Sunday, November 3, 2013

Why Doing Nothing is Essential to One's Self

Well, guys, it's been a while. 

I'm so bad about being motivated to write outside of my day job (non-stop writing), but I hope to get much better about it. 

A lot has gone on in my life since my last post, and I'd love to update you about everything, but instead of focusing on myself, I'd like to propose a thought to everyone. Lately, I've been trying to learn to know and love myself more fully (I'd recommend this to anyone), and I came across an affirmation it took some deep thought to understand.

In so many words, this affirmation is: "By doing nothing, I will accomplish everything."

This statement is contrary to everything our ego would have us believe. But, to truly understand ourselves and others, we must push our egos aside, and let our soul lead our lives. "By doing nothing, I will accomplish everything."

What does that mean though, really? It means that we must stop. We must listen to those around us. We must take time to remember who we are and everything we offer the world. We must sit still and simply be.

When we take time out of our daily lives to come back to ourselves, we're feeding our souls instead of our egos.  By doing this, we become closer and more connected to others because we understand how to interact with them more effectively. Though we aren't taking what the ego would consider  to be "proactive" steps toward a goal, letting go can help us determine who we are, what we want, and a peaceful plan for how to achieve our goals.

When we embrace nothing, we aren't plagued by opposition. We understand that opposition with others is due to a disconnect of self and understanding of one's self. Once we understand that everyone is driven by similar desires (to be loved, to feel affection, to feel safe), we begin to understand that a lack of fulfillment drives us to act out toward others and ourselves. The way to free ourselves from opposition by doing nothing involves us peacefully stepping away from the toxic environments and people we place ourselves in and around. It involves accepting who we are and appreciating those who care about us for the right reasons.

 This may all sound like mumbo-jumbo to you, but I hope it has inspired you to stop and consider your own desires, motivations and how at peace you are in your current situation. Do you have negative elements or people in your life that are keeping you from being true to yourself? I encourage you to take 5-10 minutes to simply do nothing, and see what thoughts open themselves to you.
“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.“ Buddha

On a somewhat silly note, I also remember that the first poem I ever penned was titled "Nothing." I wrote it when I was ten, and I still remember the words. It goes like this:

"Sometimes in our lives, we say we have nothing to do.
But we do: Nothing.
Nothing can be a time to think things out.
There must be something to think about.
And while you're thinking,
You may figure out,
That Nothing is Something, after all."

(A glimpse into my childhood). :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Year Past My Quarter-Life Crisis

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?"
F. Scott Fitzgerald

One Year Past My Quarter-Life Crisis
Twenty-five was a weird year. When I was younger, I thought by twenty-five, I would be married and settling down. I am from the South, after all. Obviously, that's not what happened. I don't yet have it all figured out, but what I've realized is, no one really does. At this point, I'm not sure if anyone ever gets to a point where he/she is at a point of complete understanding of how she fits into this big world. 

The more I explore, travel, and experience, the smaller I feel. I'm one-part amazed at how connected everything and everyone is (hello, random encounters with people I know across the world and the U.S.), but also just how big humanity is. Doing something influential or important with one's life seems so difficult when there are so many people to touch and influence with your work. I may have not reached that milestone by 26, but I also know that some of the greatest thought leaders of all time have made the biggest impact later in their lives. I haven't yet found my niche, but one day I will, and I couldn't be more excited. 

It's difficult to pinpoint exactly how I feel at this particular age. I guess, more than anything, 25 made me realize that even when I think I have everything figured out, I still have a lot to learn and a lot more personal growth to experience. As I dedicate myself to nurturing my career and my relationships, I can't forget to take time for myself and my own personal development. I'd like to say I want to have a lot more figured out by 30, but I also realize that that's my optimism speaking. 

There's also the fact that I'm simply on a seemingly everlasting quest to retain my youth. When I'll give up this aspiration has yet to be determined, but I have no plans to ever give up my sense of child-like wonder. I want to be 80 years-old, staring at a natural phenomenon, and still be amazed by everything this world has to offer. 

