One of the hardest parts of growing up is learning to admit when you were wrong. Also paying bills and going to the grocery store alone, but mostly taking responsibility for your actions and then not wallowing in your mistake. As it turns out, I can tell you how to be awesome at commission-based selling, but I can't walk the walk. Honestly, it's been a long time since I've felt as badly about myself as I have since starting this new job. I want to be clear that my negative experience is not at the fault of Nordstrom as a company--they have really great policies and a supportive administrative team, for the most part. Rather, I'm not feeling so capable of meeting the expectations of the company or of myself as a sales associate.


Being the new person at any job is hard. In this particular circumstance, I've been thrown to the lions (Anniversary Sale shoppers) without all the tools and training necessary to survive...er succeed. Retail requires an extra layer of tough skin that I just don't have. Working in non profit, I have gained a sense of strength in dealing with certain difficult and traumatic situations. Where validation and empowerment are crucial in victim advocacy, competition and advancement are the keys to success in retail. Since my long-term goals don't align with Nordstrom's goals for me, I'm quitting while I'm ahead.

As kids, we're programmed not to be quitters. I know my parents would rather me not quit so that I can have a steady job and pay my bills and loans and support myself. While I can't help but feel like I should be grounded for quitting, leaving this job so soon is definitely important for my health and happiness. It's been a while since I've called my parents crying every other day. I'm 22; I don't need to feel stuck in a job that makes me feel bad about myself.  As uncomfortable as it is to quit, it's even more uncomfortable to know that I'm wasting time doing something that isn't right for me.

So what's next? The 97-hours-over-two-weeks schedule at Nordstrom has really kept me from things that I love. I'm going to keep working at the Helpline, keep working for Andy, enjoy time with Dago, my friends and family, and of course Contessa, blog more, and seek out opportunities to find my perfect fit.

I Feel Fine by Everyone Everywhere on Grooveshark

while i'm ahead

Sorry it's been a while, lovelies. Work is hard and really, really time consuming. Who knew? Keep an eye out for a longer letter later on what's been up with me, but enjoy these pretty things in the meantime.

Fluffy Rugs

I, especially the lower half of my body, forgot how hard it is to stand all day during work. My feet have been swollen like a pregnant elephant and all I want when I get off work is to put my feet on something soft. Is that silly? It's the simple things, y'all, and I simply love rubbing my feet on furry, shaggy, deliciously lavish rugs. I'm obsessed with this Urban Outfitters rug (above) and I have an Ikea sheepskin rug beneath my desk as motivation to sit at it.

Neon Soles

When I saw these TOMS last fall, I knew neon soles would be trending in spring. I'm glad I was right because I really dig them. I bought these Madden Girl gladiator sandals for work last week and I have worn them every day since. To take this look into fall, I'm lusting over neon-soled oxfords. The leopard ones are sassy. 


1/2/3/4

 Grown-up Tutus

Last week was a big ole blogging first for me--I won a giveaway! Urban Anthropology held a Shabby Apple giveaway for a $50 gift card and I won it. So exciting. I promptly ordered my most coveted item from the shop, the Tinsel Town skirt. As you can see, it's kind of an upgraded tutu skirt. Look out for posts from me about how to style it and be sure to check out this precious post from Kristine Or Polly rocking the skirt her own way. PS. Kristine Or Polly is holding a Shabby Apply giveaway right now through Wednesday July 25th! Go enter!


Hair-Growth Inspiration


When it comes to self control, growing my bangs out is among the most difficult things I've done. Once upon a time, I had luscious mermaid hair and it was wonderful. Every time my bangs get wonky or greasy or my hair throws a temper tantrum, I look at these photos and remember what I'm working towards. Julie over at Orchid Grey has a great post on growing out your bangs that I've found super helpful in desperate times.


And lastly, my heart goes out to all of those affected by the shooting in Aurora. There's a neat post I saw going around on Facebook asking Christian Bale to visit the injured children in the hospital dressed as Batman. I love what the original poster says about teaching children that heroes really exist, not just the bad guys.


Where's your heart this week?

where my heart is


hair ties and hare ties

a healthy dose of snacking and shopping

work perks: 4th of July drinks and office pups

Dago likes his beer like he likes his women

Life's been good to me lately. I'm working three jobs that I really love and spending as much of my summer as possible with my favorite people. Life is too short to spend it doing stuff you hate with people you don't like. (YOLO?) 
Dream big. Make changes often. Never settle.


Follow along on Instagram @nicolahearts!

instagrins

Thanks to an awesome aunt who supported my shopping habits from a young age, I am a pro-thrifter. She has accompanied me on many a thrifting adventure around Austin and tiny towns across Texas in search of thrifty treasures. Since friends ask me all the time how to be better thrift store shoppers, here are my top ten thrifting tips. Use them wisely and often!

