On Catcalls and Miami

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After weeks of disbelief, this afternoon I thought to myself, “Oh! Of course. Of course our country didn’t elect a woman as President.” 

Of course we didn’t. Because there are men in this country who can navigate a roundabout with their head completely stuck outside the window of the food service delivery truck they’re driving, face turned 90 degrees away from the road they should be watching, all to make disgusting, slurpy kiss noises at a 31 year old woman (Read: me) carrying a library book about the Holocaust and sporting a 3-days-since-last-washed top knot.

Of course.

The catcalling in Miami is pretty brutal. You’re probably not all that surprised by this. I can’t say I was either. But the salt on the wound is that it sucks ass to drive anywhere in this city. If two of my stops are a few blocks apart, I’ll often leave my car at one, brave the “pedestrians be damned” style of driving the cars all seem to follow here and walk to stop two. So, I put myself in the line of fire in more ways than one.

Vehicles will buzz past and narrowly avoid clipping my appendages in blatant disregard for red lights. I find myself wondering if I should look into the best ways to take a hit to my body from a car without dying.

Yes, this is maybe a little dramatic. But CAN I LIVE?! 

And the catcalls incite the same question. Just in a less bodily harm, ACTUAL life & death sense and more in a “Can I just get from the library to the pharmacy without anyone propositioning me? That would be such a welcome change of pace! Thanks y’all!” -sorta way.

Despite what’s detailed above, I don’t feel that unsafe walking the streets of Miami. Maybe it’s naivete. Or maybe I’ll always be someone who prefers travel by my own two feet.

(See: The summer of ’09 when my top money-saving scheme was to leave my gas tank on empty for the duration.)

Maybe I’m just willing to brave a lot to avoid jumping behind the wheel.

(See: Every traffic-heavy commute home when I fantasize about getting out of my car, setting it on fire, and walking the rest of the way.)

Walking will always make me happy. I won’t let a few crude assholes in Miami (Read: everywhere) take that away from me.

But. Of course. Of course we didn’t elect a woman as president.

P.S. I know, I know. This is about Miami and the picture above is clearly of NYC. Beggars who use free stock images can’t be choosers, ya know?

P.P.S. The Power of Self-Care and that time I stopped paying women compliments.

Movie Recommendation: Carnage

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Have you guys seen the movie Carnage? Two married couples, played by Kate Winslet & Christoph Waltz and Jodie Foster & John C. Reilly, meet up to smooth things over after their sons get in a fight. The film was directed by Roman Polanski and based on the Tony Award winning play God of Carnage. I thought it was pitch-perfect black comedy and, as Chet pointed out, it is every non-kid-having adult’s worst nightmare.

Here’s the trailer, if you’d like to see…


You definitely get the sense that it’s the movie version of a stage play. However, the single setting and 4 lone players add to the genius, in my opinion. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen the whole time. And I mean, that’s a pretty baller cast of four, don’t you think?

Rent it if ya dig!

P.S. Two movies to watch after a tough day at work.

mid-week round-up

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Hi friends! I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve been a bit M.I.A. around these parts. Our internet is a little on the fritz, and nothing annoys me more than starting a post only to lose internet connection for the next two hours. Hopefully the problem will be resolved soon. Another reason for my absence? A little Thanksgiving vacay in St. Pete! Chet and I drove up to spend some time with my mom and sister for the holiday weekend. We had a wonderful dinner at Bella Brava, played a few rounds of shuffle board, enjoyed some lovely parks….and watched ALL of the Gilmore Girls revival. All in all, a very productive trip! I hope y’all had similarly magnificent weekends. Now, enjoy a little mid-week pick-me-up in the way of one dozen links…

Small space holiday decorating hacks.

My thoughts and heart are with Appalachia.

The case for abolishing high school football.

Reddit is tearing itself apart.

How to create the perfect holiday cheese board.

What it’s like to have your period in prison.

I’ll take one of each, please!

Adding this to my list of podcasts I want to check out.

A mental disorder that gives us unique insight into the digital age.

Gorgeous budget-friendly bag, if you’re in the market.

This book is definitely on my holiday wish-list.

And speaking of books… I just finished this memoir and now I want to eat at this restaurant and binge watch this TV show!