Finally, there's a strict duality about my feelings as a mid-twenty-something. On one hand, I want to run. I want to explore. I want to leave everything behind and travel far away and make a new life where I don't know anyone or understand anything. I want to soak everything in and leave the worries that come with being an adult behind. On the other hand, I want to stay in the same place. I want to keep my friends close, and I want to build relationships that last a lifetime. The sides of this duality are present at different times over the span of a week, day, and even, sometimes, each hour. They're an intense and incredible part of being 26.

Ethan Hawke once said, "In your mid-twenties, the paint is still wet on who you are." I have to say, though, I'm glad that the figure on the canvas is now, at least partially, recognizable.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Girls I Used to be Best Friends With

“Trying to forget really doesn't work. In fact, it's pretty much the same as remembering. But I tried to forget anyway, and to ignore the fact that I was remembering you all the time."― Rebecca Stead

Best friends are like this. In trying to forget, we remember, and we can't help but acknowledge the fact that we were remembering all along. 

M- M was my best friend for a very long time, from about age 7 to 14. I went to her house every Sunday after church, and we often had sleepovers on the weekends. I stayed friends with her even though she was often very mean to me in front of other people to make herself look better. In high school, a new girl we really liked starting coming to our church. We hit it off more than she and M did, and slowly we became better friends. I also had a long-term serious boyfriend at the time, and M was very jealous that I spent more time with him than her. (I don't just think this; she told me so). The new girl, B, and I started hearing things about M: that she was doing drugs, sleeping around. We stopped talking to M and made fun of her often. I feel bad about it now. One day I saw M in the study hall in college and helped her with her paper, though. She later became and English major, like me. 

B- Yes, the same one from above. I'm not sure what really happened here, but I think we just grew apart. 

Other B- I met this B when I was a junior in college through my (still) best friend K. B and I ended up becoming best friends for two or 3 years. We did absolutely outlandish things together. She was wild. I was the more straight-laced of the two of us. I can't really pinpoint our downfall, but it may have begun in Los Angeles, where she convinced me to travel with her so she could try out for Playboy. (She had just gotten a boob job). That's probably when I realized she was a bit out of control, but I loved her anyway. After senior year, I moved out-of-state for grad school, and she came to visit me. I was going through the worst break-up of my life, and she was there to talk me through it on the phone and online almost every day. I bought her ticket. The entire time she was visiting she was completely boy-crazy, and the night before she left, she did coke in my car with a random guy from a shady dance club. Then, she brought him back to my house. I was sick, and they stayed up all night talking and being loud. I called my ex-boyfriend (who knew her) and cried. 
After that, we didn't talk for a while. I barely spoke to her when I dropped her off at the airport. Months later, we made up, but her lifestyle was getting more and more out of control. She moved to L.A. and was doing lots of drugs and hanging with the wrong crowd. She went through a lot of personal crises with her family, and I didn't talk to her in years. I missed her a lot and I Googled her once. I found mugshots on the internet and called K. I heard she went to rehab. She just contacted me on Facebook for the first time in over two years. I wish she would have answered my calls, so I could have been there for her like she was for me. 

J- I met J in college at a graduate school event. She was getting a Master's in Nutrition, and I was getting one in English. Most of the time we were in school, we were inseparable, and when I didn't have time to hang out she was pretty unhappy. It all went sour when I hooked up with a guy she had the hots for- despite the fact she had a serious boyfriend. We sort of got over that, but later, things got really sour when we were dating two guys in the same friend group. After she and her guy broke up, he and I were looking for someone to play music with. (I often played at open mic nights). Of course, my boyfriend was cool with this, but ex-girlfriend J went crazy and called him screaming. After that, we didn't talk. The first guy moved in with her "as friends" and threw up on her floor often. One day I tried to make up and invited her out to coffee. She bragged about dating a 40-year old professor. Then she unfriended me on Facebook. 

F- F is one of those situations where you are simply separated by different interests and classes at a large school. Freshman year we were best friends, sophomore year we weren't. Though, she did write a rather nice sentiment in my yearbook. It was a sad situation. 

