Summarizing 2020 and Intention Setting for 2021

What did I learn in 2020? I learned that I don’t like to be alone (I am not one in favor of permanent WFH), I fell back in love with reading, my relationships with friends and family are extremely important, and that the only person who can make you happy is YOU! My word that I verbalized in my intention setting for 2020 was FOCUS. I focused on my job, on saving money, on the blog, and honestly, by the end of it, just making it through the year. I wrote a blog post at the beginning on 2020 about how setting resolutions has really set me up for failure in the past and I am really happy I didn’t put the pressure on myself to hit specific goals. Intention setting is my route that I’m enjoying and I’ve set some intentions for this upcoming year (in no particular order):

I intend to read 24 books this year (2 books x month) – I read 16 books in 2020 so I want to continue that and increase! I think it’s so good at night to close my laptop, put down my phone, and get lost in a new story. I’m looking forward to it!

I intend to eat at home more. I’m starting this month by purchasing meals from Home Chef. The meals look absolutely yummy and I cannot wait to put my chef’s hat on. What seems awesome about this is that each meal (you pick three) come in two servings, so essentially I’ll get six meals for the week. I’ll keep y’all posted on what I think! The first week’s meals will be here on Tuesday!

I intend to intentionally move my body several times a week and can’t wait to get my Peloton on the 16th. I’m committed to 30 minutes 2-3 times a week and will see how I do. I also want to make it clear that I am not doing this to lose weight. It truly is to move more (I was so sedentary in 2020 and that needs to change) and improve my mental health. I always feel better and am honestly nicer and happier once I’ve released some endorphins.

I intend to save three months salary this year. I accomplished that goal in 2020 (and then I bought myself my Chanel bag) and would like to do it again in 2021! I work hard and I’ve realized I need to make my money work hard, too.

I intend to grow this community even more – recommitting to several blog posts a week, asking to be compensated appropriately with brand partnerships, and expanding my lifestyle topics (wellness, cooking, home decor) even more. I dipped my toe into the home and beauty sectors this year and am excited to continue!

Here are my top nine Instagram posts of 2020

We covered a lot of topics on my Instagram this year: body acceptance, my move and home decor, body positivity (especially in swim season), athletic wear on a soft body (thanks Fabletics for continuing to work with me), wore amazing dresses, the election and BLM. I used my voice, I didn’t shy away from tough conversations and although I lost hundreds of followers, I gained a deeper relationship with so many of you! This year was hard, but I’m also grateful as I feel like I’ve grown so much as a human being. I’m looking forward to the inauguration, to getting vaccinated, and to finding another new normal!

So what is my word for 2021?!

ABUNDANCE – we are going BIG this year. So here’s to being abundant in health, wealth, and happiness! That’s really all I have to say about my word of the year at this time and I think I summed it up pretty succinctly LOL.

Thanks for being here for another year!

Xx

10 Popular Items You Bought in 2020

Really excited to review these items and if they’re still available, I will link!

  1. Monogrammed Wallet – How absolutely fabulous is this?! I found this company on Etsy and want to order more items from them! They’re based in the UK so shipping takes about 4 weeks. I got the pink wallet and get SO many compliments. Shop it HERE
  2. Wacoal Red Carpet Strapless Bra – I think this one goes without saying much. Being bigger busted, this is really the only bra that keeps everything in place. Shop it HERE
  3. Knit Set from Anthropologie – This was one of the most popular items this year and I hope that you are LOVING it! These pieces can definitely be worn as separates too, so I’ll continue to share ways to wear it! Shop it HERE
  4. Good American Crop Jeans – There are four places that I shop for jeans and Good American are honestly the best quality. I’ve had some pairs for over 5 years! If you’re looking to not pay full price, Nordstrom Rack has some styles regularly. Shop these HERE
  5. Rachel Parcell Smocked Dress – Y’all loved this dress and I did not sleep on this one as I got it in the Mauve and in the Leopard. Fits great and I think it’s a style you can wear year round! No longer available
  6. The Ever Popular Printed Anthro Top – For two years running, this top has been IT! Thank goodness it’s continually restocked LOL I’ve bought it in three prints and wear it all the time – it’s colorful and full of pattern play! Shop it HERE
  7. The Knee High Boots That FIT!!!! – Best find of 2020?! Probably the OTK boots from Target that actually fit my thick calves and y’all’s too – I got so many messages that they are magic and I definitely agree! Shop them HERE
  8. Flowy Dress – I think we were all shopping more affordably this year and H&M was a huge WIN for me (although that shipping was frustrating, am I right?!). I will still be all about an easy, afforable, and flowy dress going into Spring and Summer! Still available in stripes HERE
  9. OTS Sweater – Another great affordable find! H&M does a great sweater selection! Still available HERE
  10. Plush Blanket – We spent A LOT more time at home this year and a majority of time we were in athleisure, am I right? I can’t decide between my Barefoot Dreams Blanket and this one, which one I like more. Both are so cozy, this one being a more affordable option. Shop it HERE

