Keeping it real, yo.

Hi, friends. I cannot believe it has been so long since my last blog post – more than a year. And while I have been kicking myself for not keeping this blog updated, I look back and see that it was important to distance myself from this blog for awhile as well as what I was writing. I started this blog as an outlet for myself, personally. I got really into fashion blogs and tried to think how I could implement something similar into my own life. I’ve always loved writing and connecting with other people all over the world through the internet, so I quickly got my blog up and running and began writing.

Then I ran out of ideas.

I looked to what others were doing. Honestly, sometimes it was easier to show you guys what type of outfits I was wearing instead of telling you how I was really feeling. I was feeling bored. And you know what? I still feel bored some days.

I’m in my mid twenties, working at a steady job, have an amazing boyfriend, and am SO settled in to a place that feels just like home. All of these positive, amazing things in my life and what do I dwell on? The fact that I don’t deem those things suitable to write about, or express on this blog. So, I blogged about my outfits and random recipes I was trying and totally lost sight of the entire reason I started this blog.

I started this blog to write about my experience in my 20s, after making a huge life decision to move 1,000 miles away from home and embark on what has been a total adventure for me in love and life, and still is everyday. For some reason, I felt like that was less exciting that others my age who are jet setting around the world, having huge career advancements, etc. I fell prey to the cycle of comparison to my peers and let it make me feel like my own life is somehow inadequate and not worthy of writing about. So, I distanced myself from writing and gave myself space, and lately have realized how much I’ve missed it.

I can’t promise anyone anything at this point except myself. Writing is such a good release for me, and there is so much that has been going on in my life that I want to put out there and express because I think – no I know – I am not the only 20something out there feeling lost, or questioning my place in the world, or wondering how to start making career advancements and voicing my thoughts in the workplace. I know I’m not the only one shocked at the fact I actually CARE about where my money is going and am wondering about Roth IRAs and retirement and emergency funds. I know I’m not the only one struggling with how to get from point A to point B when it comes to my dreams and personal goals. And part of the magic of putting these things out there in the past was hearing YOUR stories and experiences. That’s exactly what I want this blog to be – me being candid about my experiences and sharing them with you, and in turn having a sense of community where we can all share our thoughts and experiences on this totally crazy time in our lives.

So here’s what I can promise: from here on out, I’m keeping it real. 100%. I’ll write about my life and my feelings, if nothing else just to look back at this blog at 30 and laugh at myself. I will not try and glamourize my life when I am in fact getting COMPLETE enjoyment from eating a package of oreos while binge watching Netflix in bed for an entire weekend instead of serving some greater life purpose from time to time. I hope I can reconnect with many of you whom I’ve missed so much (seriously, I still read your blogs weekly) and hope you’ll come back to read more. I can’t promise a set posting schedule, but I’ll do my best to write as much as possible.

Here’s hoping you’ll stick with me on this journey. Can’t wait to get talking with you again.

Dorothy, we’re not in college anymore

roadtripIt was 2 1/2 years ago that my college years ended and my adult life began. I had to bid farewell to spring break (and fall break, and winter break, and summer break too), say goodbye to the local bar around the corner where I’d vent to friends about how stressful class was over cheap beer and cranberry vodka cocktails, and say hello to the thing I so very dreaded: figuring out how to grow up and be an adult. In those first few months after graduation when the bliss of realizing I never had to do any homework again in my life faded out and the reality of adulthood started creeping in, I couldn’t help but wish I was back in school slaving over the same essays and projects I’d just been complaining about months before. It’s days like today where I remember those feelings of uncertainty and fear (mixed with a bit of excitement) and wish I could go have a conversation with my 18 year old college graduate self to tell her to suck it up because there are a lot of awesome things in her future.

2 1/2 years ago, I never would have been able to foresee where I am now. I may not be working my dream career, but I’m working to get there, and along the way I’ve developed countless skills and even got a promotion to my first full time salaried position at work (yay!) I’ve already lived in 3 states yet it is in Florida with John that I finally feel I’ve found “home” (mom, if you’re reading, you know Columbus will always be my #1 home). Even better, I’ve finally found the courage to give my photography business a try and I’ve surprised myself with all of the confidence I’ve gained in myself as a result.

As I reflect on all of my major life accomplishments in the past 2 1/2 years alone, I realize how much time I wasted being upset and anxious about the future. And I think that’s one of our biggest struggles as twenty-somethings: somewhere along the way we get so caught up in the transition to adulthood that we forget what our twenties are for. They’re a time for growth, learning and personal development, yet we put tremendous pressure on ourselves to have things all figured out as soon as we get out of college. Instead of taking life day by day and celebrating the small stuff we accomplish along the way, we fixate on the future and get frustrated because we aren’t there yet.

