Tuesday, April 7, 2020

March 2020 Favorites

February and March are never months I particularly look forward to, but I didn’t quite expect March to be quite as uneventful as it was. I know we all feel that way, so there’s no point dwelling on that, but with more time at home, it feels even harder to come up with things I truly loved this month. I wasn’t getting dressed to go to work, I can probably count on one hand the number of times in the past couple of weeks I’ve worn makeup, and everything about this situation is odd. Despite that, and regardless of how boring they may seem, I did discover a few favorite products from the past month. Most of them were things I already had at home and have found a more frequent use for given the current situation. I am already curious as to what I’ll come up with for April since I don’t feel like I’ve used anything new or bought anything worth sharing just yet. 

Since gyms and workout studios are closed, I’ve been going on lots of long walks to fill that void while also getting some fresh air. Since I’m not always getting ready for the day and feel like my skin has been breaking out more than normal, not only is a hat protecting my face from the sun on these walks, but it’s also hiding the fact that I’m not putting much effort into my appearance. My roommate gave me this hat two Christmases ago, and it has become my most worn hat. If you don’t live in Birmingham, the company has plenty of other airport codes, and most of the hats come in a variety of colors.  

Since we just talked about how walks are filling part of my void for workout studios being closed, my favorite Birmingham studio, true40, has been releasing new at-home workouts on their website each weekday. This is so generous of them given that they have put all member’s payments on pause, which therefore makes these workouts free. If you decide to try one out, consider donating to their Venmo, which is listed on the same page as the at-home workouts. 

I waited well over six months to finally get this book on the Libby app, and it didn’t disappoint. While I could’ve read it instead of listened to it a lot sooner, there’s something I love about an author narrating their own book. It was really interesting to gain perspective in the behind the scenes of what it’s like to be married to the president and although I wouldn’t consider myself to be very political, the politics of the way things are done for the first family. 

I rarely get my nails done. In the span of a year, this may happen a total of 3 times, so I do not feel like businesses closing has any effect on whether or not my nails are painted. Instead, I am an avid at-home nail painter and am very loyal to Essie as my nail polish of choice. Their gel collection is especially good, and as a change-up from the pink I typically gravitate towards, I really love this light blue polish in the color “perfect posture.”

We’re all washing our hands more than ever, and a nice smelling soap has started to feel like a little luxury. Mine was a gift so I can’t say it’s something I’d necessarily buy myself all the time, but I really have enjoyed it. This is the smaller size bottle which is plastic and there’s a larger glass version as well that would make a pretty and thoughtful gift. The one I have is in the scent “bois d’olivier” and smells fantastic. I also have a matching hand lotion that is great for adding some moisture back to the skin after so much washing. 

Working from home seems to have increased everyone’s screen time, and while that isn’t surprising, it doesn’t negate the fact that it isn’t great on your eyes. I’ve had the same blue light glasses for years, and while I do consistently use them, I have never been quite so consistent. My right eye tends to feel strained pretty quickly, and I have found that by putting on blue light glasses when I start working instead of when it starts to bother me makes a big difference.

Since I’ve been in the spring cleaning mode and feel like I have nothing but time, I’ve been rediscovering products that, at some point, made their way to the back of my bathroom cabinets. One of these items was this Beautycounter body butter, which I’ve been using after I shower. I’m not usually one to remember to put lotion on my body, so maybe this is a baby step to becoming an adult that takes better care of themselves. I like that it is a thick consistency without feeling greasy, plus my skin has never been softer! 

I really would love to hear any product recommendations you have or may have discovered over the past month to add to my routine or test out. I hope that your week is off to a great start!

Monday, April 6, 2020

Step Into My Week 4.6

Well, there were a few times last week when I thought about how good of an idea it would be to go ahead and write down what I did the day of so that this wouldn’t be as hard to write, but here I go typing this all at once trying to remember what differentiated one day from another. I know we are probably all feeling that way at least to an extent, and using a notepad page that I throw away at the end of the day instead of the to-do list component of my planner makes it nearly impossible to remember what tasks I accomplished when. 

So, I’m going to consolidate Monday through Wednesday since most of the days looked like me waking up at 6:30 to get some quiet time in while eating breakfast before starting work at 7:00. It has been pretty nice to be able to sleep almost an hour later than normal since I don’t have to look decent or drive to the office. Most nights around 5:00, when I stop working, I’ve been going for a walk or run or doing an online true40 class. I really miss the ability to go into the true40 studio for classes, though, and am already looking forward to the day when that’s allowed again. Most nights, my roommate and I have been putting on a show while we eat our dinners and have been going to bed pretty early. 