C- C was my first roommate ever in an apartment. I wouldn't say that we were best friends, but we were close. She moved her boyfriend in, and they left spoiled meat all over the kitchen, pounds of hair in the bathtub, and smoked cigs (which I hate) in the apartment. All around, I wasn't happy. My boyfriend at the time ended up confronting her boyfriend, and it was ugly. I believe he later left a can of Slimfast on my doorstep and put shaving cream under my car door. I was skinnier than his girlfriend. I drank it anyway.

P Girls- P stands for party. These girls get their own section, because even if you think you're best friends with a girl you go out with every weekend, she's not going to call you after she moves. We weren't that close anyway, right? Well, it seemed like it at the time.

Girls can be petty and childish- all of us. It's a sad day when you lose someone who you thought you would be sharing memories with the rest of your life. But, life is about moving on, and even if we aren't ready to let go of some people, they need to let go of us. 
                                                              2 of My Favorite Besties
Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful humans who are still my best friends. I love you, and thanks for keeping the drama at bay!

*Note, this isn't a comprehensive list, and it's also 100 percent based on my personal opinions/observations in relationships, which could be, as any human's perceptions, completely flawed.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Why YOU Should Try Yoga

Maybe you're one of those people who absolutely abhors the idea of spending an hour trying to touch your toes. But, that isn't what yoga is about. It's not about how flexible you are or how often you work out; it's about finding a peace and inner strength within yourself. Yoga is truly an activity from which anyone can benefit.

I began my journey with yoga about a year ago, though I had taken a few classes previously at my college gym. As a seriously inflexible person (not kidding, I can barely get my bad knees to straighten out completely), I assumed that I would be horrible at yoga. What I found out, however, is that it's not something you can really be “bad” at. Sure, you may not be able to do a pose or stay in a pose as long as anyone else at first, but if you keep going back, you'll find length and flexibility in your body you never knew you had. For example, today I did my first Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) in class. It's essentially a back-bend and looks like this: ( Like every yoga pose, it has a wealth of benefits when performed properly, such as increasing energy, decreasing depression, and aiding those with backaches. (By the way, mine is definitely not that high yet!)

So, what benefits can you expect to see from yoga, exactly? There are those you might expect, such as strength and flexibility, and there are those you may not expect, such as a sunnier disposition, reduced anxiety, reduced pain, better sleep, more confidence, and a general sense of calm.

Some yoga tips for beginners:

  1. Never stretch yourself too far beyond your limits. When something starts to get uncomfortable, it's not beneficial. Your poses should be challenging, but not painful.
  2. Don't judge yourself too harshly. No one can hit all the poses the first time he/she tries. In fact, it often takes years to perfect one's practice. Instead, focus on your breath and how you move in sync with it. In other words, let your breath lead your movement.
  3. Try a few different classes/styles of yoga and see which one best fits your lifestyle/ helps you meet your goals. I prefer a fast-flowing vinyasa yoga class to keep my heart rate up, while at the same time completing similar poses/ a similar routine each time. You may like a slower-paced restorative yoga class or a super hot Bikram Yoga class.
  4. Listen to your instructor. If you're a beginner like I am, good instructors will likely adjust your body both verbally and psychically throughout the class. This is especially true if you take a beginner’s yoga class. On the same vein, you'll want to try out different instructors and see which one you best gel with. This will improve your overall class experience.
  5. Go to “Child's Pose” any time you need a rest during your practice. Seen here (, this pose will help bring awareness to your body and all the hard work you've been doing, while also allowing you to rest.
I can personally attest to a decrease in anxiety and general increase in well-being from my yoga practice. I currently take yoga classes at least 1-2 times per week. If I skip a week, I notice that my body is more tense, and I simply feel a bit “out of sorts.” So, I hit the mat again and reap the benefits.

If you haven't yet given yoga a go, try a few classes. Whether your body needs a good stretch from the hardcore workouts you do on a regular basis, or you simply want to add a bit more balance and clarity to your life, yoga could be exactly what you've been searching for!