So, I’m making a vow to myself to celebrate the small stuff from now on. As far as I’m concerned, baking a batch of cupcakes without burning them is just as much of a cause for celebration as that great promotion at work.

I want to hear your thoughts:
Have you ever found yourself frustrated or feeling like you aren’t where you want to be in life?
How do you deal with it and remind yourself to appreciate the small stuff?
What was your own transition from college grad to adult like?
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Image found here.

Life through my Lens #2

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The past few weeks have totally flown by, and I can’t believe it’s almost March already. I’ve had plenty of things to keep me busy, from seeing my favorite band Muse live in concert in Tampa, to having a romantic candlelit Valentine’s Day dinner at home. All of the moments captured in the pictures above are great reminders of how beautiful and wonderful life can be. Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on my face is some beautiful sunlight or a kiss on the cheek from the man I love so much. I’m learning to pick up on these things and appreciate them much more, especially when I’m having a rough day. I’m hoping that I can look back on these posts someday and remember all of the great things that were going on in my life at that time, both big and small.

What’s been going on in your corner of the world?
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Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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Yep – you heard that right – cottage cheese pancakes. And although I normally consider myself much more a waffle girl than a pancake girl, this recipe might be giving my beloved waffles a run for their money. John is a very healthy eater, so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that are healthy and flavorful. Imagine my delight when I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest (get the directions at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen) for low carb, high protein pancakes! The end result is moist, light, fluffy goodness that pairs great with some maple syrup. Looks like we’ll all be able to have our (pan)cakes and eat them, too!

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Ingredients (I halved the recipe, double this if you need to!)

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I highly recommend this!)

Recipe instructions found here.
*Note: I used a blender to combine everything. Start by blending cream cheese until smooth, then add all the other ingredients and blend to combine. Add additional flour if needed to thicken the batter.

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John and I both agreed that we’ll be making these pancakes again very soon. With the added cinnamon they almost taste like french toast, which might be why I love them so much. Next time I’d love to top them with strawberries (ok, and some powdered sugar). Also, I tried out Courtney’s tip of using Crisco to grease the pan and it worked great. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you love the outside of your pancakes a little crisper.

What’s your favorite healthy breakfast dish?
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How to wear polka dot jeans (without looking like a 6 year old)

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Top: Target (available in store) | Jeans: Target | Flats: Forever 21 | Bag: Michael Michael Kors (last seen here) | Bracelets: Loft

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – I LOVE edgy fashion trends, but when it comes down to it I almost always shy away from giving them a try. Take leather for example: I couldn’t stop pinning outfits with leather to my pin boards, and I even wrote a post all about leather, but I never invested in any leather pieces for myself. Why? Because I was clueless as to how to wear it and make it fit into my wardrobe. I felt the exact same way about polka dot denim, until I spotted these at my local Target.

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They didn’t originally catch my eye because of their perfection; I was initially intrigued by them because I thought they belonged in the little girls section. The denim was a lighter wash, and the polka dots just reminded me of something I would have worn when I was six. But, I had been swooning over polka dot denim for months (and obsessively pinning polka dot things) so I decided to give them a try. I headed into the fitting room and quickly learned the first rule of polka dot denim: don’t knock it til you try it. Although I was less than impressed with these pants on the hanger, they looked AMAZING on. So, I urge you not to judge your polka dot denim by the hanger alone, try it on instead…you might be surprised!

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As soon as I slipped the jeans on, I learned the second rule of polka dot denim: avoid wearing printed denim with a printed top. But Stephanie, print mixing is HOT right now! I know – but honestly, I haven’t figured print mixing out yet so if you’re new to this I recommend sticking with solid tops. When trying these pants on, I was wearing a striped top, and it was way too much with the printed denim. As soon as I tried on this adorable green blouse, my outfit felt much more polished.

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Lastly, thanks to my new neon cap toe flats (first spotted on Yi-chia at Always Maylee), I discovered the third and final rule of polka dot denim: if you want to make a statement, do so with jewelry or fun shoes. Luckily, I was sporting my new neon cap toe flats when I tried these jeans on and they were the perfect pop of color to complete my outfit. Jewelry and fun shoes are the perfect way to pull your outfit together.

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So, let’s do a quick recap:

  1. Don’t judge polka dot denim based on its hanger appearance alone. Try it on! You’ll probably fall in love.
  2. Don’t pair polka dot denim with a printed top (unless, unlike me, you are super at print mixing).
  3. Use accessories to make a statement. Add a fun pop of color with your shoes or jewelry to give your outfit a little something extra.

What are your outfit-making rules when it comes to polka dot and printed denim?
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PS- John deserves a huge shout out for these pics, and all the outfit post photos on my blog for that matter. John, if you’re reading, I love you! Thanks for putting up with me and always taking photos for me, you’re the best. :)