves it... but you didn't hear that from me.)

Gap Favorite V-Neck Tee // I've been keeping things super casual around here lately. If I'm not dressed up for a meeting or dinner, I'm wearing one of these v-necks. I have a bunch from Old Navy that are great, but the Gap ones are definitely way better quality. I've been wearing them with jeans, chino shorts, and running shorts. I think I need to really stock up on more though because I wear the ones I have so often!

Lemon & Line Navy Rope Bracelet // I've been wearing this like every single day! I either wear this one or this tan one. Such a fun addition to the stack, but I've also been wearing just the rope bracelets with nothing else. (As seen here in this Instagram and this Instagram!)

Krass & Co Running Shorts // My collection of these is big, but not big enough. I really have been rotating between my favorite prints and patterns. I wear them every morning when I'm out walking Teddy and I would be lying if I said I haven't also been working while wearing them during the day. (With the Gap v-necks, of course.)

Water Bobble // I am in loveeeeee with this water bottle. It's the perfect shape/size/weight/everything to carry around the city. It's definitely also changing the way I drink water (aka drinking more)... which is amazing!

Paypal Mobile App // I don't know why it took me so long to download this. I use Paypal a lot, both personally and with my blog so it's been great to be able to access my accounts on the go. And a lot of stores in NYC are accepting Paypal now, which seriously makes it easy to pay.

Starbucks Iced Coffee // Yep, saying it again... I'm obsessed. I don't think the taste is for everyone, but I definitely love it. It's worth trying some of the bottled Starbucks drinks even if the coffee ones aren't for you. It's so easy and I like being able to twist a lid shut when I'm running from place to place.

Poppin Pens // I'm not picky about pens (if it writes, I'll use it), but I definitely play favorites. These are THE best I've used in a long time. They write smoothly and look adorable. I have one currently in each handbag I've been using, one at my desk, one at my coffee table, and one that Garrett stole (and loves). They come in different colors, but the ink is either black or blue so be sure to read the description to know what you're getting!

What would you add to your own July Favorites list?

xoxo

PS The end of July also means that there's only a few more days to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.... Did we just discover the perfect sweater?! YES.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Five Ways to Stand Out

Want to stand out? In the classroom if you're in school or in the office if you have a job (regardless of the industry)... Getting lost in the crowd can hurt you in the long run. Really though. Stand out in the right way (aka for good reasons) and you just might get the best research opportunities from a professor who notices your outstanding talent or the promotion and raise you've been waiting for at work. (And... interns... this is the best way to be recognized among your peers for those coveted full time positions.)

image via Art.com

#1 Stay on top of your inbox

This is absolutely the number one way you can stand out. Everyone is bombarded with emails every day. I get it– emails can be the bane of my existence. But you don't want to be known as the girl who's "terrible with responding to emails." I think nowadays being great with email correspondence is a sign of professionalism.

I personally have a "respond to everything" practice that I strictly adhere to. I don't respond to every email I receive (like retail campaigns and junk mail and "there's birthday cake in the kitchen" emails),  but I do make sure that if it needs a response, it gets taken care of... promptly. (If Mickey Drexler can respond to every email... it's definitely possible.) 

This has been a priority for me and I cannot even begin to tell you how much this has made a difference in my career. Opportunities don't knock on the door anymore... they pop up in your inbox. Staying on top of your inbox might mean something different for everyone. But I think two key factors are: keeping your inbox organized and reading everything.

I'm thinking that there might need to be a whole post about inbox maintenance– let me know if that's something you want me to do!

#2 Know your value

This may not make you a favorite person in the moment, but you should always know your value and stand by it. The first rule of negotiation is that there is always wiggle room. (ALWAYS.) No one in their right mind is going to tell you the highest number they're willing to offer. A good businessperson is going to lowball you in the hopes you agree because they save some money. Negotiate. Now, if you're one year out of college, you don't want to go into the negotiation demanding six figures. Research what the industry standard is and know what you're going to bring to the table.

It really doesn't just go for money, but that tends to be the easiest example to demonstrate. It's also important to know your value for how you get treated by someone (a boss, a significant other, etc.).