Thank you for supporting this space here, I hope it’s brought you joy, a laugh, and some great pieces for your closet!

Xx

Q&A: Career Change

Y’all asked so many questions about my job change over on Stories a few weeks ago and I’m finally putting aside some time to answer! If you didn’t know, I used to be a high school English teacher and I left the classroom a little over 3 years ago. I’m now in campus recruiting at a consulting firm and am really happy with my decision, although I was terrified at the time I made that decision. You can read more about that here.

Y’all asked about 50 questions (with some repeats), so I’m going to start with answering the most frequently asked! I hope this gives you some insight and if you are thinking about making a career change, I’m happy to help in any way. Someone asked for resume/cover letter advice and that will have to be its own post lol. I’ve also written a post about interview etiquette that you can find here!

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Q: How long were you a teacher? I taught high school English for three years at a high school in San Antonio. I subbed on and off for a year while taking the Texas teaching exams after wrapping up grad school at Ole Miss. Although I crushed the national teaching exams, Texas makes you take theirs (insert major eye roll here).

Q: Why did you quit teaching? How much time do you have? My last year in the classroom was extremely taxing. My last year teaching I was promoted to department coordinator and was not prepared for the responsibility. I had to move to a different grade level that I hadn’t taught before, I had three inclusion classes. I managed 25 other teachers. I had the worst year professionally (ended up having to talk to the FBI about a situation in my classroom) and personally (my mom’s best friend passed away and my mom and I found her which led to some ptsd issues). I’ve been pretty vague about these situations as it’s difficult, emotionally, to revisit. I’m stronger for these experiences, but I wouldn’t wish what I went through on my worst enemy. When I’m ready to get into the deets, I will.

Q: What were the signs you knew it was time for a change? I loved being a teacher most days. And I thrived in the classroom, in building relationships with my students, in being a apart of their success. Students used to request to have me. What an amazing feeling! I used to love driving to school every morning, jamming out, wondering what shenanigans the day would bring. I told myself that when the number of days I’m dreading going in outnumber the days of joy, that’s the time to make a change. I never thought it would happen, so it felt like I got hit by a bus when that awful year went down.

Q: Do you ever miss the kids? How could I not?! I keep up with SO MANY of them and seeing where they are in the world and the amazing humans they are, it makes my heart so full. To feel like I had some small part in shaping their mindset, their success, their treatment of others, it’s incredible.

Q: Was it terrifying leaving education and entering the corporate world? YES! I literally thought, okay I’m miserable, and need to make a change so what do I do?! In the middle of my terrible year, my apartment lease was up and I ended up moving in with my parents and saving as much money as I could because I knew a change was coming, whether I was ready for it or not.

