Apr 14, 2014

Style Lust: The Demure Crop Top

Demure, lady-like crop tops are my new work jam (evidence here!).

Asos has some great (and inexpensive!) options right now which are perfectly work-worthy with the right high-waisted pants or skirts. Stay tuned to see which ones make it into my closet soon!

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Love and summer breezes,

Apr 12, 2014

Style: How to successfully trade in your old clothes

Trading in your clothes at a buy-sell-trade shop (think Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads Trading Post) can be a quick way to get new duds even when you're broke.

I always have a sell pile going - I have a 6 month rule for everything that I don't absolutely love (things that I LOVE and are more special occasion I'll keep for basically ever - who knows when I'll need a fabulous sequined jumpsuit next!)

A couple of points to ensure you get the most $$ or trade for your clothes:

1. Choose the right venue. Each store has its own focuses and style personality, even between branches of the same chain. I live right between two Buffalo Exchanges, for example, and they have wildly different personalities: one store caters more to professionals, the other to punk rock teenagers. Think about your clothes and who they will best appeal to.

2. Sell based on season. Spring and Fall are great times to sell because they are transitional times when stores are looking to cover the current season as well as stock up for the upcoming Summer or Winter.

3. To avoid disappointment and maximize success, only take what's in season (or about to be!). Leave the rest in your sell pile until it's the right time.

4. Dress nicely for the occasion.  First impressions matter and in this case, you want these buyers to associate you and your clothes with fashion savvyness.

5. Be respectful. If a buyer passes on something you think it totally cute don't scoff or argue - you want the buyer on your side to potentially buy more of your things.

6. Carefully consider whether you want to trade (and be restricted to merchandise in that store) or to sell and get cash. You usually get more trade-in value than cash so it's up to you. Often while the buyer is going through my things I'll take a quick browse through my favorite sections of the store and see if there's anything can't-miss in there. If so, go try on before checking back in with the buy counter so you'll know if you want the trade credit.

7. If you sell, use the cash to reinvest in your wardrobe. Avoid post-selling regret by investing your cash in new sartorial treats. It might be tempting to spend the bash you just made on a couple of fancy $8 coffees but don't fritter your effort away! Treat yo' self to some new duds.

Have you sold any of your wardrobe lately? Was it liberating? Did you get anything fabulous in exchange?


Apr 9, 2014

Style: How to wear crop tops to work, vol. 2

Fact: Not all crop tops are created equal.

This lacy one from H&M, for example, defies crop top stereotypes and actually manages to be demure. It's not particularly fitted, has cute three-quarter length sleeves that cover ya up, and there's just something about a crocheted lace pattern that is perfectly lady-like - in short (pun intended), this crop top is actually perfect work grab. I love it with a high-waisted midi skirt to nix any potential tummy-exposure and just because flowing midi skirts are my spring/summer staple - they are so comfy.

Proof to never judge a book (or crop top) by name alone. I wore this outfit for a day full of professional meetings and felt totally on top of my game.

Skirt: Forever 21  ///  Top: H&M  ///  Heels: Vintage  ///   Jewelry: Me!

Do you have a favorite work outfit combo? Any surprising staples in your rotation? As you may have noticed, figuring out fun things to wear to work is pretty much my new obsession!

Xoxo and power-babe vibes,

Apr 4, 2014

The One Tab Challenge: How to successfully multitask online

Let's talk time management.

I've written a little about how I'm a graduate student + do freelance work. This means my days are very scattered as far as what I'm spending my time on - some days I will literally have 15 different, completely distinct and unrelated projects on my agenda.

I'm a professional multitasker. I've even consider getting business cards that say so.

And being a professional multitasker, it's sometimes tempting to actually multi-task and work on multiple projects at once.

This never works.

Invariably when I find myself slipping into the multi-tasking trap, I will look up to find 50 different browser tabs open, 17 half-started emails, 5 conversations started and then forgotten about, and a very frantic, heart-and-mind-racing me.

Again, multi-tasking never works.

The key to multi-tasking (and by this I mean completing many distinct tasks in a day) is to be in the moment, focused on the one task you are working on in that moment. Work well, work smart, finish it, and only then move on.

I can't tell you the number of mistakes I've made when I don't follow my own one-task-at-a-time advice: from simple typos to emails sent to the wrong people, things turn into a real clusterf*** when you aren't present.

