Thursday, August 17, 2017

5 Self Care Tips for Jobseekers (and Everyone Else Too)

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Monday was one hell of a day. In fact, the whole beginning of August has been one hell of a... fortnight? Beyond the depressing political landscape and horrifying events in Charlottesville - which I know we're all feeling a lot of feelings about - I'm in the midst of a job search/attempting to figure out what it is I want to do with my life, it's a process that I didn't expect to be so emotional. But it is. While I've had arguably the best summer I've had in a few years, this time has also made it abundantly clear that I often put others above myself and allow outside factors to push me in directions I maybe don't want to go. Tuesday morning I awoke in my own bed after spending the weekend in Maine and New Hampshire, it was a tough weekend for a lot of reasons (among others: we were there to lay to rest Chris's 90-year-old grandfather), and with the weekend behind me it felt like a new start. Besides having to finish up a piece for Free People, I made the decision to spend the majority of the day mindfully focusing on what I needed right then and there. I rescheduled a meeting (not an interview, mind you, I wouldn't recommend rescheduling an interview), walked to the grocery store and restocked my smoothie ingredients, went to the gym mid-day, and did a little writing. It felt good to be on my own and getting back to the habits that make me feel my best, and in doing so, I felt ready to jump back into it on Wednesday. I've been trying to keep these points in mind as I approach my days, and not just jump right onto the computer as soon as I wake up:

Write it down
Shortly after my team and I were laid off, I had a conversation with my aunt where she recommended making a list of what would comprise my ideal job. Along with reading my mind - I'm really trying to view this time as an opportunity to be thoughtful about where I want to go - she also opened the door to a daily writing practice that I've been able to keep off and on over the past month and a half. I've mostly been bullet journaling and making lists, but even something as simple as list making helps to get the thoughts out of my head so I can stop obsessing (and maybe get some sleep). I try to take at least a few minutes each morning to write down a few thoughts and tend to keep my notebook on me throughout the day, especially if I'm out and about (and honestly, sometimes it's just two or three lines). Along with getting the thoughts from my head to the paper, writing has helped me stay present and identify my true feelings about where I want to go.

Do what makes you feel good*
Seriously. What do you love to do? Now do that. For me, this means getting back to a regular hiking practice and yoga classes. I'm not sure about you, but as soon as I get stressed out, the first thing to go is exercise, which, if you ask me, is also the worst thing to let go. If you enjoy exercise, make time for it and if you have to, force yourself to go (I never regret it, but sometimes I have to practically throw myself out of the house). If it's something else, do that. Two weekends ago Chris and I went up to the Poconos to hike Glen Okono Falls and it was a solid reminder to the two of us of what makes us both happy and, especially for me as I've been wrapped up obsessing over applications and fretting over cover letters, what I'm most passionate about. Yoga has been especially valuable these past few weeks, too. Rarely do I feel 100% present in my body than when I'm on the mat. Even if it's just once a week at the donation class I attend, or a few minutes in the morning, the simple act of breathing and moving thoughtfully gets me to focus on my body and out of the crazy storm happening in my head. Job searches can often make you feel as though money is the primary focus, and while yes, your salary is perhaps an important factor, ideally I think we'd all like to end up doing something we love, yes?

*Ideally these things take place away from technology

Invest in yourself - even if it's free
It can be easy to focus too much on money during this time, especially if you're the primary breadwinner, and in doing so, your self-care can quietly slip out the door because of presumed cost (getting your hair done, getting a pedicure, etc.). Don't do this! Even if it's just giving yourself an at-home pedicure, taking a few minutes or a few hours to focus entirely on yourself can make you feel so much better. On Tuesday, I made a simple body scrub out of some unappealing olive oil we bought recently and white sugar I don't use. Before heading to the gym, I combed coconut oil through the ends of my hair and wrapped it into a high bun to moisturize while I worked out. Later, after showering off and shampooing my now super soft hair, I used a self-tanner I already had in the cupboard, and later that night gave myself a pedicure using a polish I already owned. I spent no money, but I ended the day feeling 100% better than where I started. Your job search can feel isolating when you spend most of your day looking for jobs, networking, writing endless cover letters, and scrolling through LinkedIn, and it can be easy to get into your own head. A small investment in yourself, even if it's just washing your hair or painting your nails, can be the boost of self-esteem you need to power through your next round of cover letters.

