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Exploring Seattle

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This week I took a much-needed vacation in Seattle. Since I’m originally from the Seattle area, it was more of a “stay-cation” but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t relaxing. My boyfriend Charlie and I stayed in the downtown Courtyard Marriott on South Lake Union which was incredibly nice and close to delicious restaurants and bars. The hotel is located on South Lake Union, so it was lovely to see the gorgeous water and boats around that area.

On Tuesday night, we went to the best barbecue place I have ever had located right by our hotel. The place is called Cask and Trotter. We both ordered barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, fries, and coleslaw. It was absolutely delicious!

On Wednesday, we spent the day wandering around Pike Place Market and the waterfront by the aquarium and Great Wheel. We had lunch at Lowell’s in the market which has the best sandwiches and fish and chips. It’s always a treat to play tourist in your own backyard – you fall in love with your home all over again.

Later that night, we had an outstanding dinner at El Gaucho – one of the fanciest places I’ve ever eaten at and the absolute best service you could possibly imagine.

It was a really amazing few days with the love of my life and I am sad it is over. I’m glad we have such an amazing city right in our backyard to spend a fun “stay-cation” in. I have definitely missed the city and the water! I look forward to spending the summer back in the area and exploring more.

Have you visited Seattle recently? What are some of your favorite spots?

 

Lifestyle

International Women’s Day

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IWD-sliderHappy International Women’s Day everybody! This day is all about raising awareness for equal rights for women across the globe. It is absurd that many women lack basic fundamental rights still today.  All across the world, societies deny women the right to education, to vote, and even to their own bodies.

The fight for equality still persists even in the United States. Women face discrimination in their personal and professional lives every day. It is hard for me to articulate the importance of this cause, so I hope that the images and videos below help inspire and empower all those who see them.

I hope this sparks conversation and thought in everyone who reads this post – this issue affects all of us.

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Lifestyle

5 Months to 10k

5 months to 10k running series

5 months to 10k running seriesFor the longest time, I have struggled with my health. From chronic pain to daily migraines to asthma – I can’t seem to get a break sometimes. One of my main health issues is called Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). It causes extreme widespread chronic pain throughout the body – for me it is manifested mainly in my legs and hands. The only treatment (because there is no cure) is physical therapy. Staying active is my key to remaining as pain-free as possible.

My mom ran marathons like crazy before her cancer and other medical problems became too much for her to remain at that level. I know she misses running so much, so I would love to share that passion with her and make her proud by taking advantage of how healthy I am now. The picture below is just a small section of her vast running book collection. I also want to conquer my stupid health problems by completing a massive physical goal. Since I struggle with staying active and managing my pain, I wanted to set a concrete goal I could work towards in the new year.

Running booksI’ve always said I would run a marathon someday and I’m determined to do that. Now, don’t worry, I’m not being foolish and saying I’m going to just get up and run a marathon this year. I know people train for years for them and I should set a realistic goal. What I want to do is run a marathon the summer of 2016, so my resolution this year is to run a 10k!

I will be running that Fred Hutch Shore Run on June 7th, 2015. I chose this run for many reasons, but mostly because it benefits cancer research – something very near and dear to my heart.

It’s not going to be easy going from where I am at now physically to where I want to be for the 10k. But what worth having has ever come easy? I have 5 months to get in shape. I can’t wait to start this journey! I hope you enjoy following along with my “5 Months to 10k” series!

Have you ever run a 10k or marathon? I’d love to hear your experience! Nike Running Shoes (1 of 1)5 months to 10k

Lifestyle

The BEST Secret Spinach Smoothie

The best secret spinach smoothie square

The best secret spinach smoothie recipeIf you’e like me, you struggle to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. I developed a delicious smoothie recipe to make daily to get you 1. 5 cups of fruit, 2 cups of spinach, and a whole lot of protein. According to Chose My Plate (a government nutrition site), women ages 19-50 are supposed to get 2.5 cups of vegetables and about 2 cups of fruit. How awesome is it that with ones simple smoothie, you can almost meet those requirements? It’s a delicious blend of sweet and tart that will leave you satisfied and full. I promise you won’t taste the spinach at all!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 tbsp. chia seeds

1-1.5 cups almond milk

2 cups frozen mixed berries (I used raspberries and blueberries for this recipe)

1 banana

2 cups spinach

 

Directions:

Add ingredients and blend until liquid. Add frozen berries to thicken or almond milk to thin. Pour in a glass and enjoy!

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Lifestyle

2014 Year in Review

If you had told me this time last year how far my blog would take me, I would have rolled my eyes and told you you were crazy. I know it’s cliche to say this, but I never imagined how incredible this year would be. So many things have changed in my personal and professional life and it’s amazing to have those captured in the form of my blog. In total, I received nearly 134,000 views from 120 different countries in my first year of blogging. I never imagined I could reach that many people.

I need to say thank you to all of the people who have helped me along the way. To all of the bloggers out there that I leaned on for support and guidance when I first started off – thank you for being patient with all of my questions and dedicating so much time to helping me. To my friends and family who believed in me even when they didn’t really understand what this blogging thing was, thank you. To my readers who came back every week to check up on my site and engaged so much with me in comments and social media, thank you. To all of the brands that took a chance on a young blogger like myself, thank you. I could not have done this without the support of so many different people and I am eternally grateful for each and every one of you.