Q: How hard was it finding a job in a new career? How did you get into this job? Being a teacher, I really didn’t have a LinkedIn built out and that is where I went first. I built out my page, listing out my experience, skills, and connecting with professionals in Houston (where I was moving). I started looking into where I could apply my skills. This included customer relations, sales, social media, etc. There were so many different roles I was looking into! I actually applied to a client relations role at my now company and made it to the final interview, and that was when the Director of Talent came in and dangled a carrot of a talent development role that seemed very enticing based on my experience in the classroom. So I started in the talent development team working with our new hires through their time in the training program and also working with their mentors. I loved it! I had autonomy in my role and really got to help build out the training program. At the same time, I helped out with their campus recruiting team (and got to go back to Ole Miss) and also LOVED that. I got to share what I loved about my company with young people looking for their first job out of school. I’ve grown quite a bit since I started, being promoted twice, and I’m now in a role that didn’t exist. I’m fully in our campus recruiting program and I am our Campus/New Hire Relations Senior Associate focusing on relationships on campus, recruiting, and helping our new hires in their onboarding process. I wear a lot of hats and would not have it any other way!

Q: Did you have other experience besides being a teacher? If no, how did you get a corporate job? I’ve been working since I was 15, so yes! Besides my teaching experience, I worked in restaurants and retail, so a lot of my other experience involved customer service. I even worked in a veterinary office when I was in grad school (AND HAVE WILD STORIES). All experience is experience, y’all. DO NOT sell yourself short!

Q: How did you know what to apply for? Like how do your past skills apply to a new job? Great question! I really thought about my previous experiences and what I’d be passionate about. Skills like classroom management equate to the ability to work with a diverse cross function of multidisciplinary teams to achieve common goals. I’d also say flexibility, organization, creativity, and being results-driven are skills that can be applied universally to different positions!

Q: How did you handle the change from 2 months off in summer to a standard work calendar? It makes me laugh when people ask about summers off as a teacher. Most teachers don’t have summers off. I worked part-time at Free People during the school year and full-time in the summer. One summer I also taught two sessions of summer school. Texas teacher salaries are better than most, but I still needed to do what I could to bring in more money. Shout out to my parents that taught me my work ethic and the meaning of hard work.

Q: How did your first week feel going from school to corporate? Amazing! I felt welcomed, supported, and also that I had no clue what I was doing. I had a mentor that cared about my learning and development though, so I went through our training program (which lasted about 3 months), and I spent a majority of time with the departments I would be supporting.

Q: I feel like this is a 180 from teaching! What prompted that change in direction? Going into talent development first was actually not that big of a leap. And moving into campus recruiting actually was full circle as I was helping my high schoolers get ready for college and now I was helping college grads find their first job out of school!

Q: How hard was it to change to something completely different? It was challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I haven’t looked in the rearview once with regret. I found a happy home at my company. I’m pushed and challenged, but am rewarded for the impact I’ve made and truly love the people I work with!

Q: Do you think it’s permanent? Do you think you’ll change again or go back? I can honestly say I know I will not go back to teaching. The amount of respect I have for those who have continued to show up on a daily basis for their kids is indescribable. Especially this year. My god, I don’t know how they’re doing it. Teaching is one of the most challenging professions in this country and it’s disgraceful how teachers are treated. These teachers, and me when I was in the classroom, devoted our time, energy, money, and lives to ensuring our students were not only doing well academically, but personally, emotionally, physically. Besides teaching, the people that spend the most time with other people’s children play mom, nurse, therapist, social worker. RESPECT YOUR TEACHERS!

Q: What do you do on a day to day basis? Oh gosh, no day is ever the same! I’m focused on recruiting so lots of phone and video interviews! I also work on building relationships with career centers, professors, and students. Then, I’m also focused on our new hire experience so I facilitate new hire onboarding, too! I love that my role is a global role and what I mean by that, is that I get to interact with just about every single person that starts at our company and their teams. I get to be a face for our firm and I’m very proud of that and feel a strong sense of responsibility to do that well.

Q: What other careers are useful with a teaching degree? My biggest piece of advice is not to limit yourself. Here are some common careers though that teachers find themselves in post-teaching: Corporate Training and Development, Social Services, Education Technology, Educational Consultant, Standardized Test Developer, Textbook Author, Life Coach, Career Counseling, Admissions Counselor, Recruiting

Thanks for reading!

Next up in the job series: Resumes/Cover Letters!

I turn 32 today, so here’s 32 fun (yet somewhat useless) facts about me

Here I am, as a toddler on the left, and as a 32 year old just trying to figure out what’s next on the right.

