Shop til you drop


I’ll be linking up with Jenni this month for her Blogtember series. Today’s prompt: Share links to your favorite online shops, preferably with a few photos of your favorite items in each shop.

Straight and to the point today. Enjoy!

The Bauble Department is a new find of mine, but I love the girlishness and simplicity of her jewelry. She’s about to head out on a sailing adventure, so go get to know Allison here..AFTER you shop her store:

BaubleDept1Mint green adventure gemstone: $68BaubleDept2Sterling silver aqua quartz bracelet: $39

Then there’s Anita, my Philadelphia girl. I’d be happy with anything and everything from her Etsy shop, TexturedINK. Especially all of the travel-related stuff.

TexturedINK2This customizable world map to mark our travels? Yes please. $30  TexturedINK1A set of 3 urban landscapes–how do I choose just 3!?! $47 TexturedINK3 I couldn’t have said it better myself: $26

Another favorite shop is AlbieDesigns. I love her quirky and fun take on urban landscapes.

AlbieDesigns1This Richmond, VA one has always been one of my favorites. $30 AlbieDesigns2 The husband and I got engaged in Florence, Italy, so this one always makes me smile too: $35

This shop is always all over the blogosphere, but the prints just scream happiness and fun!

Wheatfield1You are loved. $18 Wheatfield2 And this one reminds me of my favorite childhood toy, a Lite-Brite: $30

ArtMod offers textured, bold paintings that always draw me in. They are loud and somewhat opposite of my personality and usual taste, but I love them.  Wild Poppies: $295

ArtMod1 ArtMod2 Pink blossoms: $295

Finally, don’t these robes from JustCottons look like the most fun and comfortable things ever? They’d be great for yourself, a nursing or pregnant mother, or an entire wedding party! JustCottons2 JustCottons1 JustCottons3That’s my round up of shops I love! Ready, set, shop!

Two Roads Diverged


I’ll be linking up with Jenni this month for her Blogtember series. Today’s prompt: Describe a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

Robert Frost said it best:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Except, I didn’t. I didn’t take the road less traveled by, I took the safe route. You see, I wanted to join the Peace Corps after college. I love to travel, I love adventure, I love other cultures. I really wanted to learn a language. And I knew they wanted people interested in health- and I was. I applied. I interviewed. And then I waited. For some reason…doubt that I’d get accepted, maybe…I applied to graduate school too. See, I’m a planner. An INTJ, as we learned yesterday. I’m practical. And I felt like I was putting my eggs all in one basket. Peace Corps wasn’t guaranteed. There were still health physicals to pass. Paperwork to gather. And the financial collapse was starting. Jobs were scarce and Peace Corps was becoming more popular, and more competitive. So, I applied to graduate school. I got accepted to graduate school. And I waited some more. My heart wanted Peace Corps. But the silence wasn’t a good sign. So, one day, I finally picked up the phone and called my recruiter to check up on my status. He was equally baffled that I hadn’t heard anything yet, so he said he’d look into things and call me back. I figured I’d be waiting a few more days. He called back 15 minutes later. I had passed the interview, but he had failed to actually submit my paperwork. He promised me he had just submitted it and I was good to go. I was thrilled. But there was bad news. They wouldn’t have any openings for another 8 months.

This was April. Most of my friends were graduating and starting jobs in June. I had graduated in December and was working a few part-time jobs while waiting to learn what my next step would be. I had already been waiting for 4 months. And now I would have to wait for 8 more months!? Again, as we learned yesterday, I’m not patient. I couldn’t just work part-time jobs for 8 months. (Yes, in retrospect, I realize I could have. And maybe I should have. But that didn’t feel like the smart or “practical” move at the time).

Leading up to this time..to finally learning I HAD been accepted into the Peace Corps, but now I would have to wait, there had been an unusually high numbed of deaths in Peace Corps. And I felt like this was just one more sign (the first being that my paperwork didn’t get submitted when it should have) that maybe this wasn’t my time. I had gotten into UCLA. A great school for my degree. I had never lived out west. And I kept seeing signs EVERYWHERE that were calling me to UCLA. For example, a girl I worked with, but didn’t really know, was from LA and moving back home and looking for a roommate. I went shopping in Urban Outfitters one day, and on the east coast, they had UCLA shirts. They were the ONLY college shirts in the store. IN a college town. ON the east coast. It just felt like things for UCLA were falling into place.

And so I chose. I chose UCLA. I put my dream of Peace Corps on hold. I went to LA. And I lived at the beach. And I made amazing friends. And did things I never dreamed of doing. And I fell in love. DSC_0728 DSC_0660 37553_937308988168_5003894_n 3162_609913062417_6326937_nI met amazing women that I would end up traveling the world with. I made career decisions that have gotten me to where I am today. I tried new things (coffee, running, yoga!), and I learned to live on my own, away from my family and friends, just as I would have if I had joined the Peace Corps.

…but man, do I sometimes wish I had taken that other road less traveled. The more people I meet who have done Peace Corps, the more my regrets grow. I’ve tried to convince my husband to go with me. But he’s not ready. So maybe it’s my new retirement dream. Maybe down the road I WILL get to take that road less traveled.

But until then, the road I did travel, well, it wasn’t too shabby either. And in many ways, IT has made all the difference.

