link love

Friday, February 5, 2016


Well hi, y'all! I feel like I've been a little quiet around here lately, but it's always weird as a blogger to know if you feel that too. I promised a Wednesday post that didn't get finished due to a surprise stress sick I developed on Tuesday. I haven't put up a link love post in a month. I've been low on energy and low on words. But I'm here today! I'm still kickin' y'all! I have so many cool links saved up that it just felt selfish not to share, so here we are!

♥ First things first: Some of you may know that Dago's mom was diagnosed with colon cancer over Christmas of 2014. After 14 months of surgery, chemo, and fighting, she got the news that that she is cancer free and ready to get back to her life. She is the strongest person I have ever met, and cancer is just one of the battles she's overcome with grace, faith, and gumption. However, the financial strain has been devastating over the last year. We had a lot of requests to start a GoFundMe so that people could support her in overcoming the last of this battle, and yesterday Dago went ahead and put that together. I don't typically put this sort of thing, something so personal to my family, out on the blog, but I wanted to share the link with y'all because she is so fiercely important to me, and that's what this space it for. To those of you who have showed your support on Twitter or via text already, I can't thank you enough. Okay, enough mushy stuff (for now!).

♥ Can we talk about a blogger who has just stolen my whole heart? Katie is kind, authentic, funny, and the best dressed girl on the block. Give her a follow, y'all. You won't regret it. (Okay, maybe that wasn't all the mushy stuff. I have a lot of feels, y'all.)

♥ I'm a rare kind of early adopter. I sign up for everything as soon as it's in beta, basically, but don't always commit to using it. In particular, I'm bad about keeping up with apps that make it easy to get great music, podcasts, etc. on the reg. I'm finally using Spotify regularly, after getting an early invite yearsandyearsandyears ago. Thankfully, Kristabel has a playlist for every occasion! What are you listening to and loving lately?

♥ Oh, and speaking of podcasts, Katrina has three great pod suggestions for bloggers!

♥ Something a little sad, a lot hilarious, and totally concise.

♥ More enamel pins for your wishlist, because duh.

♥ Is it too late for a fur scarf? Kimi makes me want one, like, yesterday.

♥ Do you watch The Bachelor? Dago and I are watching for the first time this season, and we're totally sold. This open letter to Bachelor Ben Higgins has all the feelings you've been feeling but haven't put into words.

♥ I'm still trying to limit my shopping this month, but here are a few things I have in my cart: these perfect-for-spring earrings, this put-it-on-me-now dress, these throw-on-and-go flats, these great-for-Galentine's gifties, and these from-bridesmaid-to-brunch shoes.

the achiever

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

blue blazer gold blouse1 blue blazer gold blouse2 blue blazer gold blouse6 blue blazer gold blouse3 blue blazer gold blouse5
blazer: hand-me-up from my brother (similar) // blouse: Forever 21 (very similar) // jeans: Gap Factory // shoes: LuLu*s (love these) // scarf: thrifted (last seen here) // bag: Old Navy

Want to hear a fact about me that will literally surprise no one? I always wear a blazer to my annual review. Even to my former barista job. I get so absurdly nervous before a review that I always feel like my stomach is going to fall out of my butt. Not because I think I've done a bad job; I'm really confident in my work! I just can't help but worry that I'll be blindsided with news that I'm actually not as good at my job as I've thought, or, worse, that I'm no longer valuable in my role.

Over the weekend, I was on a work retreat and I convinced everyone to take The Enneagram. If you're not familiar, this is one of those personality tests similar to Myers-Briggs that tells you some interesting stuff about your strengths and weaknesses. I'm always interested at work to learn how my personality type can work best with others by really understanding each other on a deeper level, rather than just forcing our own personal strengths on one another.

