It’s a Good Day to Have a Good Day

Do you ever days when you just know you woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning? You know–days where you’re sure someone is playing a cruel, cruel joke on you and you’re wondering when on earth you must have crossed paths with so many black cats and broken mirrors. I have. I’ve had exactly those kind of days. Running late, spill your coffee while you’re driving to work, break your heel walking inside the office only to realize you forgot to put on mascara that morning. And the day only continues on downhill. You’re late to your next meeting, your gas light comes on, your boss is being difficult, and you went over on your cell phone data limit *insert grimace emoji here*. It happens! C’est la vie! Life goes on and so must you!

I’m writing this not only as a reminder to myself, but also as a note to you. To share with you guys that ways DO in fact exist to overcome all of that bad juju and end your day on a spectacular note. I’ve heard and tried it all. I’ve pinned every inspirational pinterest quote and forced myself to smile in hopes of lightening my mood. But life cannot always be handled with a forced smile and a “Rain and storm always precede the sunshine and rainbows”- esque quote. So here are 5 easy steps to follow when you are having a God-awful day!

1. Map out the rest of your day
If you spent the entire morning in a rush and hail storm of unfortunate circumstance, take a few minutes to catch up to the world around you. Just because your morning didn’t go according to plan doesn’t mean the rest of your day has to follow suit! Take 5 simple minutes to take a deep breath and rework the rest of your day’s schedule. Taking the few minutes to regroup will allow for less rushing and prevent any more playing catch up. It can show you there is still an opportunity to have a productive and decent day. It will make you feel more focused and less panicked that all of sudden the day’s meetings/events/plans are off and seem unattainable.

2. Put on your “Go get ’em” playlist
I’ve read a million times over that smiling when you’re sad or unhappy will somehow trick you and your brain into being in a better mood. Well, this little bit left me feeling absolutely ridiculous smiling when it was the last thing I could possibly fathom. (LOL I’m entirely too dramatic.) Instead, I found playing some of my favorite happy music really does the trick. It helps me refocus and undoubtedly boosts my mood! Music is wonderfully therapeutic. Here are a few on my mood-booster playlist!

  • “Up, Up, Up”–Rose Falcon
  • “Girls”–The 1975
  • “Dog Days Are Over”–Florence + The Machine
  • “Who Knows”–BEGINNERS
  • “You’re Not Stubborn”–Two Door Cinema Club
  • “Punching in a Dream”–Naked & Famous
  • “Dimelo”–Snakehips
  • “High You Are (Branchez Remix)”–What So Not

3. Plan something to look forward to
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and one of the easiest ways I shake off the bad-day-sludge. I plan a girls’ night with margaritas or text my boyfriend and make dinner plans. I’ll make it a point to get extra gummy bears next time I grab fro-yo or I’ll purchase something online (because who doesn’t love mail?!). Why not take a relaxing bubble bath that night with a face mask on instead of hopping in and out of the shower or opt for a glass of wine with dinner? ORRR  I love calling my out-of-town friends and catching up with them over a lengthy phone call. Little things, y’all!

4. Call a friend and vent
I know. We are all adults and we should be able to handle our own adult problems. Well there’s no shame in needing to talk it out first! Some people aren’t ones who enjoy phone calls, but texting my emotions doesn’t always cut it for me personally. I have a few close girlfriends who are always there for me with an open ear and a fresh perspective. Sometimes, that’s all you need is someone to put things into perspective for you. I don’t mean people who say, “Well, it could always be worse Emily,” or “There are kids starving in Africa right now and you’re complaining about having a hectic day!” Yes, people! I am complaining about being overwhelmed and looking for a way to get my head back above water because those kids suffering in Africa don’t make me feel any less stressed in this moment. Call it selfish or spoiled, but I call it realistic.
I’m talking about those people who are going to be honest with me; who will tell me when I’ve bitten off more than I can chew or who will tell me I’m perfectly capable of chewing all which I’ve bitten off. Like I said, a fresh perspective can work wonders for the mind of the preoccupied.

5. Don your favorite lipstick and pour yourself another cup of coffee
My coworker Courtney said it best. “When all else fails, apply lipstick.” I don’t know if I’ve ever related to anything more than that statement, hahah. Lipstick can’t fix everything, but paired with a double shot of espresso it can come pretty close. 😉

I hope these few tidbits help you overcome those nasty Monday blues or midweek slump!