Winter Wardrobe Pieces

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Guys! Do you rotate your wardrobe seasonally — tucking away your summer tank-tops in a bottom drawer once the weather turns and pulling down big, floofy sweaters from a plastic tub at the top of your closet? While my clothes will never be that organized, I love the idea of reserving a few, special pieces for each season. Those items that stand the test of time, tucked away for the rest of the year, just waiting for their moment to shine. You’d pull them out when the moment is right and feel nostalgia and excitement for the impending weather change. While this may seem like a hard task to invoke excitement for winter weather, here are 9 pieces from ModCloth that just might fit the bill…
Modcloth Forever Pieces

(Clockwise from top left.)

Cat Sweater … for a bit of whimsy as you bundle up tight. ($49.99)

Pointed Ballet Flats … to tuck under your desk so you can slip them on once you’ve shed your morning commute snow-boots. ($49.99)

Slouch Hat … so your noggin stays stylishly warm. ($14.99)

Gemstone Earrings … for a touch of femininity that won’t get covered up by your giant parka. ($7.99)

Pleated Purple Sweater … to layer on top of all your favorite blouses. ($39.99)

Circle Scarf … because who needs a necklace when you’ve got such a dainty scarf?! ($14.99)

Floral & Lacy Undies Set … for feeling like a babe even when you’re wearing approximately 22 layers of clothing on top. ($6.99 for panties, $13.99 for bralette)

Thigh High Socks … a colorful way to add warmth. ($12.99)

Moisturizing Lipstick … to finish off all your winter weather looks. ($24.99)
Over to you! Do you have any favorite winter wardrobe pieces? Where are you shopping these days? I’d love to know! 

P.S. A review of my most recent Stitch Fix box and shopping ModCloth home decor.

Wild Things

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The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

(Photo taken at the F.I.U. Nature Preserve during a much needed rest amidst wild things. Read more HERE.)

mid-week round-up

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How’s it going this week, guys? After a restful weekend, I started work Monday on a DIY Advent calendar. IDK why but the Christmas bug has bit me extra hard this year. I will wait until after Thanksgiving to begin decorating but that doesn’t mean I’m not daydreaming about Christmas decor. All the holiday stuff out in stores already is just so darn cute! I’ve also been sneaking in as many episodes of Gilmore Girls as humanly possible in preparation for their triumphant return on Netflix. (I am basically this meme.) Hope you all are well, and here are a few click-worthy links I think you should check out…

There’s still time to get in a good Gilmore Girls binge sesh.

A round-up of worthwhile organizations to donate time and money to.

Trump is already scaring and discouraging students from abroad.

Yes, he thought Trump would win. No, he didn’t use hard data.

What Millennials are looking for in a church.

Make your own ornaments on a Dollar Tree budget.

The election, through the eyes of teenage girls.

What it’s like being a weed trimmer in the underground cannabis economy.

How the law will keep President Trump in check.

A mom meets Hillary in the woods.

Colorful planner stickers to keep you on track.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” 

A Thanksgiving Menu for Under $50

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If you’re only cooking for a few this Thanksgiving, and you’re not keen to blow your whole grocery budget on a single meal, I have a few tips for you…

  1. Choose 2-3 of your favorite side dishes. You won’t be “doing it wrong” if you don’t have green bean casserole or stuffing…especially if  you don’t like those dishes anyways.
  2. Don’t waste valuable stomach-space (and cash) on a bunch of pre-dinner nibbles.
  3. Pick up one decadent dessert from a local bakery. Unless you bake on the regular, the ingredient list for your favorite pie may not be worth the hassle.
  4. Consider roasting a chicken instead of a turkey. I know, I know…super unorthodox suggestion but when cooking for less people it just makes sense.

With these nuggets of knowledge in mind, I turned to one of my favorite cook books to construct a menu. Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown is an amazing resource for anyone ballin’ on a budget (no matter the time of year). AND it’s available as a FREE PDF. Go check it out!

Here’s a Thanksgiving meal for 4 folks (or 2 with a healthy dose of leftovers). While it may not be the most traditional of menus; the recipes are easy, the costs are low, and waste is minimal. I love that the spotlight is on seasonal produce…a wonderful bounty to celebrate at any table, but it feels especially appropriate for a Thanksgiving feast! Switch the chicken out for turkey (or a turkey breast), if you like. Or nab a Tofurkey if you’re vegetarian. (Cost of each dish is indicated below.)

Appetizer

Classic Deviled Eggs (p.137) $3.60

Starter

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup (p.26) $6

Main Course

Roast Chicken (p.78) $10

Cauliflower Cheese (p.93) $6.60

Roasted Vegetables (p.106) $5

Whole-Wheat Jalapeno Cheddar Scones (p.15) $4.50 *note – I would sub diced apple for the jalapeno in this recipe to make it a bit more autumnal. 