Yelp. Just like that, another birthday is here. What a year 31 has been. Saw some successes at work, saw friends get married (saw friends postpone weddings because of Covid), babies be born, the blog grew. So much to be thankful for, yet it seems that comparison is the thief of joy when we think about timelines. Alex, of Sassy Confetti, and I talk about this quite a bit. That we didn’t think we’d be here at this stage. Single. Childless. Living in an apartment. We put so many pressures on ourselves as women, and we always seem to want what others have, right? I have REALLY worked at letting that go this last year. To be appreciative of the present, to enjoy my independence, but damn, sometimes that reality (loneliness, comparison of timelines, etc.) can knock you on your ass. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t, but we need to be better to ourselves, to each other. Give yourself some grace, give your friend some empathy and a pat on the back, and let’s keep doing life! We’re on nobody’s timeline, but our own, and that looks different than everybody else’s and repeat after me THAT. IS. OKAY.

So here’s my pledge to myself. I’m going to keep working on me. I want to keep growing this space, keep bringing y’all humor, honest reflections, and damn good outfits. I want to continue to work on making financial gains and making an impact at work. I want to do good around my community and show gratitude.

So here’s to ALL OF THAT JAZZ.

Below are some facts about me. Maybe some are new to you, maybe you know me cover to cover, like your favorite book. Either way, maybe we have some things in common!

  1. Favorite flower? I love stargazer lilies and peonies
  2. Last summer I was a bridesmaid for the 12th & 13th time
  3. I am a night owl
  4. Growing up I worked at a bagel shop, I was a restaurant hostess (a few times), I served as an uncertified vet tech, and I also worked at Anthropologie and Free People
  5. I never ate Mac n Cheese until my junior year of college. My friends couldn’t believe it. I ate shells and cheese at a friend’s house in Nashville and was sold.
  6. I went through a major EMO phase in high school. I had a livejournal, wore eyeliner ALL over my eyes, and knew every single word of every single Avril Lavigne song
  7. My middle name is Mae, which is after my great great grandmother Mariah – who everyone called Mae. She came over from Ireland and raised her kids alone after her husband Big Mike was crushed in a boating accident. From what I hear, she was a strong woman.
  8. I HATE condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch – NO WAY!
  9. Favorite tv show of all time? Law & Order
  10. I’m the youngest of three kids – my sister and brother are almost 9 and 8 years older than me, I’m the true baby of the family
  11. I visited 6 countries before I turned 18. Favorites? London, Barcelona, Capri
  12. I’ve had the same best friend since sixth grade
  13. My favorite snack? Goldfish
  14. Need a good soundtrack? Almost Famous, The Big Chill, and Now and Then
  15. I have puppy fever (my rescue dog Gus died last summer), but I travel so much, it wouldn’t be fair to own one.
  16. It would be hard to pick a favorite color at this point in my life, but I love blush or really any pink
  17. Ole Miss is my alma mater. I love the town of Oxford so much and my parents are considering retiring there!
  18. I have VERY BLONDE eyebrows. It honestly used to make my self-conscious, but I’m over that
  19. I get my caffeine kick from Coca-Cola. I have one a day
  20. I moved to Houston almost three years ago (July 14th will make three years)
  21. Favorite food? Short ribs and pasta
  22. I love the beach, but honestly hate sand
  23. I think my first big girl purchase was my Gucci bag with the pearl detailing. Y’all see me carry that pretty thing everywhere and she’s my go-to bag when I go anywhere dressed up.
  24. I studied English and Education at Ole Miss and then stayed two extra years to get a Master’s in Counseling.
  25. I was born in Chicago, grew up in Texas, and went to school in Mississippi – I have a weird accent
  26. I do a pretty good Nancy Grace impression
  27. It’s not uncommon to see my Instagram feed full of pretty dresses, but I also love wearing off the shoulder tops
  28. I left public education and now work in recruiting for a consulting firm
  29. I always tend to overpack and prefer to check my luggage, although I hate waiting at the carousel after a flight
  30. I don’t drink coffee. Never have, never will.
  31. I can only wear block heels or wedges after twisting my ankle years ago. I don’t love wearing flats when getting dressed up.
  32. I am so happy I started my blog three years ago and have met so many amazing people – including YOU, if you’re reading this. Thanks for making it this far 😉

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Liza Mae

So They Want To Interview You…

I thought I would do something a little different today rather than my usual outfit post, and I hope it provides some value to you or someone you know.

