Things Work Out

Hello, hello!

First, let’s quickly debrief on the fact that I ate 2 Clif Builder’s bars today. I didn’t mean to, but I always keep one in my purse for “worst case scenarios. Evidently, I wasn’t really around much “real food” today and ultimately scarfed two of those magical little bars. Including the emergency supply that lived in my purse! Who thinks I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning as this guy?

the hulkSource.

No one thinks that? OK good.

Once again, my weekend plans have taken me away from home, so I am left to my own devices for sustenance! Apparently, my abilities to feed myself on the go leave something to be desired.

Let’s move on to some more serious matters (not that food isn’t a serious matter. Don’t get me wrong!).

Today, I have been doing a lot of thinking.

You know how sometimes, there are those little moments in life where you step back and think about the things that have happened in the past? About places you’ve been, things you’ve done, things you wish you did, things you wish you didn’t do. You get frustrated and upset. 2012 brought me a lot of those moments.

But then, something clicks. Just enough things begin to go your way and suddenly, a switch flips. Things begin to make a little more sense. You see a little more reason in the how and why and you start to truly believe that everything is going to be just fine. And just like that, things begin to be just. Fine. 

As I start to get a little older and a little more post-grad-y, I am beginning to realize the truly wonderful things that come from keeping a positive attitude. Positivity makes you  resilient and resilience makes you stronger– it makes you a better person, and it is infectious.

I think that’s enough of the Musings for now, however. So let’s move along to the Look du Jour!

(Please be prepared for not only the look on my face (which despite the creep factor, is actually the look of shame that it took me about 175 to get a picture that was even remotely acceptable to share with the world and that picture was this and also for my hair.  Hi hair!)

Polka Dot Sweater

The thing I really liked about this outfit was the fact that it included several wardrobe staples. Things that were relatively inexpensive but can convert into about 1,003 different ensembles. (Minus maybe the funky cardigan, which, despite the fact that I couldn’t wear it every day without getting a lot of weird looks, is actually one of my prized possessions!) 

The Staples:

  • Grey Tank Top: Aerie (I originally bought this as a workout tank top, but it ended up being the perfect weight and color to wear under lots of different sweaters!
  • Navy Blue Pants: The Limited. (They’re the “Exact Stretch”, ankle-cut style that the store is promoting heavily right now. I also have a couple pairs of the Exact Stretch pants in the boot-cut style, which I actually prefer– especially for a professional look, but I can get behind the ankle-cuts as well. I think they’d look especially cute with pumps in the spring, but it is not spring yet!)
  • Ring: Lia Sophia (I actually wouldn’t suggest going the Lia Sophia route to anyone, however as my order was kind of a disaster and their customer service was far from helpful.)

So I think that’s it for now, folks! Sorry for the somewhat jumpy post, but I think we’ve covered lots of stuff! …Except for maybe where I can get my hands on 12,000 pounds of pasta. What? Who said that?!

Have a great night, and Happy February!

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Fashionista Friday: Where I Buy What

Greetings!

I apologize for the non-Friday Fashionista Friday post, but let’s jump right in.

As I mentioned last week, each week I will have a post on Friday that is in some way related to my other love aside from health and fitness that happens to be clothes.

This week, I thought I would feature some of my favorite stores and websites. I don’t ever spend much on the things I wear, more often than not, the parts of my outfit are from end-of-season sales. You can find some excellent stuff here and unless you’re buying for your Vogue fashion shoot, does anyone really care if your sweater is from a shipment that was two whole months ago? Doubtful.

So here are my basic rules of thumb for broadening my wardrobe:

  • Never buy anything online unless the shipping and returns are free (there are almost always coupons for free shipping and it can save you from some major headaches.)
  • If you see something you like in a store that’s full price, watch it for a little while, there are coupons, coupons online, in your junk e-mail box, in your real mail box, everywhere and you can see some major savings.
  • Make wise splurges. Your

Forever 21 

Forever 21 is definitely one of those only-buy-in-the-store sort of places. You can find some great stuff here, but the quality is wildly varied. I once bought a blazer here that is one of my all-time favorite jackets. It’s cute and well-made. My mall recently updated its Forever 21 store and now it’s organized pretty well, but before that, I couldn’t even step FOOT in the place. The music was too loud, there were (literally) piles and piles of clothes that you just had to fish through in hopes of finding something cute.  So here are my suggestions of what to pick up here:

