High High Hopes

Happy New Year! I’d say, “I can’t believe it’s 2019!” but we say that every year. I can believe it’s 2019. I can’t believe I have to deal with another presidential race when it seems like the last one isn’t even over, but I can believe that another year passed and I’m thankful that I made it through relatively unscathed. In 2018 I voted, stood up for my beliefs no matter what, finally went to Europe (no big deal) and fought through mental illness to finish a grad program and finally find a job. This is the first year of my life where January 1 has actually felt like a fresh start.

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I find resolutions challenging, because making them, you seem to set yourself up for failure. When you fail your diet, your exercise regimen, or your shopping halt, it’s not a great feeling. So instead of strict rules this year, I’m writing a list of things I will encourage myself to do and be mindful about not doing. That’s it! I’m just going to think before I act. Pretty simple—something we tell little children to do, but something that gets lost in the shuffle of adulthood sometimes. So here are my 2019 guidelines—saving money, spending time more intentionally, taking care of myself, and being grateful.

Goals for 2019

The DOs

  1. Do work out. The most basic New Year’s Resolution. But I have a gym membership to a really nice gym and I really love it there. I no longer have the excuse of having a really physical/active job, so I can’t wait to commit to yoga and running again! I want to do yoga twice a week (Thursday nights and Saturday mornings) and I want to be able to run 5 miles by the end of the year (not holding my breath on this one).
  2. Do be kind to myself. This is the first season of my life where my accomplishments feel tangible. School is over. Service industry work is over (for now and hopefully forever). I’ve got a diagnosis and proper medication for the first time. I feel inspired to push myself beyond my limits, but I need to remember that it took so much work to get where I am, and I deserve to enjoy this.
  3. Do keep writing. I’ve written more (creatively) in the past week than I have in the past like ten years. I feel like I’ve found myself again. I’m already getting good feedback from friends. It feels like what I’m meant to do.
  4. Do finish what I start and use what I have. I posted my 2019 reading list yesterday, so first and foremost, I’m finishing that. Also, I want to watch everything in my Netflix queue. At least every movie (sometimes series are too much of a commitment. There’s so much great content out there! But books and movies are just one aspect—2019 is going to be a year of appreciating and enjoying what I already have instead of seeking new things.
  5. Do protect the earth. I’m not bad when it comes to the environment. I drive a small, fuel-efficient car, we recycle everything, and we do our best to not use plastic. But ordering online, even if all of the packaging is recyclable, is still bringing more waste into my home. I don’t think twice about grabbing a paper towel or single-use disinfectant cloth. I bought these microfiber cloths to use instead of paper towels, I used up all of my non-natural cleaning products, and I’m going into 2019 with a mission to use less. I can buy a head of broccoli instead of pre-cut florets in a plastic bag. The earth is more important than a few minutes of my time.

The DON’Ts

  1. Don’t buy clothes. I’m serious! I just got soooooo much new stuff from all of my favorite shops, and I want to live in them for a while. After the holidays, and the much rejoicing after having found a new job, I absolutely cannot afford a single additional garment. Not to mention I have zero room to store it! I’m sending out a few enormous boxes to thredUP, donating bras and extra sanitary items to I Support the Girls, and then being grateful for what I already have.
  2. Don’t buy handbags. This should be obvious, from the last category, but I have a handbag problem. I have so many I can’t give them away fast enough. Being friends with me is a trial, I’m sure, but the benefit is that you will likely get a brand new designer handbag at least once a year. Handbags are status symbols—having a nice one has always made me feel like I was presenting the aspirational version of myself to the world. But bitch, I am the aspirational version of myself. This year, I invested in some high-quality leather bags and (mostly) said goodbye to the labels.
  3. Don’t eat meat and dairy. I didn’t put this under the DOs, because “Do go vegan” is a larger commitment than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle, one I admire immensely, but not one I can undertake at this time. Not eating meat will be pretty easy—I’m already doing that—but cutting out cheese will be hard. A. Because I have an entire container of herb chèvre and caramelized onion cheddar in my fridge from my NYE apps, and B. Because I have a husband to feed. He’s enthusiastic about cleaner eating (he’s stricter about meat than I am!), but he leads a healthy life already and he deserves a treat! The meat and dairy industries are horrible for the environment and just devastatingly cruel to animals. I have to put my money where my mouth is.
  4. Don’t boredom-shop at Target. This is a killer for me. I can’t remember the last time I went to Target for an actual reason. There’s something about living in suburbia, or the post-college friend diaspora, which makes me feel really alone sometimes. “Running an errand,” in more depressed times, gave me an excuse to get up, shower, get dressed, and leave the house. But I can do better! I can go for a walk in the warmer months. I can make an effort to spend more time with my friends. I can find ways to motivate myself without spending money or inviting more waste into my life.
  5. Don’t look back. I mean, I’m writing a collection of personal essays, so I kind of have to look back for material. But I don’t have to dwell on the sins of the past. Considering myself a failure because I’m at a place in my career I feel I should have been in five years ago is not productive. I can work hard and kick ass to make up for lost time, but wallowing over how unfair the world has been to me is pointless. In 2019 I’m not holding grudges (against anyone except every member of the Republican party), and I’m keeping my eye on the prize—happiness.