Thursday was a little bit different since I had to go to the office to work on a photoshoot for one of our magazine’s July/August issue. There were only a few of us there, and we were spread out and wearing masks, so it certainly didn’t feel like an average day in the office. After that shoot wrapped, I set up for another shoot I was assigned for Friday, which included temporarily hanging up some wallpaper. I quickly discovered I am not a pro at that. When I came home, I sat on our deck and sent out some emails before deciding to go for a run. Thank goodness for the awesome weather we’ve been having that has kept me from going completely stir crazy.

Friday morning, I was in the office for a couple of hours, completing that additional shoot before heading home to start my weekend. I ate my lunch on the deck and eventually decided to shower and try to take a nap. In the afternoon, I finally got to get my car back from the body shop after it was hit while parked by a moving truck a month ago. While the rental car was great, I was beyond excited to finally have my car back. Once I got home, my roommate and I decided to make ourselves a drink and go for a walk. When we came back, I talked on the phone with Nell for a while before Rebecca and I watched the newest episode of Little Fires Everywhere before going to bed.

Saturday, I woke up around 7:30 and made myself breakfast, which I enjoyed in bed while watching a movie. After the movie was over, I decided to go on a walk, which ended up lasting about two hours. I made myself lunch and ate it outside before opting to switch my closet from winter to spring/summer and organizing the cabinets under my bathroom sink. I went outside to read for a bit and ended up falling asleep out there. That resulted in the picture below from roommate. Eventually, I showered and got dressed to have dinner and watch a movie.

I woke up around 7:30 again on Sunday and watched church from bed before going on another morning walk. I again had lunch outside and read and took a brief nap before my roommate and I decided to walk to pick up ice cream curbside from Mountain Brook Creamery. We got back around 5:00, and I talked on the phone with my parents for a while and then Nell before coming inside to shower, make dinner, and watch tv with my roommate.

While I know this is probably not that exciting of an update hopefully, you feel a sense of routine with me still posting these recaps. I’ve come up with a few activities for this week/weekend to look forward to and hope that maybe it’ll inspire y’all to write down a few fun things you could accomplish while still following the social distancing/shelter in place/stay at home guidelines in place. For me, that includes baking cookies and decorating them for Easter, planting my window boxes, working on a DIY post for y’all that I’ll hopefully share in the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday Shopping vol. 41

We have a sunny Saturday in the forecast today and although it won't be spent out at a brewery I'm thinking I'll spend some time enjoying the sun with a book on our deck. Scrolling through online retailers looking at the cute new pieces being offered has me excited for when socializing on a Saturday is a thing again. Below are some of my favorite finds in cute spring colors and patterns. If you see anything you're interested in you can click directly on the items in the image below!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Let's Talk About Boys (Your Questions On The Topic Answered)

Maybe this quarantine/social distancing thing has officially driven me to madness because never did I expect to actually write a blog post about boys. I can guarantee you my friends are all shocked as well since they have to pry information from me on the subject. But, whenever I was asking about what blog posts y’all wanted to see in the next few weeks, this topic came up over and over and over again. Overtime (ok done using the word “over” for a while), more and more of my Q&A questions and post requests have been on this topic, so maybe it’s time to humorously tackle it to a given extent. 

If you came here for interesting (or any) details about my love life, go ahead and exit this page since it’s unlikely I’ll be giving you what you’re looking for. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am pretty much a closed book on the topic, even to my closest friends. They know better than to ask questions about dates that would warrant a one-word response because that’s definitely what they are going to get if they do. I’m a very private person and like to keep my cards close. So much so that once in college, a boy sought Nell out in the library to try to get information out of her about me telling her that I was a hard read and more private than Fort Knox… Out of solidarity to me, Nell immediately informed me of this interaction (one of their first), and I didn’t tell the guy about this until well over a year later. 

Not that this post needs a disclaimer since I’ve always been in control of what is being posted (perks of having your own blog, I suppose), but as a private person, it can be weird knowing that this is a very public platform. That means that anyone will be able to read these thoughts and stories on the matter, which is taking away from me being able to hold my cards close. Not only are my family and friends on the other side of the computer screen, but any of the guys I’ve previously been on dates with or may go on dates with in the future could be reading this (which feels like an unfair advantage to them). I’m also not someone I’d necessarily recommend taking dating advice from since there are certainly people with far more experience, but I guess being someone whose life you can read about on the internet makes me an easy target to ask questions to. For that reason, I took to Instagram (yet again) to have y’all put your questions on the topic in one place so that I am only answering things that you actually want to know about and, therefore, not exposing more of myself than I care to. My hope is that you’ll understand. 