#3 Have a life

This is one that I haven't always done, but now really believe. I went into a meeting the other week that turned out to be a job interview. (I know! I was just as surprised as you are!) I'm not looking for a job, but I'm also not not looking for a job. If something amazing came up, I would definitely consider it. So I considered this job for a bit... but it was for a startup and I know how startups go having worked at one for over a year. I love having a life right now outside of work and I turned the job down.

I was totally one of those hamsters on the wheel last year and I honestly kind of loved it (even if I hated it) because I felt like I was doing something. But burning the candle on both ends of the stick does not translate into having a life. I wasn't living, I was working.

Don't get me wrong, I still work a lot now, but I definitely have a lot more fun and I'm more relaxed and I have lazy days when I want/need to be lazy. As a result of all this living, I think I can bring more to the table. I have more to talk about than just what's going on on the work front, I can travel more and experience different things, and I can really just enjoy things now.

Now that I feel like I actually have a life, which I didn't in college and the first year out of school, I feel like people definitely react differently towards me. Especially in NYC, people will always be shocked that I walk Teddy for an hour and half every morning and that I am not trapped in an office until 9pm. Instead of blending in with bags under my eyes, I can stand out for just being happier.

#4 Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have

This is the easiest thing to do and sometimes the most difficult choice to make in the morning. It doesn't matter if all the other interns are wearing jeans and platform heels that they also wear out on the weekend, unless of course you want to look like all the other interns. Resist the urge to ask a friend what they're wearing to something and instead imagine what your manager or boss would be pulling out her closet... Probably not that tight mini skirt with camisole and boyfriend blazer.

In addition to definitely sending a message to your boss (or professors!) that you take your job seriously, it can also help you internally feel more confident. Confidence = a very good thing.

#5 Find the good in everything

Stand out by being positive!!! I don't think you have to go all rainbows and butterflies on everyone (they might want to strangle you...), but definitely try to avoid getting into negative conversations. Especially if it's a gossipy conversation. So what if SoandSo did XYZ, remind everyone how she saved the day last when she had a copy of the presentation on a flashdrive. Your professor graded the papers harshly? Know that you can use the critiques to study best for the final exam!

There are people who feel wet and then there are people who feel the rain on their skin. (Go for it: break out into song and dance.)

Have you done something to help you stand out, at work or school or otherwise?


xoxo

PS I had already written this post, but I just got an email from an editor from a major publication that I'm friends with. She was CCed on an email thread I was a part of... and her response (of course just to me!) was, "Lol @ '[exact dates and times that I sent over for something.]' You're so organized. (aka-blogger anomaly). I love it :)" It's not something people are used to, but it makes you stand out and it's not that difficult at all to do!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Lilly Pulitzer "Under the Palms" Print

Lilly Pulitzer just released some new arrivals... The "Under the Palms" print seriously caught my eye. I've been loving the palm leaves trend for a good time now, but I think the Lilly version might just have be the tipping point for my first purchase...

Now the question is... which style?! Which color?! I can't decide!


This has definitely been the summer of the maxi dress for me. (I wear this one so much it's kind of embarrassing.) So I know I'd wear this maxi dress every chance I get, but I also love the sleeves on this little number. Just add gold wedges and you're all set.


The green & navy is definitely my favorite color-wise, but the pink is such a fun option too. (Reminds me of a palm tree in the shadows just after the sun sets and the sky is still pink!) The pullover sweatshirt would be perfect for dinners outside when it starts to get a bit chilly... or for riding around on a windy boat! The t-shirt dress has always been a go-to in my closet (this dress is the same fabric and I'm obsessed).


Anyone else in love with the print?! Which option would you choose?

xoxo

PS Hey Lilly design team... can we make a Murfee scarf in this print happen?!
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The College "Don't Forget" Packing List

It's been a little while since I last packed for living in a dorm room, but I thought it was worth bringing up again for you girls heading back to school– or for the moms who read with sons/daughters going back!