Volunteer
Want to feel great for a good cause? Go volunteer. I began working with PAWS and United by Blue in Philly when I started working at Etsy because the company had a generous volunteer time initiative, and since leaving, I've continued the practice. Not only will this give you a reason to get out of the house for something other than networking, but you'll be doing good in your community (and maybe even secretly networking in the process - who knows who you'll meet!). Find a cause you want to support, then look for opportunities in your area. Want to get outside more? Do trail work for your local state park. Love animals? Walk dogs or do cat care at your local shelter. You've got the time, why not donate some of it?

Make plans - then stick to them
Seriously, get yourself out of the house. I tend to go to the gym in the evenings as a way to put a pin in the day, but a couple times a week (not counting the weekends) I try to meet up with a friend, take myself out for coffee (I'm currently doing a 'tour du Philly' of local cafes - so many cute spots!), or just do something different. it's easy to get wrapped up in the rabbit hole of jobs leads and networking, sometimes even just talking to someone you're close with (who is not your spouse, significant other, or parents) can give you the space and perspective you need and bring you back down to earth.

While it can be incredibly frustrating to suddenly be without a job - especially if you're a bit of a workaholic like me - this time you have is special, make the most of it when you're not hard at work applying to all the exciting opportunities out there. This is the lens I'm trying to view my own experience through, and believe the tips above are relevant not only to job seekers, but to all of us. It's easy to get wrapped up in the everyday, sometimes we need a reminder to take a step back and give a little of our focus to ourselves.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Here & There 8.5

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Hi! Hello! Time sure does fly when it's summer and you're up to your elbows in job applications and anxiety. No? Just me? Well, anyway, that's what life has looked like these past few weeks, with a surprise and most welcome trip to Bermuda in between. For anyone feeling nebby about my current situation, you can Google the words "Etsy" and "layoffs" and there will be plenty of information, most of it pretty boring. As for me, I'm just here looking for silver linings and counting my blessings that this happened in the heat of summer rather than the dead of winter, but really still surprised at how downright emotional the whole experience has been. I've been hesitant to say anything about it, but you know what? I wanted to say something because I'm sure there's someone out there going through the same thing and I wanted to say "Hey dude, I'm here, this blows, right? We'll get through it."

ANYWAY.

With everything that's been going on, I've been feeling my chronic stress creeping back in. I've lived with chronic stress for years, and this past January I finally started to get it under control. So, feeling it coming back? No way, no thank you. This weekend will be all about chilling out and getting ourselves out into some beautiful spaces. Last weekend Chris and I finally visited Bartram's Garden and went to one of our favorite spaces here in Philly, the Tinicum Wildlife Refuge.  But this weekend I'm really feeling a hike. And some quality time spent cleaning up our place. Despite everything that's happened, this summer really has been one for the books. We have some family stuff coming up next week, and while it's centered around a somber occasion, I'm excited to see everyone. I've also been dying to make it out to Oregon to visit my brother and basically TAKE ALL THE TRIPS after going to Bermuda. Turns out, vacation is fun, you guys.

Well, there you go. A terrifying peek into what my squirrel brain has been up to lately. I'll be back next week with a Bermuda recap (hint: it was beautiful). For now, here's a few of my faves from the internet this week:

Loving this vintage fringe purse

How to feel productive

If the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale happens and bloggers don't talk about it... does it really happen? But seriously, THE DEALS you guys, they're good: This slate state serving tray would make the perfect summer wedding gift, an aromatherapy diffuser that's actually pretty, really into this suede moto jacket (throw it over all your white summer dresses), these sneakers would look great at the gym and off-duty too (these too), and the perfect purse for fall

We could theoretically hit our 2020 climate goal with one food swap (and not, it's not going vegan)

Moorea's next book is available for pre-order! It looks so good - so much inspiration!

Breakfast slab pie (YES. PLEASE.)