I’m ready to crush 2019.

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New Year’s Revolutions

My husband is a music teacher, and he recently asked one of his favorite students to write down a list of “New Year’s Music Resolutions.” When she came back, she presented him with her “New Year’s Revolutions,” which he corrected, but found oddly moving. When he told me about this, I was moved too—the idea of a ten-year-old girl starting a revolution felt extremely timely and appropriate. So this year, in addition to my resolutions (no drinking, more sleep, better study habits, etc), I’m making a list of revolutions.

  1. Attend a goddamn protest. My excuse last year was that I worked weekends, so I didn’t have the free time to go show my support for the Women’s March, Science March, etc. I was in California at the time of the badass August protest in Boston, so I was extra unavailable. But now? I have weekends off. There was no defensible reason that I wasn’t at the anniversary of the Women’s March over last weekend. The actual reason? I didn’t even know it was happening until I saw people’s IG posts. I know I’m in a grad school bubble, but I passionately care about these issues, and need to hit the streets to show my support. Throwing occasional money at causes isn’t the same as showing up and fighting. No more slacktivism in 2018.
  2. Buy all organic. Time to put my money where my mouth is. The only way to increase demand for natural, local, and organic foods is to literally increase demand for them. Even though, to quote my ex-boyfriend’s tweet, there’s “no ethical consumption under capitalism,” we can at least fucking try. It’s great that a carton of eggs is 89 cents, but it won’t kill me to buy the cage-free. And it’s not more expensive to buy organic! I mean, per unit, maybe, but you’d be amazed at how much you save when you stop buying processed foods and start buying whole.
  3. Believe in myself. I know this sounds wicked stupid, but for me, a depressive, possible-ADHD-sufferer and probable codependent, believing in myself is a radical, political act. The idea that I deserve a happiness and a good life is an entirely foreign concept to me. When you’re 26 and in grad school, you get asked what you’re going to do with your life constantly, and my answer thus far has been a giant question mark. Not because I don’t want a bright future, but because I’ve never had hopes, dreams, or goals. I didn’t believe that I could. This year, I’m going to write a script, look for internships, keep this blog going, and work on myself in therapy. Being a mess is not “cute” or “creative.” It’s weak.
  4. Curb my spending and shop local. Refer back to the “no ethical consumption under capitalism” notion. In my heart of hearts, I am a lil’ socialist, but in my habits I am basically a corporate monster. I believe in universal basic income, health care, and education, but do literally nothing to work towards those outcomes. “Shopping local” isn’t exactly socialist, but when my money supports local businesses in my community, or women-owned businesses, I feel less shame about parting with it. Why do I have a Starbucks gold card when my local coffee shop has way better coffee (and a way better points system)? Now, to kick the Amazon habit…
  5. Go minimal. This goes along with #4—I DO NOT NEED SO MUCH STUFF. I know I’m in the “accumulation” phase of life—newly married, young, building my identity, yadda yadda yadda—but who ever said that being an adult meant being inundated with THINGS? I’ve been donating and consigning clothes with thredUP, selling my old textbooks on Amazon, and bringing my housewares and miscellaneous items to charity shops. My aspirational self is one that has a capsule wardrobe and lives a Marie Kondo/Swedish Death Cleaning-approved life, but one step at a time.
  6. Speak up. In the current political climate, I’m afraid to use my voice. Not here, or screaming into the Twitter void, but in person. I hate bringing up the subject of politics in conversation, unless I know the affiliation of the persons present. I hate conflict, and it seems that people on the, well, wrong side of history, have very loud, aggressive voices. Since they support him, and the general shadiness of the current incarnation of the GOP, they aren’t amenable to reason. I can’t argue, because they’ve abandoned all logic. My goal for 2018 is to be an ally, and speak up when I hear ignorant people use racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic (Jesus Christ this list is long) language and not back down in the face of dissent. POC, LGBTQ folx, and every other person who is marginalized by the current system deserve better than my meek support and retweets.