Cheers, lovies! xoxo

2016 Holiday Girlfriend Gift Guide

2016giftguide

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, y’all! My group of girlfriends whom I’ve made great friends with here in Baton Rouge over the last year and half are throwing a white elephant gift exchange this upcoming weekend. I am so excited! Gifts, wine, girl-time, and no where to be first thing in the morning. If you aren’t familiar with white elephant, the best I can explain it is everyone buys a gift of a pre-established monetary amount, throws them in the middle of circle, and everyone who brought a gift gets a turn to pick! A very lackluster explanation, but throw in a glass of wine and some Christmas-themed-cake-balls and it becomes much more entertaining. Not to mention gifts can be stolen when it’s your turn to pick!

In preparation of those who procrastinate like myself and who also have girlfriend gift-exchanges coming up, I’ve compiled this fun list of gifts–all under $50!

NYX Liquid Suede Lip Cream Vault–$50
Okay, okay. So after taxes and possibly shipping if you’re ordering online, this gift ends up being closer to the $60 range than $50, but it’s so worth it! These lippies are some of the best drugstore lip colors and formula. For the lipstick lover(s) in your life, imagine the fight over this vault!

Marley Lilly Engraved Bar Necklace–$20
You really cannot beat this price for a pretty piece of personalized jewelry. Marley Lilly offers three different finishes to the necklace as well–gold, silver, and rose gold. Grab one as a gift and one for yourself. It’s a win-win!

Phone Mount–$15
I can personally say for anyone who drives or travels a ton for work this gift is a lifesaver. It’s so easy to put together, attach to your car windshield, and adjust. It’s a super practical gift that will get plenty of use!

Popsockets Phone Grip–$10
I have seen so many beauty vloggers on snapchat use these things! Another practical gift but mixed with some stylish flare. They’d make great stocking stuffers!

‘Good Vibes Only Travel’ Mug–$20
I actually received this gift from a bestie last Christmas and I love it entirely too much! It’s ceramic, so it keeps my coffee plenty hot on those days I’m running out of the door and am in and out of the car a thousand times. Plus, it’s a little reminder not to dwell on the minor mishaps that can happen throughout the day.

Elizabeth James Nirvana Rollerball Set–$28
I feel the price point is pretty great for this set. I’m a huge fan of these scents. There’s definitely one for everybody! Whether she’s a fan of fresh, warm, floral, or spicy–this set has them all!

Coffee Beanery Coffee Sampler–$26
If there exists a delicious, rich coffee that is not Community nor Starbucks it is Coffee Beanery. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this coffee, but it has been a favorite of mine since having it back home. For those gals who are coffee lovers, this sampler set is perfect and even comes with a travel mug!

Joe Boxer Women’s Bootie Slippers–$13
brb…buying multiples of these cute & comfy thangs! I feel like slippers are universally appreciated. What girl doesn’t want a pair of something she can eternally lounge in?! This brand is one of my favorites and I’ve even bought them as a Christmas extra for my mom!

Lilly and Laura Bracelet Stack–$36
Although the listed price is $36, Lilly and Laura does a deal where if you purchase 3 or more bracelets, you get them discounted at $10/piece instead of $12. I lovelovelove these! They’re beautiful and versatile!! They come in every color or design you could possibly think of and they’re amazing quality! They don’t pinch your skin or hairs on your arm because there’s no elastic–you just roll them onto your wrist.  They’re such a great treat for that girlfriend who’s always got an armparty happening!

Happy shopping and gift-stealing my gals! Haha! xoxo

Planner Favorites

I have used academic agendas and planners since I was in the fifth grade. I continued using a planner even when out of school, so I would have important dates, meetings, appointments, numbers, all written down in one place along with my work schedule. Now, traveling so much for work and with grad school, there is no way I could survive without a planner.

lillymediumLilly Pulitzer medium agenda, $24

All through college, I used Lilly Pulitzer agendas. I mostly used the jumbo-sized for my school days. Once out of school though, I had no need to eliminate fishing one out of a backpack, and I found the medium-sized agenda had plenty of space enough for me, and could easily fit in my purse or tote bag. Lilly planners have original and feminine designs, come with a stretchy fabric bookmark strap, and a page of fun stickers so you can make your weeks and months your own.