  • Costume Jewelry: If you ever look at the jewelry at stores like Target, or even some of the fancier “dressy” stores, it is wildly expensive. I love having a zillion different necklaces and bracelets to match to my outfits, but I don’t want to spend much on them– most necklaces, earring sets, and bracelets are under $6! (Just be careful if you’re sensitive to certain metals. Especially with the earrings.) 
  • Belts Belts Belts: I love belts, but most places you go, they’ll cost you $25 or more. Last time I was in Forever 21, I picked up a cute little pink waist belt for $2.40 and another yellow one for $3.80. Can’t beat it.
  • Special Event Dresses: If you have that one special outing or event that you “need something new to wear” for, check here. Prices are good and there are a zillion and one different things to choose from.
  • Other: I actually found one of my favorite pairs of shoes here last  year. Again, the quality of their shoes is wildly different so just pay attention.

Marshalls 

Marshalls is kind of a new-to-me store. In previous years, I used to get wildly overwhelmed by the layout of the store and generally tended to avoid it altogether. But then, I had one trip filled with treasures and have been a fan ever since. My one suggestion for shopping at Marshalls is that you cannot go there with a mission in mind. At least not at first. If you’re going to peruse and see what jumps out at you, that’s when you’ll find 1,001 different fantastic things. Again, the set-up isn’t the best, but if you dig around you can find some great stuff. I am also pretty sure that Marshalls stores vary wildly by location so you may either have an AMAZING one near you, or one with nothing but 1990s-style jeans. Investigate!

  • Workout Gear: My favorite sports bras in my inventory are from Marshalls and they cost $12. They’re fun colors, very well-made and the material is thick, which is great. I have also found a few different shirts here (I love long-sleeved workout tops for the winter that are lightweight and I’ve found a couple of very good ones here that cost under $9 each.)
  • Shirts: I have found a ton of cute shirts here that are all excellent prices. They are usually big-name brands so you know you’ll be getting something of pretty good quality too.
  • Purses: The Marshalls near me has so many purses it’s insane. I can find any color, style or size for ridiculously low prices. Just make sure you test out the zippers and check the seams.

Banana Republic 

When Banana Republic has a major sale going on (40% off of entire purchase sales seem to be pretty commonplace), it can’t be beat for business casual and professional clothes. Make sure you are either going at a sale time or have a coupon in tow though, because it can be pretty pricey at full-price.

  • Business Casual/ Professional Wear: That’s my favorite thing about this place. The styles are classic, but fun and they have something for everyone. I bought one of my favorite dresses from this store just after Christmas for $29. It started at $130-something and I’m sure I will have it for years to come.
  • Sales Rack: Lots of cute sweaters and shirts here.

Gap 

Ohmygoodness the sales. When you hit a good one, you can refurbish an entire wardrobe for about $50. I love just about everything here, but again. Sales, sales, sales.

  • GapFit: I love the gap workout line. My favorite black capris that I wear 9 out of 10 times to the gym I found on sale last summer. They’re great because the calf is flared just a tad so they don’t have that overly-tight look to them. The material is thick, but not heavy and even after a zillion washes, they look just as good as they did when I bought them.
  • Jeans: You can find jeans here for about $15 when they’re on sale. I love the Always Skinny ones and I got mine for $20. What a steal.

Anthropologie

I am not going to even bother listing things here because I love everything, BUT it is definitely a splurge-only store. The clothes are great quality and so, so cute, but I always end up leaving depressed because good luck finding anything less than $80. If you need something unique and fun and colorful and that fits well for that special day, head here.

The Limited 

I love The Limited for professional clothes. Again, the quality can be pretty varied so try everything on.

  • Fancy Pants: I hate dress pants, but the only ones in my inventory have come from The Limited. They have lots of different lines, (my current favorite is the Exact Stretch.  I have the grey ones!)
  • Dresses: They always have cute dresses here with very flattering cuts.

So I think that pretty much covers my main go-tos. I get stuff from all over the place, I love department stores, and even the occasional venture into a thrift shop, but overall, I tend to keep coming back to the places that I listed above.