Summer's not over yet - loving these pretty, breezy pieces

And God created millennial earth (so funny)

So in love with this cute mini dress

After carrying my basket bag all summer, I'm really into these chic bags for fall

It's meeeeeeee

My favorite accessory all year 'round

How to achieve the elusive 'no-makeup' look, with just 10 products (actually really helpful - now I want this)

Pretty little handmade earrings

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Uplifting Quartz-Charged Rose Spray

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Life has been tumultuous lately. The combination of yet another high summer in sweaty Philadelphia (although it's been blissfully cooler the past couple of days) and being elbow-deep in a job search has left my mind reeling with all the options that are suddenly at my fingertips while simultaneously wiping sweat from my brow... and I've needed some grounding. Ok, a lot of grounding. Be forewarned if you ever find yourself unlucky enough to be caught in a conversation with me, don't ask me how I'm doing. Anyway. This is where this spray comes in. I typically burn incense and PF Candle Co. candles throughout the year to add a little fragrance to my apartment, but lately it's been too humid for smokey incense and too hot to think about lighting a candle. Plus, a spray like the one here can be used to scent towels, sheets, and even yourself if you feel like it. It's simple to whip up and relatively cheap. The added quartz crystals are, of course, optional - but I need all the good vibes I can get right now so it's CRYSTALS IN EVERYTHING, all hands on deck.

What's in it:

Rose essential oil: Rose oil works similarly, helping to boost mood, ease stress and anxiety, and lift your mood.

Geranium essential oil: Geranium oil is thought to help the adrenal glands and balance hormones, fight stress, and help with feelings of depression.

Cedarwood essential oil: Thought to improve focus and mental function.

Quartz crystals: Thought to improve mood and energy, clears negativity. Can be added to baths, water, kept close to other crystals to amplify their energy, or kept in your pocket as a touchstone.

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You'll need:
2-4 oz. glass spray bottle
Rose water
Witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, or vodka (really)
Rose essential oil
Geranium essential oil
Cedarwood essential oil
Optional: Small quartz crystals, washed and charged

To make:

1. Fill glass spray bottle 3/4 to the top with rose water. The bottle I reused is a recycled glass B12 vitamin spray bottle, but they are also easy to find via Etsy and Whole Foods. Dark glass is best to protect the oils.

2. Add a splash of witch hazel, rubbing alcohol, or plain old vodka. This will help preserve the scent and make it linger just a little longer after you spray it.

3. Add essential oils. I used 2 drops of cedarwood, 4 drops of geranium, and 5 drops of rose.

4. Drop in charged quartz crystals before adding the cap. Shake well before using.


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Monday, July 24, 2017

Vintage Top & Cutoffs

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There's something about tops like this that remind me of my mother. For the past couple of years, my mother's style in the early '90s has been a huge inspiration to me. Guatemalan woven pants, Indian gauze tops and dresses, and low key beauty. It's a combination that's easygoing and fast, two important things when it comes to summer style. I don't like think about what I'm wearing too much, especially when the temperature is nearing 100 and the humidity is about as high too. Lately I've been reaching for trusty cut-off shorts, breezy tops (extra points if they're super light but long-sleeved for a little extra sun protection), my favorite round sunglasses (love these too), and the ubiquitous woven tote that's on everyone's shoulder these days (but seriously, if you want a go-with-everything bag, this is it - uh, this one too). I picked up this vintage top from a Micknmarianne popup at Meadowsweet here in Philly semi-recently after falling in love with the huge balloon arms and pretty stamped print. I love how it looks with shorts for summer, and come fall I plan to wear it tucked into high-waisted Levi's and layered under vintage overalls.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Here & There 7.14

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Happy weekend! What are you up to? I have a fun trip coming up on Sunday that I'll be prepping for tomorrow, then we're headed to a party with some friends-of-friends. This week was abysmally hot, so much so that I mostly stayed indoors, which I'm none too proud of. How have I managed once again to forget these blazing Philly summers? I think a trip to the shore might be in order soon. Hope it's a wonderful one, friends!

This vintage leather dress is a dream - so cute for fall (fall?!) with some cream colored mules

Laughing to keep from crying

Are you in the club?