As for these pictures, I could show their faces without hesitation since many of them are still friends/were only ever friends, but I thought it made this funnier and maybe added a bit of intrigue. In short, I probably think I’m a lot funnier than I am. I also figured you wouldn’t want to be overwhelmed by a blog post without photos.

So why are we referring to them as boys? In our house, my roommate and I call them “sirs.” We can’t automatically assume they are men since some probably aren’t that mature (no offense), but “sirs” has become code among our friends that maybe this could be a guy you’re potentially interested in. Keyword, maybe. 

Have you had a boyfriend?
I have not technically had a boyfriend, although I’ve been in situations where I’ve been going on dates with the same guys for long enough that it probably would’ve been a lot easier to just classify them as a boyfriend. I’m the type that takes forever to make up my mind, so in most situations, I am the one dragging my feet, which I’m sure is a really endearing quality, ha. 

Have you had an overall good experience with dating?
I have. 

Do you worry about finding someone?
I don’t worry so much about finding someone as I do finding the right someone. As I mentioned above, it takes me a while to make a decision, and a lot of that time is spent overthinking things. So, deciding that someone is the right one will likely be a challenge for me.

Do you use dating apps?
I don’t. I’ve never downloaded any of them but know plenty of people have success with them. Heck, my brother met his wife on one! At the moment, they aren’t really something I’m interested in downloading, but that’s not to say later on down the road I might not be curious. My brother was persistent in trying to get me to download one over Christmas since he was adamant that it expanded the number of people you’re exposed to, which seems to be the purpose of the apps, but that didn’t intrigue me enough to take action. 

Advice for dating apps? // Dating app experiences? // How to take apps seriously?
See above. 

Any pre-date advice?
Having a date on your calendar and being able to look forward to it is fun, but then a few hours before it comes, I start to question everything I know about socializing. I feel like that’s a pretty normal feeling since many times, you’re going on dates with people you only distantly know or know of. My friend Macy and her roommates started the tradition of taking a shot before going on dates, and it has somehow trickled into our household. While most of the time we opt to not actually take the shot and have a glass of wine while getting ready instead it’s always funny when you come home to find a shot waiting for you or have it delivered to you while getting ready if my roommate is home before I leave. While yes, taking a shot is dramatic and unnecessary, it’s more of the lightheartedness that comes with the tradition that eases the nerves. We like to say that the worst-case scenario of any first date is that you may have a good story to tell later. 

What should I wear on a first date? 
Chances are you’re probably grabbing drinks or dinner somewhere on a first date. Hopefully, this is occurring at a place that is casual but still nice. Side note: Once on a first date, the guy had told my friend that he made reservations at the nicest/hardest to get reservations to James Beard award-winning restaurant in Birmingham, and I quickly told her to tell him that was way too intimidating. So, if this is the situation you’re in, then I’m sorry and don’t follow my outfit advice below because that’s stressful, and I don’t know what to tell you. But usually a cute top and jeans (white in the summer is my go-to) should do the trick. Definitely wear something you’re comfortable in, and according to my roommate’s advice to me before a winter first-date, maybe don’t wear a turtleneck.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on a date?
I really can’t think of anything overly embarrassing, but maybe I’ve just blocked those experiences out altogether. One time I did accidentally take Nyquil instead of Dayquil before a dinner date, and it took everything in me to keep my eyes open. I later told the guy that, so I guess it’s not that embarrassing if I’m willing to admit it.

Best date you’ve ever been on?
I’m having a hard time coming up with what the best date I’ve been on has been since I’m fortunate that most of them have been pretty fun. I like dates that start one place and end somewhere else. So, I always like grabbing drinks at one place and then walking to a restaurant nearby for dinner. I also like it when someone has paid attention to something I’ve mentioned in passing and making plans around that because it seems thoughtful. For example, I once mentioned that I loved the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, and a guy planned a date around us grabbing food and then going to see a showing of the movie at The Alabama Theater. I also enjoy doing activities as well since then you have a guaranteed topic to talk about, so now that I’ve mentioned about three different things, I guess I don’t have one stand-out date experience.   