I was actually surprised by the title of my results: The Achiever. That is, until I started reading the characteristics of my type. Strengths: Optimistic and upbeat, staying informed, good motivator, being able to make things work efficiently, able to recover from setbacks and charge ahead to the next challenge. These are great and all, but what really struck me was how deeply I identified to my challenges: the fear of not being -- or not being seen as -- successful, struggling to hang on to my success, comparing myself to people who do things better (even if not my own thing), and being exhausted from always being "on." Man, that last one is really the kicker.

I've always been a person who worked harder than everyone else. Not in a "first to arrive, last to leave" sort of way, but in an "I need to have three jobs in three different fields in order to be satisfied" type of way. I was over-curriculared in high school between theatre, speech, choir, and other activities I picked up along the way. In college, I was a full-time student with three different jobs at any given time. Even once I graduated, I felt like I couldn't just stick to one thing. Now, I'm an Editor by day, podcaster by night, and blogger by every minute in between. And, if you know me well, then you've definitely heard me consider taking on a side gig too when I see an opportunity that I think I'll find enjoyable.

A hard truth I faced this weekend is that I am afraid if I stop being "on" for even a minute, I'll lose my success. Friends have been suggesting for the last few months that I should take a blogging break, since I can't remember the last time I did. I had a decent-sized meltdown a few weeks ago when I picked up a few writing assignments for a new project and, as literally as one can, ran out of words. I fought the idea of taking a break so hard. This is a space I love! Won't I be irritable or anxious without putting energy into creating content? But, I realized, what is more honest is that I'm afraid that a week off will result in losing you. Losing a sponsor. Missing out on an opportunity. Being seen as inconsistent or losing my balance.

It's in my nature to want to be stable, dependable, responsible, and, most of all, successful. I love hitting publish on a post and seeing it go live the next day. Watching comments to come in on a blog post or likes on an Instagram photo is my modern version of receiving words of affirmation from people who find value in what I do. I want, need, so deeply to be valuable to people.

But I also know that I can't be valuable to everyone, and I can't be valuable to anyone if I run myself into the ground. It's almost silly -- this is a lesson I've had to learn again and again and again. Like, at least six agains, if not probably way more. Having such a visceral reaction to reading "finds being 'on' all the time exhausting" was enough for me to recognize that I need to take a step back. I'm not going anywhere, but I've got to be a little more realistic and gentle with myself regarding success. Funny enough, all of these realizations parallel perfectly with my New Year's resolutions!

I'm so interested to know what your Enneagram type is! I linked to the free test above, and it's a quick one you can take when you need a break from responding to emails. If you happen to be a Type 3, The Achiever, like me (and like Dago, coincidentally), how can we be better? (Gosh, isn't that such a Type 3 thing to say!)

february | small goals

Monday, February 1, 2016

small goals february
Whew. We made it. Was January more of a tornado than a whirlwind start to the year for anyone else? It started off strong, sure, but quickly spiraled kind of out of control for me. I put too much on my plate, and I didn't take enough time for me to be well. I am readyreadyready for a new month. Before I can officially usher in February, let's say goodbye to January by seeing what I checked off my goals list!

1. plan a bridal shower | done...twice? I did plan a bridal shower, but after talking to the bride more about the guest list, we decided on something smaller, so those plans sort of went out the window. I have a new plan and a date set, but haven't taken action on the specifics (made a reservation, bought gift bags, etc.) because it's a little too far in advance. Next step: invitations!
2. make headway on our guest bathroom | I've got a plan that you should stay tuned for, oh, this Wednesday? So excited to share! I've already ordered a few pieces and have a little more shopping to do, but it's coming along nicely!
3. no clothing purchases | alright, so I mentioned in my January budget post that I did technically purchase a pair of shoes for Valentine's Day. Here's why I'm not counting this as a fail on my goal: I used a Visa gift card that I received from work, so not my "own" money, and 2. I would have waited until February to buy them, but as a blogger, I needed to be able to take the photos ahead of time in order to share here. (#bloggerproblems) I really didn't miss shopping very much for most of the month, but I had a very sad spurt at the end of the month which usually would have been an excuse to shop. I was strong and didn't give in!
4. give our apartment "gym" a try | done! I *did* go, even if it was only one time. January kicked my butt, but I'm going to make more time to exercise because I can tell that I feel worse when I don't.
5. pick up some watercolors | done! I'm in LOVE! Expect to see a lot more watercolor fun from me in the future, but here are a few little paintings I did this month: one, two, three.

