“Life is a party. Dress like it.” – Audrey Hepburn
I was visiting my friend in L.A. and one late Saturday morning (I don’t think anyone gets up early in the City of Angels) she suggested we visit a pop-up shop a few streets over from her house. Excellent suggestion. We stayed for over 2 hours! I couldn’t believe everything was so affordable and versatile. That was my first introduction to Carly Jean Los Angeles.
Carly Jean Los Angeles is an online boutique for women that specializes in a capsule wardrobe: a wardrobe that you can completely mix and match. The result: never having a closet full of random clothes that you can’t put together to make an outfit. The first couple of items I bought were a kimono, a few basic t-shirts, and a bandana. All of which I wear frequently.
This past fall I purchased this long-sleeve pullover and I would wear it everyday if I could get away with it. I. Love. It. Super soft and comfortable. I do not believe they have this exact item anymore but this one is similar. I’m super excited her new spring collection for 2019 will be launching tomorrow. If you have a chance follow them on instagram and check out her website and it will not disappoint.
Have you bought anything from her shop before? I’d love to hear about it.
“No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.” – Marie Kondō
I knew that if Emily Gilmore found a way to spark ‘joy’ in her life after the passing of Richard that I should take note. Gilmore Girls, “A Year in the Life,” was the first time I heard of Marie Kondo and her, now infamous (Amy Sherman-Palladino is always ahead of the crowd), Konmari method of tidying up. At first I found the method intriguing and a quotable scene in Gilmore Girls; however, now I believe Marie Kondo really does know what’s going on.
A few weeks ago I started watching the Netflix original series, Tidying up with Marie Kondo, and started the process of ‘tidying up’ for myself. A long and painful process to say the least. Long because you find yourself staying up all night to see your progress and painful because going through the things you have accumulated over the course of your entire life is hard. For those of you who may not know the process, the basic premise is that you go through all of your belongings and hold each one in your hand, asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it doesn’t, you get rid of it. If it does, you organize it in your house. Neatly.
Clothes, papers, and miscellaneous were the easiest for me. I like clothes, but I can let them go if I need to. I had a lot of papers because I had saved almost everything from high school, college, and all of my jobs, so that was definitely a huge undertaking. However, it was the books and sentimental category that was the hardest for me.
No more than 30 books!! That is the number Marie recommends to have in your house. That, alone, is the number of coffee table books I own. Books have always been my best friends and constant companions. I have shelves overflowing with books and they are all my friends. They all give me joy and I like them around. Do as I say and not as I do in the Marie Kondo category of books. Although, I did get rid of some books, it wasn’t many.
I have a lot of sentimental items. I mean a lot. I have held on to their things: my grandfather’s globes, my great-grandfather shoe repair kit, all of the cards and letters from my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Why? The main reason was because I have always felt that my kids won’t know who their family is if I don’t keep everything.
I don’t need to hold on to to everything my ancestors left behind for my kids to know them. I kept a few important things and threw away the rest. have found that when I hold most of my memorabilia in my hand it doesn’t spark joy. I had an amazing childhood and I had a lot of family, but as Marie says, “we cannot live in the past.” I’m sorry Nathaniel for throwing away your valentine from the third grade. The same goes for my awards and trophies and pen pal letters: they didn’t all give me joy.
I am still in the organizing stage of what I have decided to keep. Hello container store! This is challenging in a different way. Now that you know what you want to keep, how do you want to keep it? Marie recommends a lot of little containers for storing things neatly and it really does work.
Have you tried the KonMari method? What surprised you in your quest to spark ‘joy?’ I’d love to hear your stories. Until next time, dear reader, don’t forget that it is okay to throw away your great-grandfather’s book about boats. It probably didn’t give him joy either.
The best trips I have taken have been when someone casually mentions going on a trip and before you know it you have a flight booked and a bag packed. Denver was no exception. Enter Bailey and Sophie. We first met when I moved to Virginia and they were regulars at the coffee shop where I was a barista. During the holidays we were chatting about taking a trip one day and then the next day we decided to book the cheapest flight we could find over Christmas break.
You guessed it!
One of us booked the flights, one of us rented the car, and one of us researched and found us a sweet deal on a crib for the duration of our stay. We each took one carry-on and filled it with mostly sweaters and jeans. Fully packed and caffeinated, we drove to the airport ready for adventure.
Day One // Fly into Denver, Explore Downtown Denver
The flight took almost 4 hours and then once we landed in Denver, we hit the ground running. We picked up our rental, dropped our bags off, and headed downtown. We had a general itinerary that we had prepared before we left. However, we wanted to live-in-the-moment and enjoy all the new experiences we could. We knew coffee was important to us, so we had time each day to find a new coffee shop (or two) to try. After a quick bit at a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant we were off to find a coffee shop.