This isn't an all-encompassing list... but rather it's a list of commonly forgotten and commonly used items for college. Whether you're going for the first time, or moving in again... double check to make sure you have these things:

Clothing:
– Pack more underwear... really, the more the merrier! You'll be glad you did when you can push out laundry day a little more
– Pack fewer t-shirts and pajamas... t-shirts are handed out like candy on campus so don't overpack your old high school t-shirts and you really don't need five pajama sets.
– Business suit... you never know when a presentation will pop up or if you land an internship interview, be prepared and ready!
– Rain boots... the time you realize you forgot rainboots will be the day you have to walk across campus during a September monsoon. 
– Rain jacket... should definitely have a hood!
– Puffer jacket... for the seasonally-too-soon cold front in October you weren't expecting until December.
– Some kind of costume... costume parties are inevitable, just make sure it's one you're okay with your grandma seeing photos of on Facebook.
– Formal dress... fancy schmancy events do happen from time to time, this way you won't have to spend a fortune the day before.
– Cocktail dress... this should be appropriate for a reception with professors and deans in attendance.

Random:
Duffle bag... for a roadtrip to visit your roommate's parents (home cooked meals....)
Carry-on luggage... when you eventually need to go home for Thanksgiving.
Noise canceling headphones... the library is loud and your roommate chews gum even louder
Playing cards... just good to have.
Checks... sometimes Paypal and Chase quickpay just won't cut it.
– Medical history/prescription refills... for the Strep throat that the entire dorm gets, replacement contact lenses, and surprise allergic reaction.
– Emergency phone numbers... in hard copy: grandparents, doctors, best friends from home, etc.
– Extra posti-its and index cards... the school supplies you'll use the most of.

Bed:
– Extra pillows... pillows make sitting on the floor with friends and studying on your bed better.
– Mattress pad... have you ever actually spent the night on a XL twin without one? It's not okay.
– 2 sets of sheets... again, the laundry situation...
– Stackable plastic bins with drawers... lifesavers for dorm storage. Two stacks of three drawers for under the bed.
– Bed risers... so your stackable bins will fit.

Dorm:
– Tower fan... because you may be able to control the temperature from in your room, but the building is switched to "heat" until May.
– Tool kit... be the hero of your floor with the Phillips head.
– First aid kit... just to be safe.
– Batteries... half of the things you need require batteries and you won't know until your mouse doesn't work anymore.
Wrinkle release spray... LOL, who's going to actually iron?
– Flashlight... the power will go off at least five times.
– Coffee maker... when you're inevitably in a rush the next morning.
– 3M Strips & Hooks... space savers and they won't get you in trouble with the RA during inspections
– Extension cords & Power strip... everything's gotta charge and there just aren't enough outlets.
– Duct Tape... something will break and you won't know how else to fix it.
– Zip ties... because electrical cords everywhere can be a messy nightmare.
– Curtains... you can sleep in without mom making you wake up!
Air freshener... when you need to freshen up but don't want to do a dorm room deep clean

Closet:
– Slim hangers... more space equals more clothes.
– Closet door shoe organizer... great for organizing all kinds of accessories, not just shoes.
– Garment bag... to keep your nice clothes wrinkle free and smelling fresh.
– Jewelry storage... little boxes to store in drawers and things to hang your huge statement necklace collection on.

Did I miss something?! What's something you think is a total "don't forget" for college packing?

xoxo
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Monday, July 28, 2014

5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Money

Because Maxie McCoy Monday wasn't enough... today is Maxie McCoy Monday, Money Edition. Because of our work experience, women and money is something we've talked a lot about together. She's just a smidge older than me and I have definitely asked her for advice a few times! (And commiserated over bank draining purchases like my pink couch and her beautiful leather jacket.)

I love the five tips she shares because they're practical!



Money can be a very sensitive topic. It was something that five years ago I would never talk about. I didn’t bring it up with my girlfriends. I rarely asked my parents for financial advice. And I always figured it was one of those “grown up” issues that would naturally take care of itself, eventually.

Well, now that I’m verifiably one of those “grown ups”... I’ve learned a few things. They are lessons that I’ve either learned the hard way or by listening to the advice of my elders. I can tell you this: there is no reason that money needs to be a taboo topic. If anything, it hurts you and me and everyone else by not being comfortable talking about it. We need to be able to ask for help. And we sure as heck need to share what we learn.

Here’s the thing about finances, they’re not going anywhere. Money will always be a part of life. Your ability to handle this particular topic in your life will have a major impact on your future. So you might as well start diving into it now right?