I think a lot of you know that I spent several years in the classroom before taking a leap and landing in Houston. Almost three years ago, I started working at a consulting firm and I now focus on their campus recruiting! Talking to young people about starting their careers post-graduation is so rewarding (and also feels full-circle as I was helping my 11th graders work on getting into college). Unfortunately 73% of 2020 grads wrapped up their college career this month without having a job lined up. A lot of people have lost jobs, been furloughed, and are having to pivot away from industries that they spent years in. I can certainly understand that it feels like a grim time to be job-searching.

In February, I got the chance to go back to my alma mater, Ole Miss, and give a quick lecture on selling yourself as top talent (and pitching my awesome firm). So whether you’re graduating from college (CONGRATULATIONS!) or are trying to find something, I’m sharing a few key takeaways from my presentation.

  • Prepare – research the company and the role. Know why you’re interested and how you’d be able to contribute. DO NOT say “I’ll really take anything right now”. Explain how you’re the right person for THIS SPECIFIC JOB.
  • Be able to speak about yourself – A common question you’re going to get during an interview is “Tell me about yourself”. Don’t just give a schpeel regurgitating your resume, don’t have something scripted (it sounds cold and impersonal). Talk about YOU! Yes, highlight your work experience, but share interests, where you grew up, why you got into x industry. Let your personality shine!
  • Give specific examples – When asked those questions like, “Tell me about a time when…”, get specific. Have you heard of the STAR method? See below:
    • Situation – introduce the situation and give the recruiter some context
    • Task – describe the task you had to complete and the challenges you encountered
    • Action – explain what you did and how you did it
    • Results – share the outcome of your efforts, what quantifiable results did you have?
  • Confidence, Communication, and Engagement – Be proud of the work you’ve done, be clear and concise in your answers, and show your EXCITABILITY for the opportunity.
  • Ask Important Questions – and no, I don’t mean salary and benefits. Here are some questions that should be relevant to you:
    • How would you describe the company culture?
    • What are the opportunities for growth? Timeline for growth?
    • What do you enjoy about the company?
    • What are the challenges new hires face in this role?

Again, I hope this was helpful and I’m wishing you the best in your job search!

Xx

A Love Story with Julie Vos

Our latest pieces were gifted by Julie Vos, opinions my own

Hey friends and happy Saturday!

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Y’all know I’m an accessories queen and I can’t help myself when I see a pretty bauble. I’ve been OBSESSED with Julie Vos jewelry for years and started adding small pieces to my collection a little over five years ago (I would scour the website for hours during sales). I first heard of JV through my mom who started asking for pieces for her birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. As my dad’s right hand gal for all things presents (otherwise known as his secret shopper), my mom has built quite the collection over the years. We even gift my Gram pieces, too. Julie Vos pieces are honestly amazing, from the dainty to the statement making, they’re quality pieces that you’ll treasure for always!

I’m not sure if you remember that my mom and I got to meet Julie and her team in NYC in December and I’m honestly so grateful to have built a great relationship with a great brand. We’re doing an IGTV over on Instagram this afternoon sharing our fave Julie pieces and our newest additions. Be sure to check it out!

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Putting my pieces below for you to shop from (click the link below the photos)!

My Newest Additions:

Shop: Savannah Hinge Cuff in Iridescent Rose, Peacock Earrings in Iridescent Rose, Calypso Ring in Iridescent Rose (size 7), Calypso Bangles in Clear Crystal and Iridescent Rose (I wear a small in these bangles)

Liza’s JV Cult Classic Faves:

Shop: Catalina Bracelet, Olympia Bracelet, Honey Stacking Ring, Cascade Trio Bangles, Verona Solitaire Necklace, Gardenia Hoops, Cascade Hoops, Catalina Statement Ring

Xx

So you’re feeling overwhelmed…

Hi friends. Let’s chat.