Our first stop was Little Owl Coffee Shop in Downtown Denver. This became one of my favorite coffee shop on our visit. I went 3 times and then bought two bags of coffee beans to bring home! Hot or iced, the barista Chris made our drinks with perfection. We tried the mocha, vanilla latte, and brewed coffee. They were never bitter or overly sweet. Therefore, they receive my barista seal of approval.
We made a stop at the REI flagship store where I bought my favorite winter coat that was in the clearance section. I wore it the rest of the trip and even went skiing in it. You can find the same coat here. It has been so cold here in Virginia since I’ve been home that I am still wearing it everyday.
We went to the grocery store that evening and we each bought ingredients for our night to cook. We also bought a large pack of water to keep in the rental car to help keep us hydrated and to stave off altitude sickness. We went through the entire pack of water and stayed healthy (with many bathroom breaks).
Day 2 // Red Rocks, Skiing
On our way to the Red Rocks on the second day we went back downtown to a restaurant we had noticed the night before that looked like a great breakfast spot. I could have ordered one of everything on the menu at Snooze an AM Eatery . I ordered the smashed avocado benny and it was pure bliss. If you need to know anything about me is that I live to eat breakfast food. I could eat breakfast food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, sometimes I think I go to bed at night just because I know I can eat breakfast in the morning. After a breakfast that stuck to our ribs, we were ready for the day.
If you go to Colorado in January it is a rule that you have to ski. We decided before we left that we would go night skiing in order to save money. I have never skied, let alone night skied. But how bad could it be? We went to Echo Mountain, because it was the closest ski area to Denver, most affordable, and have ‘ambassadors’ that are always available to help a girl out. It really helped that I ice skate because of the similarities of how you stop and gain speed.
Day Three // Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
Due to the recent government shutdown the park was closed, but we could still drive around in the mountains and get out and walk some. Our first stop of the day was Boulder for breakfast and, you guessed it, coffee. We enjoyed exploring Boulder, shopping, eating, and walking around. My favorite coffee shop was in Downtown Boulder. Ozo Coffee has over 20 variations of mocha. I tried to the Valencia orange and believe I found true love.
Day Four // Free Day
Due to our busy schedules at home, we knew we wanted one day on the trip that we could do absolutely whatever we wanted. And if that meant doing nothing for a day then that is what we would do. However, there were several places we had seen over the last few days that we took a mental note of and then knew we would return on our free day.
Tattered Cover Books was one of the places we all agreed was a place we wanted to visit. It is a bookstore in the heart of Downtown Denver that had a lot of character and ambiance. I could have bought the entire store, but I refrained and just bought one book, Ayn Rand’s classic Atlas Shrugged, in the clearance section (are you noticing a theme?) that I had been wanting to read for a while.
Day Five // Final Day
We woke up the last day to snowstorm, which was exciting to me, because what is the point in going to Colorado and not have snow. We decided to get out and find our final coffee shop for the trip and do some shopping. We found Reunion Coffee House in Commerce City, a new coffee shop that was perfect for our last day. We had the breakfast burritos and excellent coffee. We enjoyed our last night in the city and we flew out early the next morning.
It is possible to go on a trip with a small budget, and a small window of time. Never let finances or time or energy stop you from saying yes to new adventures. We are already planning our next trip! Have you been Colorado? Comment below with your favs in Denver.
As 2019 is speeding steadily before me, I am reminded of how 2018 was full of moments that got me to where I am today. As cliche as a blogger can be, I’d like to show my favorite moments of 2018. Last year was the year of endings in order to have new beginnings. It was one of most tiring years I’ve ever lived. One thing remained the same: I drank a lot of coffee. So without being a usual narcissistic blogger, I’ll recap my big moments from 2018.
jan // home
It has been a year since I’ve been home. And I’m okay with that. Home has a few good memories, but I’m busy making new ones.
feb-march // New York City
As Mark Twain said, “Make your mark in New York, and you are a made man.” For my birthday last year I went on a fun getaway trip to the city. However, the true purpose was to see what possibilities the city had for me. Conclusion: a lot.
april // the month of no rest
This was my most tiring month I have ever lived. By this time I had been working one, full-time management position and one part time job for over a year. As well as taking 18 hours in order to graduate. I didn’t sleep much or eat right. Somehow I managed to still make lattes, write papers, and talk coherently. But all of my hard work paid off….
may // GRADUATION
FINALLY!!! In May I graduated with my BA in Strategic Communication. All those late nights and early mornings and stress acne paid off. Look out world!
summer // who am I?