plumpaperplannerPlum Paper weekly agenda, $31

This past year, I found the most wonderfully affordable customizable planner option at Plum Paper Designs, the Etsy shop.  I have raved and raved about these planners to friends, classmates, coworkers. Not only are there a ton of cover options to choose from, but you can also choose to add a monogram or your name to the front cover! (I’m a Southern girl, I love my monograms.) I chose to do a pretty mint and gold fishscale pattern with my name, pictured here, with the vertical weekly page design. Here is what’s really cool, you can completely customize your pages AND what they say! Do you need more space to plan dinner? You can add the columns. Do you need more than one extra column or row to write down meetings and commitments to specific clubs or organizations? You got it! Need to remember which kid has which practice where? Completely customizable guys.

If you are shooting for a teacher planning aid, a fitness journal or tracker, something to organize your bill payment schedule with, sticker add-ons, photo customization, I cannot stop bragging on these Plum Paper planners, they thought of pretty much everything. Now, where Plum Paper differs from the rest of the planners I will mention is that its covers are not hard cardboard, but they do come with a flexible plastic cover on front and back. (Even the covers are interchangeable y’all!) I can definitely say you would not be disappointed if you purchased a Plum Paper Planner.

 

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Ashley Shelly planner, $54.95

I’m guilty guilty GUILTY of using multiple planners at a time. If I don’t write something down more than once, chances are I will either forget a piece of the information, or forget it altogether. Plus, when I discover new agendas I like to test all of them out to see which one works best for me! Sometimes I’ll even use a separate agenda for school vs work so my pages don’t get too crammed with information. Again, it’s all about what you prefer. Another agenda I discovered last year is the Ashley Shelly Planner. This hardcover planner is seriously designed with the user in mind. Check out this video of Ashley Shelly giving a walk through of her planner design, along with tips and tricks of how to organize your days and weeks!

I know this is something so incredibly minor, but when bookmarking methods can be difficult to use, the Ashley Shelly planner’s perforated corners are life-changing. You read that right–perforated corners. I’ve tried everything: cross-folding pages, using the stretchy fabric bookmarks, paperclips and binder clips, ughh everything! Something as simple as tearing off the corner of the paper to save your place so you can save your paperclips and binder clips for filing bill statements or important forms, etc. has made me come back to this planner every time!

Although notes pages and goal pages are something you can order with your Plum Paper planner, Ashley Shelly comes with them, and they are preciously displayed on the pages after the monthly calendar. On these pages, lines and space for your daily or monthly creative goals are included as well as space for what you’d like your typical day to consist of. It’s great motivation if you’re looking for routine, consistency, and a way to plan days that are conducive to striving for and reaching goals.

Even though I hate to have anything negative to say about a planner because I love them all, with the Ashley Shelly planner I found that the weekly layout did not provide me as much room as the Plum Paper weekly layouts did, and not even close to as much room as Lilly’s week pages. Each day is divided into two sections with a to-do list on one side and blank lines on the other, with space to list specific times if needed. Of course you can make the entire row your to-do list, or make the entire row a list of whatever you need to remember for the day, but it doesn’t take away from the lack of room in my opinion. Lastly, the Ashley Shelly planner is spiral-bound, as is the Lilly and the Plum Paper planner, but I found it overly difficult to fold the cover back. It wants to stick to the rings more often than not. BUT Ashley Shelly’s planner comes with super cute stickers too! (I prefer them over Lilly’s.) They’re even color-coordinated with the planner design. Talk about L-O-V-E!

 

maydesignsnotebook
May Designs Classic Maybook, $15

I have recently purchased a couple of classic notebooks, so they’re about medium-sized, but I cannot wait to purchase some large notebooks for my classes this upcoming semester! These maybooks are another customization favorite. There is a cover design with literally any color or pattern you could possible want! I added monograms to mine (lol, obvi), and you can choose the type of lines you want on the inside (except no college-ruled). I love that the covers are canvas and the pages are thicker than regular notebook paper so ink-bleeding and page tears are minimum.

 

verabradley
Vera Bradley notebook, $14

There’s nothing super special about these Vera Bradley notebooks other than that I’m obsessed with the patterns. They make me excited to take notes and color-coordinate my studying! Also, older or discontinued patterns always on major sale on VeraBradley.com!