 Where Yoga Takes Me

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tips for Traveling Abroad

With my trip to Cancun in two days (yay!) adding to my numerous trips abroad, I came to the conclusion that I could probably share quite a few tips  for those adventurers traveling out of the U.S. Whether you're prepping for your first overseas journey or simply zipping up to Canada for the day, here are ten fifteen tips for a pleasant journey:

15 Tips for Traveling Abroad 

1. Take Advantage of the ATMs. This is the one tip I'm always adamant about sharing. It's much easier to get local currency from an ATM and pay a minor bank fee than use your debit/credit card everywhere and (likely) be charged an additional foreign currency fee for all of these transactions. It's also helpful to have local cash on hand for transportation, vendors, etc. Your card won't work everywhere-especially in more remote locations.
2. Let Your Bank/ Credit Card Company Know Where You're Going and How Long You'll be There. I can't stress this enough. I've seen several friends/ travel  companions lose all access to their money due to the fact that their bank/credit card company found their overseas travel purchases suspicious. These rules are in place to protect consumers, but you should have no problems using your cards if you call your bank/credit card company before you leave. (The number is likely on the back of your card.) You should know the dates and places you are traveling (including layovers, etc.). ALSO, check your statements when you return. Identity theft does happen abroad. It's also important to know that your transactions may take quite some time to process, so it's a good idea to keep track of exactly what you spent while overseas.
3.  Pack Light, Shop There. This is especially important for those shopaholics like me. I literally went to London with one suitcase packed lightly for summer weather. Little did I know, summer didn't actually kick in until the middle of July. With the necessary jackets I purchased and the other clothing and souvenirs I bought for fun, I ended up getting a second suitcase for the trip home. Taking that much through customs was difficult enough. I can't imagine what it would have been like to pack heavily both ways. Also, let's face it. It's much easier to move around the country with less baggage.
4. Bring a Power Adapter. If you've never traveled abroad, you may not know that many countries have different power adapters than we do. If you have plans to charge a cell phone, computer, or even hair dryer, you'll likely need a power adapter like this one ( If you're planning to stay abroad for quite a while, it could be easier to purchase hair-styling devices there. 
5. Ditch the Cell, or Research International Plans. It's no secret that traveling abroad can rack up some serious charges on your cell phone. There are several ways you can avoid this. If you don't want to leave your phone at home, you can call your carrier and request a short-term International package, or go to the provider's website and add the package there. I currently use AT&T, and I was able to add a data plan for the week I was in Ireland for less than $40. That's far less than I would have ended up paying otherwise. In this case, you will also need to turn on your International data. Your provider can give you more details. If you're staying abroad for more than two weeks or so, you may want to consider buying the equivalent of the U.S. Tracfone. When I was in London, I loaded up one of these puppies for about $100 (including the phone) for text messaging and calls during my month stay.
6. Bring Snacks. For people on super strict diets like me, this is incredibly important. Sometimes it's hard to find things I can eat in the airport, and you can forget me actually eating anything they serve on the plane. Snacks are crucial in this situation. Even if you don't have food issues, you can save a lot of effort and cash by bringing your own snacks in your carry-on bag. Just make sure they aren't in liquid form, or you'll be forced to throw them away. Chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc. are always great options.