The news of coronavirus spreading, the unknowns about work and school, concerns about our health, our families, and the economic impact is enough to make any sane person want to shut down. Please don’t let the fear win. We are releasing cortical into our bodies with every anxious thought. Do not get me wrong though.

FEEL YOUR FEELS, PEOPLE! We have to acknowledge what is happening. But for our sanity, our well-being, and our future, we have to also focus on some things that are giving us some laughs, making us smile, or are simply taking our mind off things for a while.

Here are some ideas to bring some happy into your weekend:

  • Bake – if you’ve got the ingredients, go ahead and make yourself a sweet treat. I’m in San Antonio this weekend and I think I’m going to ask my dad to make us some oatmeal cookies. His are honestly perfect. I also think if you want to get a lil extra, make some sea salt chocolate chip cookies. These honestly look delish and the recipe seems pretty easy! There’s also tips if you need to alternative ingredients!
  • Meditate – I still keep in touch with one of my favorite teachers of all time, Deborah Livingston. She taught me 11th grade AP English and she’s overall a calm and cool baddy who is now retired and teaches meditation. You can follow her on Insta: @djlivingston51 – she knows that I’ve struggled with anxiety and will send me different meditation tips. Including one she shared with me for LovingKindness here:
    • May you have happiness and the causes of happiness; may you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering; may you never be parted from freedom’s true joy; may you dwell in equanimity free from attachment and aversion
    • Deborah also told me that if you’re wondering how to begin meditation: take a seat, place hands palms down on the thighs, place the mind of the breath over and over and over. The easiest place to be aware of the breath is the end of the nose, feel the arising, abiding, and dissolving of each breath. This leads to strength, clarity, and stability, which manifests as calm, peaceful abiding.
  • Play a game – our family is a big fan of Scrabble. Our competitive sides really come out when this game is brought to the table. We always have a lot of laughs, too. One time my dad tried to use “babydeer” as his word. I’m laughing out loud as I type this. We were HYSTERICAL. Prime will get it to you in a few hours lol
  • Go for a walk – if you’re comfortable being outdoors and not compromised, then put on your sneakers and get out there for 30 minutes. Some fresh air may do you some good. If you’re not comfortable just being out in the wide world, then sit in your backyard, or on your balcony. We need the sunshine. Vitamin D. It’s a thing and it can help with moodiness. For real.
  • Treat yo’self – It’s no secret that our economy is hurting. Stocks have plummeted, restaurants are closing up shop, and pretty much every site is having a sale. Now don’t go overboard, but give yourself something to look forward to. Like getting a new lipstick from Sephora or a swimmie for when we can all be in a pool or on a beach together again. Loving this suit and may have purchased!
  • Read – I’m reading more for fun than I have in the last few years! This is so helping me relax at night before bed and I’m not staring at the blue screen of my phone or laptop. I just finished this book and am about to start this one!
  • Binge a show – I love a good binge session. I LOVE UK shows and Broadchurch and The Stranger are two that I’d recommend!
  • Journal – write a short story, write how you’re feeling, make a to-do list. The mind has a tendency to overstimulate during times like these. From clickbait stories to opinions from everyone and anyone, we’re inundated with A LOT of information right now. Mind dump that stuff on a page with some written word. I bet you’ll feel a little bit better after doing it.
  • Make a Tik Tok account – Honestly I can watch Tik Tok for hours. You select the categories you’re interested in and it starts showing you videos. I am addicted and am thinking I should try making one and see what happens?!
  • Rest – I think this goes back to overstimulation, but take a nap, put your phone down, get a good night’s sleep. You are not good to yourself or others if you’re running on E. Give yourself permission to turn it off and recharge your batteries.

We can get through this, y’all.

As my mom says, LOVE YOU, MEAN IT!

 

The Decluttering Post You’ve Been Waiting For…

The Decluttering Post You’ve Been Waiting For…

It’s finally up, y’all!