Starting off 2016 strong with 5/5! I'm honestly shocked that I finished anything when I was feeling so overwhelmed and crummy, but I think I at least set myself up for success from the beginning of the month by getting supplies, making a strong schedule, and sticking to my guns. Now, if only I can keep it up for February!

1. meal plan every week | the current challenge with intuitive eating that I've been working through is grocery shopping. I tend to not buy enough food, either for home or for work, but meal planning has been helping me do a better job. I hope to make it a weekly habit in February!
2. add clothing item tags to blog posts | this is something I've been wanting to do for a while. I'd love to be able to link to all the times I've worn my Sam Edelman booties, for instance, instead of just using a "booties" tag or tracking down every relevant post each time I need it. Fran does this, and I love that I can see how many times and ways she's worn a particular item, especially over the years!
3. design and order new business cards | I'm going to a blogging conference in Houston at the end of February (more on this soon!), and I need updated business cards for the blog, as well as a stack for the podcast! Gotta get that Moo order in ASAP for them to come in on time!
4. mail Valentine's to people I love | making Valentine's is one of my favorite yearly traditions, but for some reason I've never mailed any to my far-away friends! Excited to get crafty and send some love through the mail.
5. do my taxes | this is pretty self-explanatory. I just want to get it done as early as possible this year!

Made a few of your own small goals for February? Add your link below, mention this link-up in your own post, and check out what everyone else has on deck for the next month!

what i bought in january

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Nicole, you weren't supposed to shop in January!" Hold your horses, and I'll explain!

what i bought january

After I wrote my What I Bought in December post, but before January 1, I went to Old Navy one last time to see if there was anything I needed. I'm glad I went, because this Old Navy sweater has been worn about once a week since I bought it. See? Not actually a January purchase!

Additionally, I did mention that these grey flats (which have been on my wishlist forever) have been back-ordered for a few months and finally became available on January 5. I put in my order on December 31 (I tried to wait for a New Year's sale, but one never showed up), but I technically purchased them before January as well.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen that I did make one purchase this month. I had intended to wait and make this purchase in February, but the way things worked out with the Valentine's feature I'm working on, I realized that I actually needed to take photos before then and therefore needed to make an order ahead of time. Whew! Luckily, I received a gift card from work so that I could get these pretties:

what i bought january2

A little impractical? Sure. Some of the most beautiful and Valentine's-appropriate shoes I've ever seen? Most definitely. I'll talk more in my goals post about whether or not these count against my shopping freeze. Today is all about the budget!

As you may remember, I've decided on a quarterly budget of $500 for this year. The current quarter is between December and February. Last month I spent $314.77 of that $500. Let's see where I am now!

Old Navy Side-Vent Sweater - $18
J.Crew Factory Suede Amelia Flats - $58.50
Molly Ankle Strap Mid Heeled Shoes via ASOS - $38 (purchased with gift card)

Monthly Total: $76.50
Quarterly Budget Spent: $391.27
Quarterly Budget Remaining: $108.73

Do I have plans for that remaining $108? Why, yes, I do! I intend to buy this J.Crew Factory striped breton tee as soon as my freeze is up. I also noticed this month that I kept reaching for a solid-colored skater skirt that doesn't exist in my closet anymore, so that's on my wishlist for February as well. I'm interested in trying this one and this one, so we'll see how that goes.

As always, I'm linking up with Fran and the budgeting bloggers. Be sure to check out what everyone else bought this month! What did you pick up in January?