 

bicultrafineBIC Mark It Ultra Fine Point, $21 for the assorted 36-pack

These have been my go-to note-taking pens over the last two years. The ultra fine point isn’t as thin of a tip as the ultra fine point Sharpies, or the Le Pens, but I find the colors are more vibrant and don’t get washed away or smeared with highlighter! Trust me, if you like taking your notes in color even a little bit, you will love these!

 

bicatlantisBIC Atlantis retractable ball point, $12 for a dozen

A friend actually got me hooked on these pens back in my undergraduate college career. They’ve been redesigned since then, but they still write equally as smoothly and beautifully. They don’t have the darkest, blackest ink that some are partial to, but I never had to repetitively go over my notes to get the ink evenly on the page. Best part about these pens, the small grip prevented crazy finger indentations that can make writing for long periods of time less than pleasant.

 

These are just a few of my favorites and must-have basics to get me through the day and through the school semester. I would love any recommendations or feedback on favorite agendas, notebooks, or must-have office/school supplies! Let me know in the comments!

Vehicle Essentials

Originally I estimated I would have ten top necessary things to keep in your car at all times. When I sat down and really thought about the things I keep in my car that have prevented some difficult or unfortunate situations however, I quickly realized the list was greater than just ten. For all intents and purposes of this post though, here are the ten most useful things to keep in your car (in my opinion, of course!):

  1. Napkins/Baby Wipes
    Let’s be honest here, if you don’t eat in your car, you’ve at least gone through the drive thru at Starbucks to grab a coffee for the road. Nary a road exists that is completely devoid of bumps, and spills do happen. For this reason I have listed napkins and/or baby wipes as my number one must-have. Personally, I keep a stack of napkins in my glove box. Ask for extra napkins when you’re picking up a coffee!
  2. Umbrella
    When I was in college I kept a travel-sized umbrella in my backpack as well as a larger one in my car. Now, I keep two in my car. They have saved me too many times to count from this temperamental Louisiana weather. Even when you know to expect rain, having an umbrella with you in your car becomes a simple convenience. Vera Bradley has some precious ones here.
  3. Zip-up Jacket
    Well, if you decide you don’t need an umbrella in your car at least now you’ve got a jacket for when you’re sitting freezing from the rain. Check out this one and this one I swap between keeping in my car.
  4. Extra Charger & Wall Adapter
    I’m not as rough on the chargers I keep plugged in in my car as I used to be, but keeping a spare on hand in case the plug or port became stripped from too much wear & tear has proved hugely useful. A lot of times I forget to pack a wall charger in my suitcase when I’m traveling, so keeping the wall adapter in my car comes in handy. I love these light-up cables. They look like little LED ants traveling through the charging cord, haha!
  5. Hand Sanitizer
    Of course you can keep this in your purse as well, but after I pump gas I don’t want to be rummaging through my purse. My work makes handy spray travel-sized sanitizers, but Bath & Body Works always has great deals when you purchase multiples.
  6. Spare Sunnies
    I have friends or coworkers travel with me more often than not so I like to keep an extra pair of sunglasses on hand in case they’re needed. Plus, I appreciate having options! I linked some really cute ones my post here.
  7. Chapstick
    This one is a little tricky because lip products will melt in crazy heat. I have found that if I keep them in my center console, they stay cool enough not to lose shape, even if they do get a little warm. Sometimes I am rushing out of the house so quickly I forget to put on lipstick, and I would rather just swipe on something easy while I’m on my way to work. I love these Burt’s Bees lip balms because they’re hydrating with the perfect hint of color.
  8. Travel-sized Fragrance
    This is another tricky one again because of the heat. It can evaporate when too hot. Nevertheless I strongly suggest keeping a rollerball or travel-sized spray in your car for days when you feel like you could use a little freshening up. Victoria’s Secret has an awesome travel-size selection of fresh scents.
  9. Extra Pair of Shoes
    For me, I keep a nice, work-appropriate pair of flats with me in case I get tired of heels or my original shoes get wet in the rain that I’ve mentioned always seems to come out of nowhere. You might be the type of person that would rather a pair of tennis shoes or sandals for whatever occasion. Either way, keep that extra pair with you in your vehicle just in case! You’ll be glad you did.
  10. A Versatile Playlist
    Lastly, invest in some really really good road trip music, even if you’re not headed out of town anytime soon. Whether you purchase a Spotify account, burn a new mixed CD, or have a playlist on your phone, good music on your way to or from wherever you are headed is a total mood booster. I used to listen to some heavy rock to amp up for tests, but maybe you had a really rough day and would rather some alternative on the way home. With Spotify, you get a student discount with a school email address. You can create your own playlists or start a radio station playlist of songs from a song you already like. I like to make my own. It eliminates the hassle of trying to find something to listen to on the radio and I can enjoy my own thoughts when I’m driving. My point is, having invested some time into a worthy playlist, you will be able to enjoy yourself more when traveling, no matter the distance of the trip.