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding (p.175) $2.40

Total cost of meal = $38.10 (which leaves you $11.90 to nab your favorite pie from some place local!).

Pick up a bottle of Cab and a bottle of Chardonnay and Bob’s your Uncle — budget-friendly Thanksgiving Day is a go!

What are YOUR top tips for saving money on Thanksgiving? Will you be hosting this year or enjoying dinner with friends and family? Would you ever consider CHICKEN on Turkey Day?! (Chet, a former butcher, swears up and down that no one actually likes turkey anyways. LOL! He prepared a delicious chicken last year and I gotta say…I’m now a fan of the Thanksgiving Chicken.) 

 

The Power of Self-Care

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In the aftermath of the election, I needed to call on the power of self-care. Here are a few of the ways I took care of myself this weekend in an effort to catch my breath, hit the refresh button, and keep fighting the good fight.

1. Took time away from social media. 

In the days after the election, I found myself trapped in a never-ending social media binge. I kept hitting refresh as if I needed to see every last person’s opinion on what was happening. I desperately needed to step away. (There are only so many thought-piece Facebook statuses I can cry over before I start to spiral.) In an effort to avoid my computer screen for a few hours, I re-read Little House in the Big Woods one afternoon. For some evening diversion, Chet and I watched Midnight in Paris and Drive.

2. Gave to a worthy cause.

If you haven’t seen this great list that Jezebel put out last Wednesday definitely go check it out. It includes a whole slew of pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-Earth, anti-bigotry organizations that need our support. Inspired, I decided to spend some time reading about the American Civil Liberties Union and the work they do. I joined, donated, and spoke to friends and family about why they should do the same.

3. Spent time in the great outdoors. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I was gifted a self-paced photography class for my birthday (Thanks Mom!). The homework from the most recent lecture provided the perfect excuse to get outside in search of cool subject matter. Camera-strapped and sans-phone, I walked around the FIU campus for a few hours. Fresh air and sunshine are such a magical combination, don’t you think? And hopefully I got a few good shots!

4. Told a few folks to come correct. 

Sometimes you need to find comfort in community in order to take care of yourself. A few times over the past week, when commiserating with others, expressing fears and sadness, a rogue individual has butted in to man-splain why getting upset isn’t helpful. Nothing gets my goat like a dude policing my emotions. I will happily tell a fella’ to back off so my little community can continue to care for each other.

5. Re-visited this encouraging website. 

Do you remember this amazing pep-talk generator? (I first talked about it here.) I’ve clicked on it a few times over the past days and it always delivers. I especially loved this pep talk, which popped up right after I’d had a conversation with a friend about how the results of the election made me, as a woman, feel so small…

“Don’t keep yourself too hidden. Embrace feeling small — let it open up the world before you, then watch it change with your touch. From the way you move oceans to the breaths you unknowingly take. The universe is already falling for you. Make lost your new home, and don’t stop. You’re meant to be you, where you are, right now.”

My loves – How have you been taking care of yourself? I hope the list above offers you some ideas if you’re looking for a shot in the arm. Hang in there! 

November ’16 Stitch Fix (Unboxing + Try On)

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I received another box from Stitch Fix!!! Wanna see what’s inside? For those that don’t know, Stitch Fix is an amazing online company that hooks you up with your own personal stylist. It’s pretty simple! First, you sign up on their website and fill out a style profile. It asks you questions about what you like to wear and your lifestyle to get a clearer picture of the type of clothing you would enjoy receiving. You can also include a link to one of your Pinterest boards for your stylist to peruse. Next, you schedule a “fix” and leave a comment with any special requests or upcoming occasions. And then WAM-BAM, in a few weeks you have a package with five unique items, hand-picked by your own stylist. You also receive a style card for each of your five pieces with two outfit ideas. This is a neat way of showing you how you can incorporate the pieces into your existing wardrobe.

For this “fix,” I asked my stylist to send me short-sleeved shirts that could be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. Because of the never-changing weather in Miami, these are my go-to wardrobe items and I’m getting a little sick of my existing supply. I was a little disappointed to discover that my stylist did not exactly heed my request! However, she did a fabulous job sending items that match my wardrobe aesthetic. Here’s a look at each item…

1. Skies are Blue shirt dress. 

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2. Laila Jayde cap sleeve top.

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3. Kut From The Kloth distressed boyfriend jeans.

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4. Market & Spruce solid quilted vest.

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5. Bay to Baubles floral statement necklace.