And so that concludes Fashionista Friday Installment 1! I will be back soon with a Saturday post. Oops. 😉

Switching Purses

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!! Dear readers, it’s time to getcher commenting fingers workin’! I am in the process of organizing the FIRST EVER 5ks and Coffee Beans giveaway for you guys. Hopefully this works out, and if it does I will be so endlessly excited. It is something very near and dear to my heart and I would love to share with you guys, BUT you’ll have to start commenting if you want in! (Might as well start now! Comment on today’s post, comment on yesterday’s post. Comment on a post from three months ago, just start talking!)

The topic for today’s blog post is entirely random and came to me as I was getting ready for my morning late last night.

Since my morning today did not include a trip to the gym, you’re stuck listening to me ramble about purses! (For those of you waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not I was able to wrangle some cardio machine or mat time today, you must wait until this evening’s post.)

And now, for the main event.

As you know, I love my accessories. I don’t spend much money on them, but I like to have quite a selection. Take purses, for example. I have a big box full of purses and wallets and wristlets and they are all my friends! (She says as if that is a perfectly normal thought.)

Last night, I decided to switch things up from a big, tote bag-style purse that I’ve been using to a very small wristlet and it was then that I discovered the meaning of life  started to think about some random personality quirks and “slices of life” that can be seen just by shuffling through the innards of a handbag.

You would think that a purse would be sort of like the answer to one of those “if you were stuck on a desert island, what would you bring with you?” questions. For example, there are a few completely random things that you will never, ever catch me without. (And if you do, lookout, because chances are you’ve crossed the path of a monster.) But I really hope I would re-evaluate my choices if I were planning to land myself on a desert island.

These things include:

  • Bobby pins: Toting 12,000 pounds of curly nonsense around on my head has instilled in me a deep-seated fear of ever being caught without one (or ten) of these miraculous little devices.
  • A flash drive: This probably stems from my college days where I’d be shuffling between home, school and work like it was nobody’s business. Being caught without a tangible way to save my work was my worst nightmare. Never leave home without your flash drive.
  • A protein bar: This may be the most logical, potentially useful one. These suckers can really fill you up. When I get hungry, I get incredibly tired and cranky and a stowed-away protein bar has saved many-a-day from ending in a fit of malnourished frustration.
  • A combination lock: This one comes from being a member of a gym that doesn’t have enough lockers for all of its patrons. I HATE being stuck without a lock and having something that I want to stow away (like my coat… or my boots… or even my keys!) Sure, it would make sense for this to stay in my gym bag, but I don’t use a gym bag. So there goes that idea.

How many of these things would help in a natural disaster? Probably none. Maybe the protein bar. (At least for an hour or two), but as I said, they are entirely random and 100% me.

Switching purses is like starting anew. You get rid of the junk– the old receipts, the half-opened sticks of gum, the wadded up balls of who-knows-what and you put everything into a proper place. Somethings just don’t make the cut, but for the lucky ones that do, there is a special little place for everything and everything must go in its place.

Of course, some big life decisions come with switching purse sizes. If you’re upgrading, what do you do with all of the space? Do you find something to fill the void or do you enjoy the freedom of carrying all of your groceries home in your purse? If you’ve decided to downsize, now you’ve really done it: how many lip glosses make the cut? Do you actually need that last volume of Time magazine “just in case you get stuck somewhere and your phone runs out of charge and you have absolutely no choice other than sitting down and catching up on the world news?” What about that flashlight that you won’t have space for anymore? Sure, you don’t need it, but that’s always the case until you really, really need something, isn’t it?

So what things always make the “purse cut” for you? Are you a serial purse-switcher or are you one of those people who can stick with the same one for months and you just happen to be a little better about organizing it than some people I know (coughcoughmecoughcough)?

I hope you have a fantastic day and I will see you all tonight! (Hopefully I will have wonderous tales of how I made it to the gym this afternoon and had my choice of every machine in all of the land and frolicked about on the open floor and jumped from free mat to free mat where I completed 1,000 different ab exercises on each one just because I could. But I doubt it.)

Roommate Reunion

Greetings!