If you, too are a professional multitasker who needs a little practice with presence, try this:

For one week, only allow yourself to have only ONE internet browser tab open at any time.

It IS possible.

With only one tab open, you can only possibly be doing one thing: you have to finish that email before checking Pinterest, and you have to give up Pinterest in order to update that group calendar.

It's forced online presence and it will be good for your busy, busy brain, I promise.

Love and mucho productivity,

Photo credit: Shop 24's Etsy shop sells that supercute typewriter laptop decal here. 

Apr 2, 2014

Links I love vol. 3

It's spring y'all, which in Houston means rain (but then, every season means rain in Houston!)

These are blog posts, news stories, and other goodness that's boosted my water-logged mood this week - what have you read that sparked you up?

"Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature." - Salvador Dali

Rainbows, photographed around the world. Total magic.

Grown Folks - these girls have mad writing chops and I'm excited to see where their new blog goes.

9 books to inspire you to read and write more, a list by my new obsession, Brain Pickings.

A Beautiful Mess talks the business of blogging. Good read for those new to the game (like me!)

Strawberry banana sandwich cookies by my clever friend Jade that look so scrumptious!

Alternative Astrology is the latest project of one of the smartest, coolest girls I know who also happens to be an astro genius. Her posts are always good for the soul.

Richard Woldendorp takes aerial photos of the earth that looks like modernist paintings and they are phenomenal.

DIY natural teeth whitener - I need to try this! Has anyone had success (or the opposite??) Do tell!

This photo. No spoilers, but it will make your week.

This girl's outfits. She kills it.

Love and kisses in the rain,

Mar 30, 2014

Exfoliate your skin with oatmeal - really!

I've written about how I wash my face with honey. I've been doing it for almost a year now and I can't tell you how much I love it. It smells (and tastes!) fantastic and has really done wonders for my acne-prone + dry skin.

Lately I've been branching out into other DIY skincare efforts and my favorite and simplest so far is oatmeal exfoliator.

Exfoliating your skin is incredibly important for preventing breakouts and maintaining a healthy glow, but did you know that most commercially available exfoliating products are much too harsh for regular use and filled with potentially harmful chemicals? (hello St. Ives, I'm looking at you!)

Oatmeal, though, is gentle enough to be used multiple times per week and is full of nutrients your skin craves. Oats are full of moisturizing fats, contain the gentle cleansing agents saponins that gently lift grime out of your pores, and has been used for centuries to sooth irritated and problem skin.

To create your own oat exfoliator, simply blend whole oatmeal a bit in your blender- not too fine, but just a bit so that its easier to massage into face than the whole oats.

(Note: The reason I advocate whole oats, rather than "quick" or "instant" oats which might be a better texture straight out of the box and not require blending is that I like to eat my oatmeal, too, and whole oats have a lower glycemic index / are healthier).

Blend up a cup or two at a time and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a couple of months.

To use, take a bit of your blended oatmeal, add a bit off water, rub in your hands to form a paste. Massage gently into skin. Rinse.

And ta-da! Naturally glowy, perfectly exfoliated skin.

Curious about other natural exfoliating treatments? Read about my (successful!) experiment with papaya here.

What's your fave DIY skincare solution? I'm slowly working to get my regimine as simple and natural as possible, I'd love to know what y'all do!

Hugs and health,

Mar 28, 2014

How to harness New Moon energy

New moons are times of new beginnings and Sunday's new moon in Aries is even more so

Aries is the first and youngest sign of the zodiac so Sunday's moon is a chance for complete and total rebirth, the time to cut off everything old and dead that's accumulated over the past year, right down to the quick. 

Think about everything that's happened in your life since last April - in fact, make a list! Good, bad, momentous, strange, harrowing - what are you ready to incorporate into your psyche and what are you ready to purge? This Sunday is the time.

New moons are always numinous spaces and excellent moments for rituals to welcome the new into your life. 

My suggestion? Use Sunday as a Hypothetical Dream Life Day: what does the perfect day in your dream life look like? Write it down and get specific! What do you wear - PJs all day or a fantastic gown? What do you do - spend the day in the park or work on your favorite new project? If you work on Sunday, imagine how your perfect day at work would go. Do you treat yo' self to a nice lunch? Respond to problem co-workers with equanimity? Wear a tiara? 

Now take your list and do it! Sunday is the first day of the astrological year - love yourself and make it magic.

Love and moonbeams,