7. Pack Your Carry-On Like an Overnight Bag. I remember my mom telling me this when I first started traveling, and she definitely had the right idea. Whether you're taking a short flight in the U.S. or a long flight abroad, checked luggage does get lost. And, when that luggage is lost, you're sort of screwed if all you packed in your carry-on bag was a pillow, headphones, and a book. Pack a day's worth of clothing and hygiene supplies just in case (heaven forbid) you're stuck at an airport for three days like I was this past Christmas. ( I brought two carry-ons on that trip, thank goodness!)
8. Do a Little Research, but Not Too Much. I used to be a big planner. Now though, I just can't be that strict about my itinerary without getting completely stressed out. Though it's certainly based on personal preference,  unless you have tons of specific sites you're intent upon hitting, why not leave a little up to fate? Trust me, it's a lot more relaxing to have a few places you'd like to visit in mind and the freedom to visit them whenever you'd like than to try to hit every place on an extensive itinerary.
9. Bring Copies of Your Passport. Sometimes people lose things. Sometimes people are mugged. Bring extra copies of your passport so you aren't stuck in a different country.
10. Check in With Your Doctor/ Pharmacist/ Insurance Provider.Are you up-to-date on all of your vaccines? You should be- especially if you're traveling abroad! You should also make sure you know exactly what kind of health insurance benefits you'll experience while abroad and bring your card with you in case of emergencies. Last, don't forget to make sure you're current with your prescriptions and have enough to last you through your trip. This also includes extra pairs of eyeglasses/contacts, etc. You won't want to be without them!
11. Tips for Ladies' Handbags: I've always preferred to bring a bag with a strap that goes across my body and is turned away from major walking paths/roadways. I'm not trying to get mugged, y'all. I do know several people who have, and though nothing can really prevent it, having a handbag that's harder to access can make it more difficult.
12. Leave Your Valuables Behind. No, not in the hotel; leave them at home! If your bag is lost, thieves get greedy, or you simply leave your family heirloom on a cruise ship somewhere, it's not going to be pretty. Leave them at home in a safe place, and have a trusted friend/ neighbor keep an eye on your place while you're gone.
13. Learn the Local Customs/ Basic Phrases. I always research the local dress code in the countries I'm planning on visiting to avoid trouble. For example, did you know that European women hardly ever wear shorts? It's true. One day I stepped outside of my dorm to go next door for laundry (in shorts) and I'm pretty sure drivers thought I was a hooker. No kidding. After that, I had no desire to wear shorts in London. If you're traveling somewhere women cover themselves up quite a bit, you may want to do this also so you can avoid any "admirers." In short, try to blend in with the locals as much as possible. It's also smart to learn a few phrases of the local language in case you're stuck in a situation where there isn't an English-speaker nearby.
14. Project Confidence. What do all locals seem to have when they move about their city? Confidence! They know where they're going, how to get there, and they project the sense of being comfortable in their surroundings. If you're having trouble finding your way, keep your cool. Walk in a confident manner. It's sad to say that there are those people who prey on the weak. Remember, you're not one of them.
15. Take Advantage of Public Transportation.I never take taxis if I can avoid it. I would much rather pay a few "dollars" for a day pass in the subway system or to take the bus route than throw away cash every time I'm going somewhere- especially if I have a lot of places to go! It's usually fairly easy to navigate these systems, and it will certainly save you some cash in the long run if you cut down on your taxi usage.