INTJ


I’ll be linking up with Jenni this month for her Blogtember series. Today’s prompt: Take this short personality test and respond to your results.

I’ve taken this quiz a few times, but the outcome never changes.

  • You have distinctive preference of Introversion over Extraversion (67%)
  • You have moderate preference of Intuition over Sensing (38%)
  • You have marginal or no preference of Thinking over Feeling (1%)
  • You have strong preference of Judging over Perceiving (78%)

First descriptor: To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. Maybe someone who’s not an INTJ would find this flattering, but I think it makes me sound like cocky, arrogant b$*#@%. I was blessed with a family that loved me without question, and so I would agree that I have a higher than average self-confidence. That said, I am “definite” about pretty much nothing. I feel like I live in areas of gray. While the description goes on to discuss that INTJ’s may be an expert in a lot of areas, I can assure I am an expert of none (except maybe eating ice cream). I am definitely very aware of, especially in my work life, what I don’t know and what I can’t do. 

Second descriptor: INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. As an adult, perfectionist I am not. As a child, most definitely. I was as type-A as they come. A tightly wound mess of anxiety. But somewhere along the way, I learned that the world didn’t end if I wasn’t perfect. It just kept spinning. The second part is interesting too because while I am certainly a life-long learner (e.g. I love learning new things. All. The. Time.), I am an expert in nothing.

A third descriptor: INTJs are known as the “Systems Builders”…INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be “slacking,” including superiors, will lose their respect — and will generally be made aware of this. This was is exceptionally true. I’m not perfect, nor do I expect anyone else to be. But I do expect everyone to contribute effort to the project. And I am terrible at hiding my annoyance with people. I try to be tactful in my constructive criticisms, but I’ve certainly still got a lot to learn.

Descriptor 4: Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Out of everything, this describes me the most accurately. I am terrible a small talk. In fact, I once got a review from a supervisor that told me I needed to learn how to “shoot the shit” if I was ever going to have a successful career. I hated dating (e.g. flirtation and small talk). Hated it so much, I never really did it. When I knew what (or who) I wanted, I went after it. I didn’t want to play games. If I had feelings for someone, I told them (hello, confidence). If they had feelings for me too, great. If not, I would try to get my feelings to move on. I am also very private, which is part of the reason I started this blog. To be more open– to opportunities, to people, to life.

Basically, when I read the description of my personality, I would hate to be friends with me. Maybe ESFP’s feel that way about themselves too? The test definitely hits some nails on the head (my self-confidence and lack of patience). That said, I think I’m a nice person– and far more tolerant of people of ALL types than this describes me to be. I’m also not as “sure” of myself or life as this test alludes to me being. I’m not an expert in anything, and I’m not in a matter-of-fact profession. I very much live and work in gray areas, where compassion and empathy and feelings come into play more often than practicality. As much as I often dread this outcome and description of myself, I am proud of the fact that I am strong, and confident, and level-headed.

So, how bout it…would you be my friend?DSC_0234

Blogtember AND 5 on Friday: Not all fixed up

1. I got my second fix!  Unfortunately, it was not nearly as successful as the first. The main issue this time around was the “fit” of everything– either too big or too small. I took pictures of the two items I could actually fit into, but then accidentally deleted all but one of the photos. #bloggerfail The blue skirt was cute but just a bit too long and too big for my short frame. I thought the polka dots were really fun though. DSC_2270 (2)

2. I found this really interesting article about Time Magazine and its choice of covers depending on its market. I try to be a well-read citizen who remains fairly up to date on current events. But is the mainstream media dumbing me down?

3. I’m normally a SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) fiend, but I had such a hard time getting into this season. All of the girls looked alike to me. I liked the big teddy bear looking tapper, but the fact that I can’t remember his name is not a good sign. Anyone else? What was I missing?

4. Heading to Albany this weekend. We’re throwing my in-laws a SURPRISE anniversary party. We can’t get there until 530pm and the surprise is supposed to be at 7. We’re in charge of food and drinks and decorations. Talk about cutting it close. I’m also not convinced my in-laws don’t know what we’re up to. Anyway, if they are still in the dark, it’s a good thing they don’t read this blog! ;) Wish us luck!

And since I’ve been linking up with Jenni for Blogtemer, today’s prompt is: A story about a time you were very afraid.

5. So when was I afraid? How about right now! I’m afraid that I’ll never have a great StitchFix style like my first fix ever again. That SYTYCD is on it’s way out. And that the surprise party will be a disaster and the surprise itself will be ruined. #firstworldproblems

Have a great weekend!


Blogtember: Bloom Where You Are Planted


I’ll be linking up with Jenni this month for her Blogtember series. Today’s prompt: Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered. 

Bloom where you are planted.

03-Ashlee-Cory-Elopement

Maybe you didn’t get that job you wanted. Maybe you’re in a job you don’t love. Maybe you didn’t get that promotion you thought you deserved. Or maybe you’ve landed in a city you’re not sure you want to be in. My advice would be set your ego aside, and LEARN from the experience. This doesn’t mean you have to stop working to better the situation–whether that means applying for other jobs, asking for feedback from supervisors about what you can do to improve, or just being grateful for the little things around you that make you happy. The hardships and tough times offer the most teachable moments. But you have to be open to receiving them, so bloom where you are planted. Make the most of the situation, LEARN from it, GROW from it, and you will THRIVE.