Today started off (a little late) with a solo trip to the gym! (It’s been quite a while since I have been to the gym sans-gym buddy!) At first I didn’t have much motivation. Actually, let’s be honest… I had zero motivation. I was ready to call a quits five minutes into my workout. Fortunately for me, about five minutes into my elliptical time, the motivation to (at the very least) not leave the gym looking like a total sap kicked in and I quickly made a new plan. At first, I thought I’d try one of my cardio machine hopping techniques. That sounded like zero fun and I knew that the bike would be the death of me (I used to love cycling bikes, but for some reason, I have NOT been into them recently!). Then I thought maybe I’d just do a cardio circuit in the spare room after a short elliptical warmup, but I knew I would talk myself out of doing rounds 2 and 3 rendering it a rather pointless workout. All of this thinking took quite some time and I eventually fell into the groove of the elliptical. I decided to just stay put and managed to crank out 40 minutes of high-speed, high-resistance elliptical time!

I left the gym feeling quite proud of my (unintentional) accomplishment !

Later in the afternoon, I met up with my freshman year roommate from college. After a coffee run to Starbucks, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the mall! Since a couple of post-Christmas sales sweeps landed me with some excellent deals, I didn’t buy much of anything tonight, but I did find a couple of cute accessories at Forever 21 for ridiculously low prices!

Check out this waist belt that I got for $2.50!

photo-163

 

love having fun accessories, but things like belts are typically 12,000 times more expensive than they need to be. Even though some of the clothing at Forever 21 is a little on the cheap side (quality, not price), their accessories can’t be beat!

We also may or may not have hit up the fro-yo counter…

photo-162Oops? Just kidding, that was most definitely NOT an oops. It was delicious. I had a small red velvet frozen yogurt that was topped with Oreos. It was like heaven on earth. I could probably live off of that stuff, but I suppose I probably shouldn’t.

Overall, it was a quite a fun afternoon. (Who could complain when friends, fro-yo and “café mistos”are involved!?)

In other news (AKA a Random Brittany’s Life Aside), last night I had a dream that my teeth were slowly falling out. As soon as I thought the madness had stopped in the dream and that it was just a “fluke,” two more would fall out. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror in the dream and being relived to discover that I didn’t look ridiculous yet. Even without half of my teeth. I was quite distraught when I woke up and decided to look up an interpretation and take it with a  grain of salt. (Thank you, Google, for reaffirming the fact that a sneeze = instant death and also that our dreams may not symbolize the end of the world!). Here is what I found:

teeth dreams

Glad to know that my anxiety dreams are Google-able and right on the money. 😉

Hope you all have a great night and that your dreamland teeth stay right where they’re supposed to!

 

Running on Repeat

Hello again! It’s be a loooong time since there have been two posts in one day! (But to be fair, I wrote the review of the Silver Linings Playbook yesterday evening and scheduled the post ahead of time. Hehehe, so sneaky!)

Today was a very fun day that was packed with friend time.

Fitness:

First of all, as per usual, I met Katie at the gym for a nice little run. I was feeling my oats this morning and didn’t stop once. Granted, the distance wasn’t terribly long, but I did feel like I could have kept going which is rarely the case. I owe it all to the Flo Rida song that I listened to on repeat for the entire distance. (Whatwhosaidthat!?!?!)

This is likely just one of my incredibly strange quirks, but sometimes when I can’t seem to hype myself up for a workout, I pick a song and just blast it away on repeat throughout the workout. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m crazy and that it sounds like the most repetitive, monotonous workout ever known to man, but for some reason it totally helps me to get in the zone. Especially for a run. Yeah, I’m a nut. Whatever, let’s move on.

Food:

When I got home, I busted in to a portion of one of my sister’s Christmas presents to me:

photo-145

This is seriously the most delicious granola that I’ve EVER tasted. I opened it this morning and threw a couple of tablespoons into a container of yogurt. I then proceeded to snack on it throughout the rest of the day and ate 400% more than I actually intended to. Oops!

Fashion:

After a quick breakfast, I picked up Chloe for a mall adventure complete with lunch at one of my favorite italian restaurants. We had fun scouring the ends of the post-Christmas sales racks. As Operation: Improve Business Casual Wardrobe Inventory continues, I am constantly on the lookout for new additions, not only classic staples, but also some fun and sassy things as well.