Worst date you’ve been on? 
So, in all this was not a bad date, it was just kind of a boring date. We met for dinner at a sushi restaurant and ordered one roll and were there for 3 hours. The meal came pretty quickly, so I felt bad that we were taking up space in the restaurant when it seemed clear that nothing else was going to be ordered. I remember being very ready for that date to be over for the sole fact that I was tired of sitting there after that long and was still hungry since my roll only had six pieces. I also don’t know how to use chopsticks, so I had to eat it with a for which is also pretty funny.

Another date that wasn’t necessarily bad but wasn’t my favorite involved a CycleBar spin class. I get relatively competitive with myself and the leaderboard in this type of class, so I was drenched in sweat by the time it was over, and the guy then wanted to go straight from the class to a decently nice wine bar. If you’re going to do something active and then social after maybe choose an activity where you won’t sweat quite as much or reconvene after allowing the person to go home and shower. 

Are there some good dating options in Birmingham? I’ll be in school there in the fall.
I feel like it is definitely easier to meet someone when you already have something such as school in common. Aside from that, I’ve met plenty of great guys here, so I’d say yes, even if I classify most of them as friends. I could see myself dating more of the people I met here than the ones I met when I lived in South Carolina. 

How do you introduce yourself to a guy and not be extremely awkward?
Try to find some common ground. It’s easier to introduce and talk to someone if you have something to talk about. If they are in your class and you see them in the library, ask them what they thought of xyz recent assignment. If this is someone you see at your favorite brewery wearing a shirt from a place you’ve been mention that you love, that should be an easy way to start a conversation. Just don’t overthink it! 

Have you ever ghosted anyone?
Sort of, and I’m not proud of it. I don’t feel like I fully ghosted him since I did thank him for the meal at the end of the date, but usually, I follow up with a text later on saying thank you again. This time I did not do that, and I think he texted me, and I never ended up responding. I wish the story ended there, but instead, he coincidentally (and unknowingly, I would assume) moved into the same apartment complex as me directly across the parking lot. Better yet, his roommate, who I had never met, then messaged me on Facebook messenger saying that they had moved there, and since we weren’t Facebook friends, I assumed it wouldn’t notify him that I had read the message. Well turns out it does so in a way I guess I ghosted that guy too since I didn’t end up responding. Moral of the story, don’t ghost someone because you never know when they may become your neighbor. 

How should you handle ghosting? 
In a perfect world, no one would ghost anyone because it’s not nice and is confusing. I’ve clearly learned from my mistake above. My instinct when you’re the one being ghosted is to come up with something to text them so that if you happen to run into them again out in public (which after being ghosted always seems to be more likely), it isn’t awkward. Maybe say something along the lines of “Hope you’re doing well. I feel a little weird about the way things were left and don’t want it to be awkward if we do happen to cross paths in the future. Hopefully, you feel the same way I do in that there are no hard feelings!” As much as I hate confrontation, I think that people should be called out on ghosting so that hopefully it becomes less of a trend. 

What’s some advice on taking a relationship from easy and light-hearted to deeper and more meaningful? 
Ideally, this would be something that happens naturally. I HATE talking about feelings, so I’m probably not the person to ask this question to, but it could just be that the guy doesn’t know how to bring the topic up so it may work in your favor to weave it into the conversation. 

How do you not feel down/excluded when most of your friends get in a relationship? / How to deal with close friends who desert you when they get a boyfriend? 
Make friends with other people who may not be dating someone or married! It’s nice to have friends of all types, so I would make that a priority instead of focusing on that friend, maybe being more distracted. 

How do you not freak out when people around you are getting engaged? 
I used to think at 25 I would have a lot more of my life figured out than I do, but now I don’t know why I ever thought that would be the case. While this is a perfectly reasonable age for people to be getting engaged and married (this is the south after all…) I personally don’t feel old enough. I love my life the way it is right now and, in a lot of ways, feel too selfish to want to change that. I know these feelings will probably change eventually, but trying to be content with exactly where you are is a good start. 

What do you do when you know a guy isn’t right for a friend? 
Yikes, this is a tricky one. I really don’t have a good answer for this since I haven’t felt the need to step in and express to a friend that the person they are with doesn’t seem like the best match from an outsider perspective. If you are making this judgement without really knowing the guy then I think it would be important to put in the effort to get to know him first since that shows your friend that you've at least tried and have spent time with him making this opinion more valued. I would say then maybe have a one-on-one conversation with her about your concerns, but be sure to phrase those kindly and in her best interest. From there it will more than likely be up to her to really figure things out. 

Alright, I think that’s enough from me on the topic for now! I hope that y’all enjoyed this post and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for another one. In the meantime, enjoy your Friday!

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