Aside from the obvious things like insurance, registration, and jumper cables, is there anything you guys would suggest keeping on hand? Let me know in the comments!

The Woes of Moving

I’ve moved a total of four times in two years. Or something like that. Basically, I’ve had to pick up, pack up, and move all of my belongings four more times than I would ever want to in my lifetime. Moving is the biggest pain. Figuratively and literally. I most recently moved from the third floor of an apartment complex and I was feeling the pain after 78 flights of stairs (via FitBit)! From my experiences I am going to do my best to fill you in on some tips and tricks to make the moving process less difficult and less expensive.

  1. PLAN AHEAD
    Without this step, you might as well just tell yourself now you’re going to be scrambling and frantic come moving time. I was in some bad spots for a couple of my moves. For one, my parents sold their house unexpectedly quickly in my last year of college and I had about two weeks to find a new place and move there post-finals. So in this instance, I had the cringe-worthy challenge of packing and moving without much time to plan ahead. In my most recent endeavor, however, I knew two to three months ahead of time where I was headed. I was moving to a new city and I allotted plenty of weekdays and weekends to packing up my apartment and taking as much as I could fit in my car at one time to my new home, thereby lessening the amount to move on actual moving day. (Also, don’t wait until the day of to try and pack up an entire room and then some. Make each trip home and away really count!) If you know that you are going to need extra help to move, or are going to rent a truck, or schedule cleaners, or whatever it may be, planning ahead will eliminate a ton of stress from day one.
  2. CONSOLIDATE/THROW AWAY
    Oh boy, is this the most difficult part of the moving process for me. I’m a hoarder and a pack-rat and to me everything has some kind of sentiment making it worth keeping. But on more than one occasion, I’ve had to let go of more than a few things in order to fit into my new space, or to make my new space way less cluttered. It’s cathartic and bittersweet and when I’m done I feel so accomplished! Those tennis shoes you’ve had since high school? Toss ’em. The jeans you wore when you were ‘skinnier’ that you’re hoping to be able to fit back into soon? Donate ’em. The costume jewelry you’ve had since seventh grade? Can you see where I’m going with this? Even if you’re a champ at letting things go, consolidation when it comes to moving is still a game-changer. Try to use boxes that are pretty much the same size and not too big to carry. A lot of retailers will donate their conveniently-sized boxes happily instead of making all those trips to the dumpsters or recycling bins. Consolidating your belongings into similarly-sized boxes and labeling them by room makes them easier to pack, move, stack, and unpack.
  3. ENLIST THE HELP OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY
    I will attest that having your friends and family help you move is awesomely cost-effective! I was fortunate enough to have a few guy friends and my boyfriend’s family spend several hours on a Sunday afternoon helping me load up and unpack a truck. Had I needed to hire movers, the trip and labor would have cost me about $800 that I didn’t have. I was never the best at Tetris (or carrying heavy boxes down three flights of stairs) but my helpers were patient and took the time to carefully move, pack, and stack boxes so I wouldn’t lose or break anything. With movers, they are not always so careful! Planning ahead and making sure the actual items to be moved have been consolidated makes for a way easier time for you AND those who you’ve enlisted to help you move!

Using the aforementioned steps I was able to make my actual moving day much less horrific than it could have been. It took up most of my Sunday and several trips before then, but nothing was lost or broken and everything stayed organized to my liking between take-down and set-back-up.

Here is another really helpful blog post I used to simplify my move.

If you’ve got any tips or tricks that made moving easier for you or saved you money, let me know in the comments!