For example, CHECK OUT THESE PANTS.

photo-144

They are khaki-style and orange and I LOVE them. At first, I tried them on as a joke, but the longer I kept them on, the more they grew on me. With a very dark-colored blazer and some cute shoes, they suddenly become a key portion of what is perhaps my Favorite Internship Outfit Ever.

After a couple of Brady Bunch cracks, Chloe and I both agreed that these pants needed to be mine.

Brady Family

Source.

Evidently, I have a thing for absurdly colored pants. Check out today’s outfit…

Mint Green Pants

Hello there, mint green pants. (Also, check out the dog staring herself down in the mirror. Too funny.) (In other news, that cardigan was a Christmas gift, but it is the comfiest, softest, best-fitting, most perfect-lengthed cardigan that I have ever met. I highly suggest you investigate for yourself. It’s from Gap!)

I also snagged some other excellent deals that I’m very happy about. Slowly but surely, my non-college-bum wardrobe will grow!

Cancellations: In other news, I am absolutely outraged. My CPR/AED course that was supposed to begin next week was CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST. That’s right kids, there weren’t enough people signed up, so I randomly received an e-mail confirming my refund. Very inconvenient.

After my shopping trip with Chloe was over, I headed out for an arctic trek with Jordan. The fresh air was definitely good for the brain cells! Even though I am still defrosting hours later, it was definitely invigorating. It was so strange to follow our typical summer running route in the frigid cold and snow.  Gotta love the seasons!

photo-142(Photo cred. goes to Jordan on this one!)

Thanks for reading and have a great night!

Oatmeal ADD-ins, not STIR-ins!

Greetings, greetings! I hope you have had a lovely day. Mine was the perfect combination of play and work. This morning, I met up with Katie for breakfast and some shopping (revelation time: LONG JEANS. I probably sound like the dumbest person alive right now, but even though I have purchased long jeans from some stores before, it never really occurred to me to give them a go at my favorite store. I have always loved American Eagle jeans, they always seem to fit and they last forever. They are also often on sale and/or have applicable coupons so it’s a win-win. Recently, however, I noticed that several of the pairs that I have had for a while were a little short. Especially when I wore them at work with sneakers. So today, I got a long pair and I LOVE them. They are perfect!)

However, since tonight’s post title has absolutely nothing to do with shopping, nor the length of my jeans, let’s cut to the chase. 😉

I am an oatmeal LOVER. My obsession probably began long, long ago with the magical, fantastical Dinosaur Eggs instant oatmeal. (Have you ever tried this stuff? I was ALL about it in elementary school and then it disappeared from the grocery stores, but I assure you, it is back. Ok, so basically it’s dinosaur-shaped sprinkles cased in hard sugar that melts in the hot oatmeal (AKA THE DINOSAURS HATCH!!!!!!!!!) and it is the coolest breakfast food in the universe, pretty cool I guess…

Anyway, ever since then, I have loved oatmeal and I typically just eat it plain or with a teeny tiny bit of sugar and milk. That is mostly because anything else that I have ever added has entirely repulsed me. Recently, however, I have been trying to shake things up a bit.

It all started with chocolate chips. One of my roommates loved to put chocolate chips in her oatmeal and since it sounded like dessert for breakfast, I decided to give it a go. I stirred in a tablespoon of chocolate chips and HATED it. It was “chocolate” oatmeal. Please, brother.

Next up was peanut butter. One day I decided to stir in a tablespoon of peanut butter and it just made the oats disgustingly thick and tasted a little bit like garbage.

Eventually, I reverted to the back to the chocolate chips, but that time, I dropped them in and DIDN’T stir them. They were melty, delicious little pockets of chocolatey delight.

So today, I decided to revisit the peanut butter addition and I am totally smitten. It was fantastic.

 

So I think it finally clicked. I need to stop stirring things into the oatmeal (like chocolate chips and peanut butter.) Instead they should be accessories, of sorts. Dropped in, left untouched. Now all I can think about is tomorrow’s breakfast.

So what have we learned today, class? a) the 5’7″ + crowd may benefit from American Eagles’ “long” option and b) when making additions to oatmeal, drop, don’t stir.