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Now comes the fun part! Deciding what to keep and what to send back. Your box comes equipped with a pre-stamped bag/envelope so you can send back what doesn’t work for you at no extra charge! However, if you keep all 5 items you receive a 25% discount off your total bill. You have three days to make your selections. I like to have a rifle through my closet, jewelry box, and shoe collection to try and come up with full outfits for each piece. This is my way of sussing out if I’ll actually wear the item or not. Here’s what I came up with…

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This shirt dress is absolutely something I would wear. (I love anything with a “Prairie” vibe.) Wouldn’t this be such a cute look to rock during Thanksgiving dinner? Or to a more casual Christmas shindig? Unfortunately, the fit for this piece was just a tad off for my size. The bust and arms felt tight, causing the waist in the back to ride up ever so slightly. I know it seems a small issue but these are the annoyances that keep clothes hanging in the closet instead of in your wardrobe rotation.

Verdict: Sent back. 

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So I did get one short-sleeved top in this fix! The color is super cute, although not exactly seasonal, and the length was perfect for tucking in a pair of jeans or wearing loose with some smart shorts. This was the piece I debated for the longest. I did ask for it! But in the end, I decided the material was too sheer. I’m just not a huge fan of wearing camis/tanks under my tees.

Verdict: Sent back. 

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Jeans of any style or cut are difficult to find for my 5’3″ frame but boyfriend jeans are especially difficult to track down. What’s a girl gotta do to get a flattering relaxed fit?! I couldn’t believe when I pulled this pair on and found them to be the perfect length! No extra cuffing needed, no hemming…and they aren’t even a short or petite size. They look super cute with sandals as well as ankle boots and Converse for those colder climes.

Verdict: Keep. 

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I know this is a really impractical closet addition for someone who basically lives in the tropics but I just couldn’t send this vest back. I’m in love with everything about it and it’s not like I’ll be in South Florida FOREVER, ya know? Hunter green, beautifully structured, gold hard-ware-d vests never go out of style.

Verdict: Keep. 

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Sometimes you can have too many statement necklaces, and I am currently in that camp. I just never wear the ones I own and then I always feel the need to get new ones for special occasions. So, the little practical voice in my head kicked in on this item. “You want this necklace but you don’t neeeeed this necklace.” Little voice was probably right but looking at these pictures, I’ve gotta admit I’m regretting listening.

Verdict: Sent back. 

So there you have it! I kept two items that I truly believe I will get tons of wear out of (for years!). While the spoils of my fix ended up being more “Closet Basics” than “Wardrobe Refresh,” I’m quite pleased with my purchases.

What do you think? Which pieces are your favorites? Would you have chosen differently? Let me know your thoughts below!!

P.S. My June Stitch Fix Uboxing + Try On.

If you’d like to give Stitch Fix a go, and I SOOO recommend you do, CLICK HERE. It’s a service I’ve used for a few years now and the pieces I’ve kept become closet staples. 

june stitch fix box

mid-week round-up

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How’s everyone doing today? Honestly, I still feel like I’m in shock. My mixed bag of emotions includes sadness, disbelief, anger, and grief for what could have been.

But I also feel an overwhelming love for the people in this country, especially my friends and family who now face the very real possibility that hardship awaits. I believe we can all do good in spite of the roadblock we’ve found ourselves up against. I believe we can claim the power in our own lives to effect change and help others. This love and these beliefs are what I’m clinging to.

Today, I’m bummed…because I really, really, really wanted a woman in The White House. I’m mourning for our country and how it would have felt to have her, despite facing a loud-mouthed male opponent, come out on top. I was counting so much on the tears I would shed for her victory that I never considered the tears I would shed for us all if she lost.

Tomorrow, the fight continues.

Here are some links pertaining to last night’s results…

A transcript of Donald Trump’s victory speech.

The electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world.

This is how much America hates women.

What will I tell my children? 

Feeling homeless in America.

How the future voted.

“To all the little girls…never doubt that you are valuable and powerful & deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.”Hillary Clinton

And here are a dozen non-election links, if you’re in need of a diversion…

A trove of historical gold from the attics and shoeboxes of Virginia.

Prince Michael Jackson can’t sing or dance.

Stanford sexual assault case survivor speaks out.

Samantha Bee condemns Catholic hospitals.

Watched this documentary recently and would highly recommend.

A swoon-worthy light fixture, if you’re in the market.

Is Barbara Bush four feet tall? Siri thinks so.

Lindsay Lohan NEVER disappoints.

‘Afghan Girl’ is arrested in Pakistan.

Female medical detective is such a bad-ass job title tho.

How to deal with jet lag.

Such a sweet story.