As many of you know, I made an intention at the beginning of the year to really deep clean my space. I’ve been living in Houston for 2.5 years now and in my studio apartment for the last year and a half. To say I’ve accumulated a lot would be an understatement. If you’re looking for ways to make big (and small) changes to your space, and mind I’ve got the list for you!

  • Take everything out of your closet. Comb through it all. Clean the space (get those dust bunnies gone)! When hanging the clothes that you’re keeping, keep in mind the item type and then group by color
  • Repeat the above but substitute closet for dresser. Bras that don’t fit? If they’re still in good shape, DONATE. If they aren’t? TOSS! No one wants your bad bras, y’all. NO ONE. Same goes for socks. That is foul.
  • Your purses. Clean them all out. Toss out those irrelevant receipts, group your hair ties together, and reassign your chapsticks to different bags. It’ll feel so good to have a fresh bag!
  • Update your phone. Just do it. Contacts (clean them out!). Apps (group them and delete unused ones).
  • The junk drawer. Again, group things together. Extra keys. Contracts and agreements (rentals, car, etc.). Stamps and tape. My drawer has never looked better!
  • Your fridge and kitchen cabinets. Throw out expired food (Seriously. What is the oldest thing in your fridge or cabinet?? I bet you’ll surprise yourself with what you find haha).
  • The coat closet. Similar to your regular closet, group your items by style and then by color (vests, jackets, coats). Because my space is so small (but with high ceilings) – I’m able to put the Christmas tree up on the shelf. Yep, I’m making it work in 600 square feet haha
  • The bathroom drawers, cabinets, and under the sink. I bought a bunch of small bins to help organize ALL THE THINGS. I grouped it by makeup, lotion/fake tan lotion, hair care, skin care, medicine/vitamins, etc. It’s already made getting ready in the morning a breeze and it’s only been two days.

Here are some of the products that have made the biggest different in my decluttering/organizing plan of 2020:

Shop: Jewelry Organizer, Round Acrylic Containers, Acrylic Makeup Container, Large Rattan Basket, Small Rattan Baskets, Small Plastic Bins, Velvet Hangers 

I hope you found this helpful!

I was able to throw away three trash bags, donate three bags, and sold a handful of stuff on Posh! It was a great way to get 2020 started on the right foot.

Cheers!

A Different Kind of Transformation

Friends. We need to continue our conversation from last night on Stories. It’s after midnight and my head is racing after my dinner chat about my relationship with food and how many of y’all said that you were in the same boat. I thought I’d dive in a little deeper here and share what’s on my heart.

So. Here we go.

I have had a TUMULTUOUS relationship with food pretty much my whole life. I am, without a doubt, the pickiest eater I know. I acted like every day was a “Treat Yo’self” kind of day. I worked at a bagel shop in high school and at a restaurant as a hostess. Although I had food readily at my fingertips, I’d also stop by Wendy’s or Sonic on my way home for my 4th meal of the day. And I’d hide the evidence from my family, finding a garbage can before going home.

Fast forward to college and it was a rollercoaster of pounds. Coming on (freshman 20 was v real for me) and coming off. The summer between junior and senior year was when I decided to get a “handle on my weight”. This entailed starting to work out, go for walks after class, and watching what I ate. Some weight came off and I thought, okay, let’s keep going. I bought a scale and started weighing myself every day. I went on medication that suppressed my appetite and restricted my calorie count. I also amped up the workouts to two hours a day and go for a walk around my college town. I got down to a size 6. Everyone was telling me how good I looked and I LOVED IT. I’ve always been confident in my own skin, but I was finally being seen (even if I was tired and anxious all the time) and I felt valued. How disheartening for me. That I put so much of my worth behind what my body looked like in the mirror.

I kept this up for almost two years and ended up not being able to sleep for days on end. This was also in part to being in grad school and the pressure I put on myself (but that’s another story for another day). My anxiety got so bad that I had to go on anti-anxiety meds, and although I looked like I was an “average” size and weight, I wasn’t nourishing my body. I was depriving it. I had developed poor eating behaviors by being so restrictive.