Save Something, No Matter How Little

I’m lucky that I had parents who always impressed the importance of saving on me. But when I was 22 years old in a big new city trying to pay for my rent, saving 10% of my paycheck as experts suggested was just not an option. So, I saved what I could. And so should you. Whether that’s 20 dollars a paycheck that goes into saving or $200, make sure you have some kind of cushion in case the worst happens. Don’t get caught up in the shoulds. Save what you can early on and trust me that you’ll be able to save 10-20% of your income sooner than you think. 

You Go Broke One Small Purchase at a Time

We see something under thirty bucks, and we don’t think a thing about. Literally, we become broke one $30 purchase at a time because all of those small “harmless” purchases add up. Eventually leaving our bank account depleted. Start tracking what you spend. Don’t give any less meaning to a $30 purchase than you do a $300.

Learn How to Negotiate as Early as Possible
You might say “Duh Max,” but the more your job pays, the more money you have to save and spend. But you’re not going to just be handed more money. You have to learn to ask for it. Asking for what you deserve is a tough skill when you’re new to it, but just like anything else it’s practice. So begin negotiating the little things today that way you can negotiate the big things like salary later.

The LearnVest Program Is Worth Every Penny

I’ve taken my finances to the next level because of the amazing programs provided at LearnVest. They give you access to a fabulous dashboard that makes tracking your budgets and expenses a freaking dream, and they set you up with a certified financial planner who talks you through every step of your financial goals (shout out to my planner Chris!). If you feel like getting serious about your money and want a little support along the way, LearnVest is worth it.

Talk to Your Galpals
If you’re anything like me, you hate saying no to dinner, workouts, or shopping trips with your best friends. It’s how you bond. But it also can really add up. Learning to talk to your best friends about money can not only begin to break down the stigma related to personal finances, but you all can help support each other towards your financial goals. This way you won’t be embarrassed to suggest cooking the girls dinner at home to save money, or letting them know you’re not buying that amazing dress because you’re working on cutting your spending each month. We talk to our besties about everything else, why does money have to be any different?

Start building your tolerance for conversations about money. It’ll help you get comfortable with your goals, develop a stable future for yourself, and allow you to create a life of your dreams. And who wouldn’t want all of those things?


xoxo
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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Serendipity

This was the first weekend I can remember where I had no plans. Literally ZERO plans! No coffees, no brunches, no phone calls. Nowhere I had to be or go or get dressed up for or prepared for. Nada. Not even on Friday night. What a treat. And the best part about the summer in the city? Everyone on the Upper East Side leaves for the Hamptons so it's extra quiet. It's like a vacation in and of itself.

Garrett and I cooked dinner (aka he cooked dinner) and watched a documentary. When it was over, it was still pretty early so we went off to play tourists. I've never been to Serendipity 3 before and I guess I thought it was overrated and a tourist trap, but I was still willing to try. Who in their right mind would turn down any kind of chocolate?! We expected long lines because it was 10pm on a Friday, but we only had to wait 25 minutes! While we waited, we zipped across to Roosevelt Island on the tram– another first for me.


Verdict on the frozen hot chocolate? SO GOOD. I'm kind of mad I had it because I've been craving it ever since. I didn't get the concept of how something could be frozen and hot... but it's just like a hot chocolate flavored slushy. YUM. Serendipity 3 definitely a touristy spot, so the crowd is strange. If you're into people watching though, it's the best in town.


Teddy and I walked so much on Saturday. My legs are actually kind of sore... just from walking. I added it up and I think it was over seven miles that we logged between the morning and the night. Insane. We picked a new route in the morning and Teddy had so much fun running up and down grassy hills with some new puppy friends. Too cute!

The park was actually pretty surreal in the morning. So perfect, it felt like I was walking in a movie set! I mean... look at that lighting!



This is just a PSA... the avocado toast at Le Pain Quotidien is one of the best I've ever had. Delicious. And they have THE best lemonade in the world too. The perfect summer meal.


More walking on Saturday night. Again a gorgeous NYC scene.


And today was spent catching up and relaxing and all the puppy snuggles we could fit in!

Hope you had a great weekend! Anything fun?!

xoxo
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