Do you have any travel tips to add to the list? I know I've left a few out, so leave a comment and share your knowledge! :)

Outside Dublin, Ireland- October 2012

Sunday, March 24, 2013

10 Books Every 20-Something Female Should Read

I hate to get all gender-happy with this post, but as a young woman in my 20s myself, I feel I can best speak to this demographic. I'd like to note that this isn't (by any means) a comprehensive or perfect list. These selections are solely based on my favorite female-oriented texts. Sorry, Jane Austen lovers; I have no love for the distinguished lady. Here we go. . .

 10 Books Every 20-Something Female Should Read 

(in no particular order)

  1. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte (1847): No woman's list would be complete without this Bronte novel, in my opinion. Every time I've read it, I discover something new about myself, depending on where I am in life and what's going on at the time. It's truly a work that transcends time and place, and it has the ability to speak to anyone at any time.
  2. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985): To me, this novel isn't one of Atwood's best in terms of writing style, but it is her most famous. A dystopian/speculative fiction novel, it will appeal to those who love 1984 and other such texts. What it really explorers, however, is what happens when a person loses her selfhood- and how she gains it back. It's a discovery of how we come to realize who we really are as people and how society is a part of that picture. Warning: contains adult themes. Not sure why high school kids read this? I saw the word "fucking" while reading it in jr. high and lost it.
  3. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf: Never has such a novel full of dull details been so interesting. The book details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England while exploring themes of mental illness, feminism, existentialism, and homosexuality. What stands out the most, however, is how beautifully it's written.
  4. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1934): I couldn't construct any type of book list without my favorite author! Though you may have been forced to read the Great Gatsby in high school (a.k.a most wonderful book ever written), you may not have ever been exposed to this novel. Best paired with an account of the Fitzgeralds' life, Tender is the Night is largely autobiographical and hints at the mental illness that F. Scott's wife Zelda was facing. A gorgeous piece of prose itself, it's even better with an in-depth exploration of the female mind of the "original flapper," Zelda Fitzgerald.
  5. The Edible Woman, Margaret Atwood(1969): Like all of Atwood's novels, The Edible Woman deals with gender stereotypes, but this time, there's a large focus on body image. Atwood's biting wit is apparent, as is her dedication to an exploration of her self for her female protagonists (for more information, see my MA thesis :) ). As the protagonist Marian slowly detaches from reality, the reader must also examine how he/she fits into our narcissistic world.
  6. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys (1966): If you've read and enjoyed (or plan to read) Jane Eyre, adding this book to your list is a no-brainer. Rhys writes a novel that acts as a prequel to Jane Eyre, with a focus on Mr. Rochester's "mad woman in the attic," known in the earlier text as his wife, Bertha Mason. A post-colonial novel, it deals with themes of race, displacement, and assimilation into a new culture. If you've ever wanted to know more about Rochester's first wife, here's your chance. It might make you detest Rochester and Jane though. Just saying.
  7. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (2003): A book that's arguably much better than the movie in my opinion, though it's excellent, The Time Traveler's Wife is a beautifully written conglomeration of science and romance. It focuses on a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to spontaneously travel in time and his life-long romance with his steadfast love. I'm not gonna lie, it can get a bit uncomfortable sometimes. Would you like to make out with your current lover at age 14(ish) if you were your current age? Didn't think so..
  8. Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood (1995): One of my favorite books of all time, Alias Grace shifts between a servant girl who is jailed for murder named Grace and her psychiatric doctor. As the reader, it can be difficult to know when Grace is speaking or thinking due to Atwood's stream of consciousness-type style (no punctuation), but it's fascinating to see how she thinks of herself, her doctor's observations, and how she's viewed by the public.
  9. A Song of Ice and Fire (series), George R. R. Martin (1996-2011): The television adaptation of this series is often lauded for its powerful female characters, and the book certainly follows this model as well. Though I've only read the first two books so far (they're huge, so it's slow-going), I definitely consider it to be a fascinating experience. Though the world Martin has built is a sexist one, several key women and young ladies rise to the occasion of harnessing their own power and being self-reliant. Some even lead armies. Note: If you've seen the series on television so far, I can tell you that the first two books are relatively identical. At this point, I'm reading for more details. You could easily skip ahead to the third and not miss too much.
  10. Evelina:or the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World, Francis Burney (1778): I may find Jane Austen rather dull, but her literary predecessor Francis Burney is another matter. In one of the longest "books" I've ever conquered, Burney builds an 16th century world around the protagonist Evelina in this three-part epistolary novel, in which she is the legitimate, but unacknowledged daughter of the upper-class society. The "book" has plenty of twists and turns, though they're a bit further spaced than we see today. I like to think of Burney as a more scandalous Jane Austen, with a more interesting writing style to boot. But, to each his/her own. You may prefer Pride and Prejudice.
What do you think? What books/texts would you add to the list? I'd love to know!

-KT <3

Sunday, March 17, 2013

How to Get Your Macklemore On: Thrift Shopping for Dummies

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So, you're in the car and Macklemore's Thrift Shop comes on. Yeah, you know, that song that's been blowing up the radio lately. Ok, maybe you've been living in a hole, so here it is: 

Alright, you get the point. These days, it's cool to be thrifty- even if you don't like wearing your grandpa's clothes. Well, I'll tell you one thing; I've been thrifty for long before it became the "it" thing to do. You know, cause I'm an English major and a writer, and I usually only have $20 in my pocket (if that).