The rest of the summer I worked a lot, hiked a lot, went to the lake a lot, and saw every movie that hit theaters. It was fun, busy, and tiring. Trying to enjoy this time and everything in between.
fall // 12 state mother-daughter road trip
12 states. 7 days. Endless cups of coffee. One mother. One daughter. And an open road. Our final destination was Maine and we squeezed in every state in between on a fully caffeinated road trip. We hit every coffee shop we could on the East Coast and our best moment was accidentally driving through a toll booth. My bad New York. Thanks for the bill.
December // Cut the Starbucks apron strings
Five years. For five years I closed and opened Starbucks. For five years I made customers half-caf, no foam, no whip, whole milk, 180 degree white mocha. And STIRRED. It was an incredible experience and it taught me a lot. All the while giving me fodder for my future writing. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
December pt 2 // Celebrated 2 years of dating the SAME person
In December, I also celebrated 2 years of dating my fellow ex-barista. Coffee and movies is what brought us together. I introduced him to Casablanca and All the President’s Men and he convinced me to step outside of my cinematic comfort zone to watch movies that keep me up at night. Here’s to many more years of flannel lattes and rainy hikes.
2019 // New Year Same Me but kinda cooler
So now, my dear readers, we have spent enough time in the past, it is time to look into the new year. This coming year I am focusing on blogging and writing. Please join me as I share with you all my new adventures. I am also taking this year to contribute to the world of YouTube on a regular basis. Coffee, travel, film, goals, books, family, friends, and anything new and quirky in between are just a few things I will share.
I know what you may be thinking: wait, what? It is already two weeks into 2019, what do I mean hello? Well, for me, for me today is the first day of the new year. Yes, it is January 14, 2019; however, I am just now getting down to the nitty gritty and start my new year right.
The last two weeks have been amazing: got a different position at work, took a spur-of-the-moment ski trip to Colorado, and have eaten lots of burgers. I have been so busy living that I haven’t gotten to my lists, resolutions, budgets, and writing like my normal, high-anxiety, overly-organized self. And it has been great.
So HELLOOOOO 2019!! I’m ready for a new start!
But guess what? If you didn’t go to the gym on New Years Day because you worked all day it is okay. If you had a hamburger and chocolate milkshake (which the writer of the post may or may not have done) the world doesn’t end. In saying all this, I am definitely ready to set new goals and see what I can accomplish in the coming year.
Ant-Man said it best, “…my pap-pap always said, ‘You do something right you make a list. So we should do that…”
Writing // I am a writer. This is who I am and what I need to do to survive the monotony of everyday living. It doesn’t matter if it is good writing: I just need to write and I need your help. If I see you on a daily basis or not please keep me focused. Ask me if I have written. Remind me to write. Or just put pen and paper in front of me and tell me to write.
Health // My goal is to be healthy this year. Go to the gym. Run. Drink water. All the usual goals over-achievers list every year; however, I want to add, avoiding toxic people, limit superfluous activities, and focusing on self-care.
A Vintage Nomad // One of my main goals this year is to focus on my website, Youtube channel, and social media sites. Documenting my travels, adventures, and lifestyle.
Time // A new year means new opportunities to spend your time both good and bad. I want to make sure I am spending my time with the people I love and the people that love me. As well as not worry about things that do not matter.
Adventure // I want to continue living life to the fullest and see where the new year takes me. I have an idea of where I’m going and it will be exciting to watch it unfold.
Let me know what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on the coming year! Here is to 2019, may we all learn and grow from each other. Just a reminder to keep your friends close and you enemies closer this year.
As much as I love a change in seasons, I feel as though this year I am particularly looking forward to fall. I can’t wait for chili and boots and scarves and pumpkin pie. Fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains adds a special ambiance to the season. However, this year it is more than that. This year it is about shedding the dead parts of my life.
For the past few weeks I have felt a heaviness like something was weighing me down. It was a feeling of constant tiredness, regardless of how much sleep I had (I don’t get much sleep anyway so that didn’t help). Coffee didn’t help. My books didn’t help. My passions seemed distant, out of my reach. I realized that it had been six months since my college graduation and where was I now: holding on to the things that I need to let go.
“…and all at once summer collapsed into fall.” – Oscar Wilde
Unlike spring, which is about new life flourishing, fall is about letting go of the old life. I am ready to shed habits, friendships, and material possessions that are the last few leaves on a tree trying to hold on, yet in the end they must let go. It is not something to mourn, it is for a chance at a new start.
Over the next few weeks of fall I plan to do just that. I am letting go of friendships that have died a long time ago. I am getting rid of material posessions that no longer give me joy. And I am letting go of any negativity that may present itself. My life is going to change in the coming year and I need to get ready now.