At this point, and many years later, the pendulum has swung far the other way. And honestly I feel damned if I do and damned if I don’t. I’ve been feeding my body junk because it was easy and convenient. I comfort myself by eating. Happy, sad, stressed. Whatever. I have to be better to me. I set an intention this year of making better decisions for my bank account and my body. Making dinner at home Monday through Thursday and it’s been going well. I’m trying some new things and it’s become pretty fun. I still love Whataburger and will probably treat myself this weekend. And you know what? That’s a-okay!

What’s the point in me sharing this? Well, here’s what I’ve learned. What we eat and how we treat ourselves cannot be an all or nothing mentality. The shame and guilt I felt at 21, when I broke my resolution to eat under 600 calories a day, was overwhelming and I am strong enough to not let myself go there again. I’m more mature now and see how there can be better decisions made to serve me more; more balance to be achieved, and more overall wellness to be had.

The girl on the left, although it may appear as such, is no more happy than the girl on the right. Both are confident, strong, and funny (if I do say so myself). How sad that this 21 year old on the left didn’t know what the 31 year on the right knows now. Your weight and the size on your dress tag DO NOT determine your health, your worth, or your happiness. I’ll say it again louder for the folks in the back…
Thanks for reading. I hope this resonated.

Hey There! Welcome to the 20’s! 2020, that is!

FRIENDS! First, hi, how are you?! Thanks for stopping by my little space on the interwebs today. Can you BELIEVE we are in a new decade, let alone a new year?! I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

I, for one, am so excited about a new decade. This last one taught me so much. It saw me through major wins like graduating from undergrad and grad school, starting what I thought was my dream job, and finding myself making a big career shift and city move at 28. It saw me through celebrating my friends as they embarked on marriages and babies and loss and grief as I said goodbye to toxic relationships. It saw me through moments of joy, moments of sadness, and so much GROWTH.

I will say I am ready for a new decade of me and at my age (31) people put so much pressure on themselves that they should be married, have kids, be homeowners. I’m not anywhere near that and this last decade really challenged me to think about what I want. I really don’t play the comparison game, but it’s hard to see so much happening for others and not think, well, what’s wrong with me that I don’t have these things?

You know what I do have though? Community. I’ve made my own little community here at That Blonde Rebel. And stability. Since starting my new career 2.5 years ago in Corporate America, I’ve been promoted twice and am proud of the work I’ve done. I do think I have worked my tail off, both at work and at the blog, and it sometimes feels like I can’t catch my breath.

On that note, I have picked my word for 2020.

F O C U S.

I want to focus this year on continuing to grow both at work and at the blog, getting back on my wellness train, and growing my finances.

I talked about this last year, but I don’t think setting resolutions is good for our psyche. There’s all this pressure we put on ourselves and the feeling of disappointment is overwhelming when we don’t accomplish or meet those resolutions. Instead, I call my goals INTENTIONS instead. These are things I want to do, I intend to do. So here they are, in no particular order:

I want to quit doubting myself.

I want to learn how to integrate work and life better.

I want to try to dance more. For fun. I MISS IT!

I want to have more dollars in the bank! My goal is to save three months worth of salary this year. Emma, from Emma’s Edition, broke it down. You add up three months of salary and divide by 12. That number equals the dollars you need to save each month to get there.

I want to start restyling my clothing items for y’all. This will also help with the above so I’m not just cycling through clothes for the sake of showing NEW NEW NEW. It’s too much. I hope y’all will appreciate how I show how something can be worn a couple times.

I want to continue to be a source of humor, clothing/color inspiration, advice giver, and friend to all of you!

I’m going to stop eating out so much. I am so guilty of stopping for fast food on the way home from work. I need to start putting easy options in my kitchen for quick dinners. Do y’all have any great recipes I should try?

I want to be more joyful and easy-going in 2020. Believe it or not, I’m a pretty structured person who needs to have all her ducks in a row. While that is great and I can’t really change my DNA, I’d like to be more in the moment.

Here’s to these intentions and my F O C U S in 2020!

I’m looking forward to all that is to come this year and in the coming decade.

Cheers!

Xx