So, I've put together a list of some tips and tricks as a sort of thrift/bargain shopping guide for those who are a bit . . . misguided. After all, thrifting can be beneficial for everyone (and the environment!)

Before I begin, here are some of my most recent acquisitions: 

From top:  
-I <3 Nerds Sweatshirt $3.99- Kmart 
- Dress (new from local mall store, found at Goodwill)- $4.99, Cat Shirt (Forever 21, Goodwill)- $4.99, Yellow Shirt (Forever 21, Goodwill)- $3.99, Summer Floral Dress- $5.99
-Yellow Swimsuit- $13- Marshall's 
- Shorty Shorts- $12.99 (T.J. Maxx) 
- Stripe Dress- $15 (T.J. Maxx)
- Jessica Simpson White Summer Dress - $30 (T.J. Maxx) 

WHEW. . . .  

I've been pretty busy lately with my week-long trip to Cancun coming up soon! I didn't  have a large stock of summer dresses and swimsuits (well, I guess that depends on what you consider "a lot" but. . . ) since I live in VT now, so I certainly got to work shopping! But, on to the tips and tricks. As you can see, lately I've purchased new and used clothing, so I'll include tips for both. 

5 Thrifty Tricks for Bargain/Thrift Shopping

  1.  Get Over Yourself. I'm not kidding on this one, people. Have you ever considered how overpriced brand name clothing is? Although there's a time and a place to purchase quality items, there's no sense in spending money on an item you'll only wear a couple of times or basic clothing items. Spending less doesn't make you any less "cool" or make you seem poor. Rich people thrift too, y'all. It's called vintage. If you do by used, just make sure you wash before wearing (which you should do with new clothing as well!)
  2. Know When to Go for Quality. There are some clothing items that just aren't the same used or cheap. Shoes, for example- especially heels and winter boots, are best when new. You want your heels to be free of scuffs and your boots to last you a few winters, right? Dole out some cash and buy some boots that won't fall apart after two weeks in the snow and salt and heels that will make you look like the classy broad you are. Another item you'll want to spend a bit more on is outerwear. Though light jackets are fine to find cheap, you're going to want a thick, quality winter coat if your climate demands it.
  3. Set a Budget. If you're really tight on cash, it's important to set a budget when thrifting/bargain shopping. Even though it may feel like you're getting a ton for your money (and you probably are), you still don't want to blow your rent money. #20dollasinmypocket
  4. Shop Mid-Season. Shopping mid-season is so much smarter than waiting for the end of the season deals. Why? Because you're likely to get a few "wears" out of your items before next year, and, if you're like me, you just aren't going to be that jazzed about the $3 sweater you bought last year when next season rolls around. 
  5. Keep it Classy, Bitches: Not just true for bargain shopping/thrifting. Try to buy items that are classic enough to last through the trendy seasons. This will definitely save you money in the long run. If you do decide to get uber-trendy (Put down those parachute pants!), don't blow too much of your budget.


 So, what's new in my life, you ask? Not that you actually care, but I"m going to tell you anyway. 

1. I got my belly button re-pierced today. I've had it out for 2ish years, and it didn't hurt at all when the tat guy stretched it out. I still had the hole so, why not fill it.. amIright? 

2. As stated, I'm going to Cancun. April 9th. 6 night stay. Epicness. LivingSocial is basically the best. We got everything for the amount of my tax refund. Coincidence? I think not. 
3. I now take spin classes. Right now, I'm doing the ones that are combined with yoga or strength training at my workplace. Not sure if I can do a whole 60 mins yet. I never thought I'd like spin. I was wrong. Apparently, someone yelling at me really gets me moving!
4. I took a GRIT class to help a friend out, and that shit was CRAY. 
5. I did the Dr. OZ 48-hour cleanse. It was not fun. My body hated me.#OverIt. 

There are more things to share, but I wouldn't want my next blog post to be too short. ;)

Until next time!