Fight the power!

xoxo,

c

Gratitude: Blog Lovin’

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to express more gratitude. I’m a perfectionist who has trouble living in the moment, so taking daily stock of the little things in life that make each day a little prettier and brighter helps me to stay grounded. I have so much to be grateful for! I’m even letting myself end the previous sentence with a preposition, because 2018 me is super #chill.

This week, I’m highlighting ten blogs that I follow, some religiously, some occasionally, that inspire me to use my voice.

A Beautiful Mess

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No surprises here, right? I’ve been following ABM almost daily for about 5 years. Their whimsical, colorful aesthetic has been a huge influence on how I’ve styled my own home. I’ve tried a ton of their recipes and DIYs (I’ll link a few below). ABM has inspired me to bring more life and color into my home.

These ladies are prolific! Check out their product line, their glasses collection, their e-courses, their cookbook, and their camera bag collab!

DIYs &c. I’ve tried:

Photo Ledge DIY, Vegetarian Tikka Masala, Eggplant Parm Meatballs, Cinnamon Spice Sugar Scrub, Macrame Room Divider, Creamy White Sauce, Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Veggie Soup, Face Oil, and so many more!

Follow if you love: recipes, home décor, DIYs, crafts, photography

The Band Wife

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This is the personal blog of Laura from A Beautiful Mess. Laura’s aesthetic and style in particular are closest to mine, and she’s a fellow cat mama, so when I discovered her blog, it became an instant bookmark. Her husband plays guitar for Mutemath and tours a ton, which is the impetus behind the blog name. My husband doesn’t tour, but being a musician’s wife is definitely…unique. Us band wives gotta stick together!

Bonus points for all the kitty and baby content!

Follow if you love: style, home décor, DIYs, babies, cats

The Larson House

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This is the personal blog of Elsie from A Beautiful Mess. It’s where she chronicled her heartbreakingly long adoption process and blogs about the joys of her new daughter, Nova. The Larsons’ adoption story has brought me to tears on more than a few occasions…adoption is one of the most beautiful and selfless things a person can do!

Follow if you love: personal posts

Almost Makes Perfect

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Minimalist aesthetic? Neutral tones? Excellent graphic design? Check, check, and check. Almost Makes Perfect is a destination for great DIYs, home decor, and gorgeous printables. I even have one of her rap lyric Valentines up as an art print in my house!

Follow if you love: home décor, minimalism, personal posts, DIYs

New Darlings

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I’ll admit it—I’m super jealous of Christina and Robert’s lives. They’re jet-setting bloggers based in Phoenix, AZ, who have the most gorgeous aesthetic and sweetest pup. Show me your ways!

Follow if you love: home décor, style, beauty, travel, photography

Man Repeller

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Technically, Man Repeller isn’t a blog anymore, although it started that way. It is a fully-fledged, awesome fashion, lifestyle, and beauty site that is #goals for any blogger. I mean, Leandra, the creator, goes to like, Paris Fashion Week. So aspirational. MR is one of my favorite sites on the whole wide internet, so much so that I actually just submitted a piece!

Follow if you love: fashion, beauty, humor writing, silly horoscopes

Sucré Style

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Stacy King (of Sucré, formerly of Eisley) barely ever posts, but the aesthetic when she does is marvelous. Fun fact, I went to a bar in Atlanta based solely on one of her gorgeous posts. Talk about an influencer! Her entire wardrobe is goals, and she has the cutest little fam.

Sucré (the band) released a single today, so go listen to it!

Visit her band’s website, and if you get a chance to see them live, DO IT.

Follow if you love: style, personal posts

Skunkboy

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Alright, fine. This is another blogger I discovered through ABM. Katie is (was?) one of the staff writers for ABM, and has a collab line with BonLook. Skunkboy Blog is where she chronicles the goings-on of her sweet fam, DIYs, and her adorable handmade “creatures.”

Follow if you love: personal posts, sewing, crafts, DIYs, vintage

dum doceo

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dum doceo is the personal blog of my dear friend Annie, a teacher and all-around badass. She’s debuting the blog at the end of the month—don’t miss it!

P.S. “Dum doceo” is Latin for “while I teach.” Annie is really freaking smart, and remembers way more about AP Latin than I do.

Follow if you love: education, personal posts, professional writing

Not Really Oxford Women

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And last but certainly not least, my own side project! My friend Annie (of dum doceo) and I recently applied to study abroad in Oxford this summer, and we’ve started a blog about the whole experience!

Follow if you love: travel, photography

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What blogs inspire you, dear reader?

xoxo,

c