The formula for the perfect outfit (obsessed with that tropical print skirt)

Cauliflower brownies are thing and they're delicious (I would know, I made them!)

Love these cheeky tees

Important announcement: How to get free ice cream this weekend

My love for straw totes is undying: how cute is this?

Did I just purchase a shell-shaped drink cup? You bet I did...

How to fix the worst self tanner mistakes... because I'm definitely about to make some

Never thought I'd be really into pool slides, but here we are

How time wears things down (really cool)

How delicate and pretty is this handmade star necklace?

Decoding the artistic references in Beyonce's birth announcements

I've been looking for sunnies like these EV-ERY-WHERE - now, which color to get??

Psst... get early access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale here! Loving these mules and this rad biker jacket

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Week In New England

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Last week I took myself on a little vacation of sorts. I had planned this week away a couple months ago, before life took some unexpected and admittedly really stressful twists and turns, and when the time came to catch my train north it couldn't have been a better time to escape. I've recently found myself in dire need of a change of perspective. Why is it such a shock when smooth and easy sailing transitions to rough seas? I'm talking about life of course, not actual sailing (though the same applies). I'm 33, I should be used to the ebb and flow of life by now. So this confluence of events was the perfect time to get some fresh air and quality time with family, friends, and the ocean. It was just me this time, as Chris had to work, so I caught a train and met up with my mom in New Hampshire. It felt so good to be back home again. I needed fresh air more than I realized, and to have an entire week to mostly leisurely visit with family and basically bum around as if I still lived there provided the perspective I was hoping to find, albeit with some confusion. We've been thinking a lot lately about where we'd like to end up, the kind of place we'd ideally like to live. Philly has served us so well these past few years - we certainly handled the move with considerably more grace than we did poor Pittsburgh - but in the end we know this isn't where we want to settle down. We miss fresh air, and easy hiking, and kayaking, and salt marshes, and everything else you can do and explore when clean water and beautiful geography are right outside your door. Essentially this means the Pacific Northwest or Northern New England for us sometime in the near future. Mountains on one side and ocean on the other.

If you ever want to be seduced into throwing it all out and moving to New England, visit in the summer. Five years - six years?! - away has only made my heart grow fonder, especially when summer in Philly can feel like hot garbage (not poetic or kind to the city I live in, BUT THE DAMN TRUTH, it's hitting triple digits today). I missed a pretty nasty storm by a couple of days, and we had one drizzly cold day on the coast, but otherwise it was damn near perfect. Even with the mosquitos and threat of ticks. I spent most of the week visiting with family  - several members were in from out of town - and working on some personal projects, then on Saturday I headed to the North Shore to see some friends before heading back to Philly. It's incredible to see how revitalized everything has become in the past few years. Our old town was never in dire shape exactly, but there were a few years when empty storefronts were becoming increasingly common. It's so wonderful to see new shops, cafe, and restaurants popping up (too bad about the rent though).

So that's where I'm at. That's where we're at. Having lots of conversations about where, when, how, and if. After jobs determining where we live over the past few years, Chris and I have both fallen in love with the idea of being masters of our own destinies (I mean, we've always been in love with autonomy, but as we get older it feels more urgent) - life is too short.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Gingham Mini Dress

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Sometimes a trend comes along and, as much as you may try to resist, you know it was a trend made just for you. Gingham, meet Julie. Julie... meet gingham. You guys, I'm all in. I love the versatility of the print, especially how it can so easily be made slightly edgier with the right accessories. Like platform Teva's and a great pair of sunglasses. Case in point, this dress.

Side note: My 13-year-old self would be so jealous of my shoes right now.

To date, I've worn this dress to wander around Philadelphia, for a preview night of the new midway at the Delaware River Waterfront, to New York to preview West Elm's holiday line, and for the 4th of July. I think it officially qualifies as a summer staple at this point. I has been looking for something similar to the gingham dress put out by Reformation last summer, disappointed that I'd missed out on the design but also thankful because the price was hard to justify. Well, my searching paid off and I found this one for under $50. Boom. It's currently sold out but I linked a similar style and similar price point below.