I already know my passion in life: writing screenplays. It is time to get rid of whatever it is that is hindering me. Does anyone else need to shed the old to make room for the new? I would like to hear your thoughts. Please comment below and let me know how you are fulfilling your passion.
Until next time don’t forget to eat breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.
Wait, what? It’s been over a year since I blogged? How did that happen? Apparently going off and having adventures doesn’t leave much time for writing. Oh well I am writing today and that is what matters.
It has almost been two years since I moved away from home to look for adventure and boy did I find it. It wasn’t exactly as I had imagined but it was adventure nonetheless. This year was a mixture of joy and pain that created the tools I needed to begin the next chapter of my life.
What is the next chapter? I am not sure, but it is soon upon me. There are major life changes and decisions to be made, but I am taking it day by day. Although I do have plans for 2018, I am not setting specific goals, except to remember to put on eye cream every night and wear red lipstick.
This year I killed a spider without running out of the room. I hydroplaned for the first time and was in my first car wreck. I learned that you can’t live with and you can’t live without insurance companies. I learned to balance two jobs, full-time course load, and a relationship. I learned that forgiveness is a gift you give to those you love with no strings attached.
There are endless stories from the last 365 days so I will not bore my readers with the details; however, I will highlight the top five stories from my life in 2017.
ONE // I Lost the Majority of My Islands
My home island, pet island, and friendship island crumbled this year. My home for the majority of my life was sold and my family moved from my hometown. It is a strange feeling not having a home. I can’t go up the driveway where I first learned to drive or open the door and hear the familiar creek. Or go to my childhood room and see the pencil marks in my closet that documented my growth.
I also lost my fish, Frank Sinatra, and my beloved 14 1/2-year-old golden retriever, Liberty. Grieving for my dog was, and continues to be, one of the hardest things I have been through. Liberty was my best friend, my roommate, and my constant companion. I was there when she was born, chose her when she was two weeks old, brought her home when she was eight weeks old, and held her paw as she took her last breath 14 years later. She never left my side and I never left hers.
One of the casualties of having adventures is your friendships. Although I still have many friendships that have carried on, there are many that slowly faded into the abyss. When you first move away there are frequent phone calls, snaps, and texts; yet, as time goes on they grow farther and farther apart until some stop completely. However, the ones that remain you cherish most ardently.
TWO // Virginia Really is For Lovers
The first day I moved I met a barista who made my latte and welcomed me to Virginia. Nine months later we were dating and two weeks ago we celebrated our one year anniversary. We are both baristas, film addicts, and strong-willed individuals. We saw over 70 movies together and drank countless cups of coffee in 2017. Being in a relationship has stretched me in more ways than I imagined, but each trial brings a greater joy and a deeper commitment.
THREE // Invest in a Good Plunger
As a life-long saver I was raised to use what you had and save for the greater things in life; however, once I started dating Colton he encouraged me that it is okay to spend on things to make your life easier. Buy the dress. Buy the better plunger. If you like a pair of jeans buy two of them because you’ll wear them (and look great in the meantime). Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a saver, but the time to enjoy the simple things in life is now. Not wait until graduation, or marriage, or retirement.
I started using the reserve bag of coffee I had been saving. I started wearing my good dresses to work. I started getting up a little earlier and putting on lipstick. I took the time to meet more people for coffee, or lunch, or drinks. One of my greatest investments in 2017 was travel. I got to take several trips that I had only dreamed of in years past and I am so thankful I took the plunge (pun not intended).
FOUR // Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right, Here I am, Stuck in the Middle…
I learned in 2017 that sometimes you are stuck in the middle and there is nothing you can do. You just have to go through it until you reach the other side. In work, in school, or in life. At work, you may not get the promotion you deserve simply for the fact that you are you. You are not always going to be appreciated and that is life. You can spend years in a career or in a difficult program and not get recognition or a pat on the back or a gold star for effort. You just get through and know that you made it to the other side and because of what you went through you will be prepared for the next chapter in your life.
I have found you learn more from the no’s in life than the yes’. You learn more from the challenges than the opportunities. You learn more from the trials than the triumphs. You learn more from the people who don’t like you than those who do. You need to spend time in prison to learn how to lead Egypt during a famine. The middle has helped guide me to who I am and where I want to be in life, or more importantly where I don’t want to be.
FIVE // The Best is Yet to Come
The last two years have shown me that you never know what is around the corner. Life is exciting and so are the people in it. As Anne of Green Gables found, there really are more kindred spirits in this life than I had imagined. No man is an island. It does take a village. There are people who have stood beside of me and encouraged me this year to whom I will be forever grateful. However, there is more love and joy to experience and share. There are more books to read. There is more food to try. More coffee to drink. And more continents to explore. I may not know where I will be this year or what I will be doing, but the best truly is yet to come.