Overall, my blog has just been an incredible blessing. I am so happy to have found a way to channel my adoration for fashion, passion for writing, and creative flair into a productive and cohesive format. I have had incredible opportunities to get my foot in the door with major fashion brands. I have learned what it takes to conduct myself professionally online and create a solid brand for myself. I have created relationships with other bloggers that have been invaluable sources of comfort and guidance. Finally, and most importantly in my opinion, I have learned how to handle crushing rejection with grace and incredible success with humility.

This year was the tip of the iceberg. I can’t help but feel that I’m on the cusp of something massive. I have an amazing way to channel my personality and passions while developing professional skills at the same time. This past year, blogging has brought me so much joy – I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the year to come.

Beauty Fashion Lifestyle

Birthday Wishlist

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birthday list
Fashion Lifestyle

Theta Winter Formal

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IMG_7164This past Saturday was my sorority’s winter formal. It was a absolute blast and such a special night as it was mine and my boyfriend’s first formal together. Even though we’ve been together for over two years, we’ve never been able to attend a formal together because we went to different universities. Since my transfer, we’ve been able to do so many things we couldn’t before. It’s been an incredible joy to share these things with him. We spent the night laughing and dancing – falling in love with each other all over again. It was a perfect night!

The dress I’m wearing is BY FAR my favorite dress I’ve ever owned. You can get it at The Flaunt Shop for only $60 here! Such a steal for such a gorgeous dress. I felt like a princess! I also wore my Luxy Hair extensions so that I could really feel like a mermaid. With my Jessica Simpson pumps (similar here), the look came together perfectly. My handsome boyfriend is wearing a charcoal Alfani suit and a gray/silver Calvin Klein tie.

IMG_7142IMG_7165IMG_7131This dress was asctually too perfect! I can’t wait to wear it again!

Lifestyle

Surviving Finals with The Classy South!

Surviving Finals

Surviving Finals

I’ve teamed up with Corbin from The Classy South to bring you the best finals week survival guide. She covered study tips while I focused on de-stressing techniques. Be sure to head over to her blog to check out her helpful advice!

We all know that final exams can be overwhelmingly stressful, so I figured I’d offer up some simple things you can do to relax.

Make a Check-List

Crossing items off your list is so satisfying and will keep you motivated to keep going. It will also help you plan out your time so you can manage when to study and when to schedule in breaks. For every hour of studying, schedule in fifteen to thirty minutes to relax.

Drink Water & Tea

Staying hydrated is the key to staying on focus while studying but will also improve your overall health. When you take care of your body, your mind will be at ease.

Listen to Your Favorite Music

Blast a little Sam Smith, Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran or whatever will help keep you calm and focused. Whatever your jam is, play it. It will boost your mood and you’ll probably end up singing along with a big smile on your face.

Have a Dance Party

When you just can’t hold it in any longer, let it out through a crazy dance party. Shake it off T-Swift style and you’ll instantly notice those nerves vanishing.

Take a Hot Bath/Shower

When you’re stressed, your muscles become tense and knotted. Feel the stress melting away in a nice hot bath or shower.

Work Out

Exercise releases endorphins which will boost your energy and mood. It’s one of the best things you can do for your mind and body.

Bake Cookies

Sometimes you have to indulge a little bit when you’re stressed beyond belief. Nibble on some cookie dough, get some studying in while they bake, and then savor every bite while your worries drift away.

Hug it Out

There’s nothing better when you’re stressed out than a huge embrace from a loved one. There is so much emotional comfort found in physical touch.

This Positively

One grade is not (most likely) going to change your life. For the most part, you already know what you know. You’ve worked all semester learning this stuff. If you think you’re going to do well, you’re more likely to do well. Remember that life exists beyond school and there are far more important things in life than grades. And above all, know that you are amazing and brilliant, no matter what happens.

Look at Pictures of Cute Animals

When all else fails, look at baby puppies. I did you not, looking at pictures of cute animals is scientifically proven to improve your mood and reduce stress. To get you jump started, here’s some pictures of mine and my boyfriend’s puppy, Darwin.

 

Lifestyle

Six Books Every Undergraduate Woman Needs to Read

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five books

1. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Tina Fey’s memoir will make you laugh out loud and question her sanity. Just kidding about that last part – you will realize (if you haven’t already) what a complete genius she is. Be inspired by her resilience, humble beginnings, and secrets to success, all in Tina’s witty, raw voice.

2. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

There’s no question that Lena Dunham is known for her refreshing and honest voice. This collection of her essays shed light on her struggles and triumphs both professionally and personally. Her stories are hilarious, heartbreaking, cringe-worthy, and above all, ones we can all relate to.

3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling’s memoir is honest and hilarious. She walks readers through every step of her life – goofy pictures of her younger self included. You will feel like Mindy’s best friend after reading this.

4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

More serious than the rest of the books on this list, Lean In focuses on professionalism and success in the workplace. This book has given me personally so many tools that I have used already in the workplace. It will give readers tangible and concrete strategies to implement while climbing up to the career of your dreams.

5. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The long-awaited memoir by Amy Poehler will leave you with your sides aching from laughter. Amy’s wise words permiate these pages and wind themselves through stories, lists, pictures, and even poetry.

6. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

This is also on the more serious side as Sophia Amoruso – the CEO of Nasty Gal – discusses her road to success. Be inspired creatively, intellectually, spiritually, and professionally by her story. If you are interested in entrepreneurship, feminism, fashion, business, or just kicking ass in general, this is a read for you.