1. Ask if there are any specials going on.
 Lots of thrift stores have a color or sticker system where certain items go on super sale depending on the day. On one particularly lucky blue sticker day, I scored my favorite leather jacket for $3 from an initial $19.

2.  Map it out. My aunt always starts on the right side of a store, makes her way to the sale section in the back, finds a fitting room if necessary, travels back up the left side of the store, and checks out. Rather than zig-zagging through sections and missing things, she makes sure to see it all. I usually prefer to start on the left side myself, but sometimes, if the store is really big, I'll pick a few sections I want to hit up and make a beeline between them.

3. Make a list. Because I'm a shopping addict, I always have a running list (or several) on my phone or computer of pieces I want to eventually add to my wardrobe. Having a list available when I'm thrifting can help me feel less overwhelmed and keep me on track to buy things I need. Impulse buying isn't as hurtful to your bank account when it occurs in a thrift store, but you still may end up with something that hangs in the back of your closet rather than an item you can wear all the time.

4. Use the 3 outfit rule. Trying to decide if the black backless lace dress is worth the price? Fell in love with a polka dot maxi skirt, but can't picture it in your closet? Before buying something that isn't a staple piece in your wardrobe, decide whether or not you can wear it at least three different ways. Again, no one wants to waste money (even thrift store prices) on something that's going to hang in the back of their closet forever. Think about both basics and accessories that can be paired with the item to make it a little different and wearable for every occasion.

5. Think ahead. Just because it's swimsuit season now doesn't mean you won't need that furry vest in a few months. Most thrift stores try to stock up on clothes for the present or upcoming season, but finding  out-of-season pieces can often result in a price drop. While I love to be able to wear things I buy as soon as possible, it's also exciting to have something to look forward to wearing when the next season hits. 

6. Donate often. Not only does this clear room in your closet for more items, but I absolutely believe in thrifting karma. If I don't make some awesome pieces available to someone who will truly cherish them, how can I expect to find my own treasure? Also, this can help you build a relationship with the store owners or sales people who can keep you in mind when sorting through new stock or knock off a few cents at the register.

7. Shop outside your section. Being the small-busted girl that I am, finding fitted blazers has always been a disaster for me. Coincidentally, little boys' blazers fit me like a dream. Granted, my shopping in the little boys' section usually leads to some awkward questions from other shoppers about the age of my "little one," but I'd say it's totally worth it for a perfectly fitted navy blazer any day. Shopping for flannel? Check out the men's shirt section. Are your feet on the small side? It doesn't hurt to browse through girls' shoes for a pair you would have missed otherwise.

8. Try it on anyway. I have passed up some really cool clothes because I didn't bother to try them on. Not your size? Not necessarily. Just like sizes vary between brands now, sizes definitely vary between decade. Plus, buying something at a thrift store price leaves you a little extra cash to have items tailored to fit you better. It is missing a button or the zipper is broken? Show it to the cashier and they will most likely discount it for you. You will never know until you try.

9. Don't forget to accessorize! I am notoriously terrible at remembering to look at accessories when I shop, no matter where I am. Retail stores often overprice their jewelry, handbags, scarves, etc., so I've grown accustomed to ignoring those items until I really need them. Thrift stores, on the other hand, tend to under-price accessories. When I remember to check out the scarves or earrings before I head to the checkout, I'm able to find a handful of neat items for the same price as one statement necklace at a regular store.

10. Bring hand sanitizer. Let's be honest, thrift stores have a certain...smell that lingers after you've moved on with your day. Whether you're going out to lunch or to the next thrift store, no one likes to have dirty hands. Just keep a little bottle in your bag and wash up before you continue on your thrifting adventure.

*Images via Pinterest

top ten thrifting tips

It's July 4th week, y'all! What's better than a little goodness from around the Internet?

Tina and Amy




When it comes to things I believe in, Sisterhood is number one. Unlike a lot of domains in society and media, comedy has always been a place where women support each other instead of tearing each other down. The "why can't we all succeed?" mentality has kept me level-headed and allowed me to form incredible relationships with the women  in my life.

For me, Tina and Amy are fierce, fabulous comediennes on their own, but together, they have taken over the world of comedy. They, alongside other hilarious sisters, have smashed standards for how a woman has to look, speak, and act in order to succeed in comedy or anywhere else.

Waffles



I mean, they're waffles. Is there anything else to say? Like the cubist cousin of the tortilla, waffles are a delicious canvas for toppings. While my personal favorites will always be slathered in butter and maple syrup, I make a mean Nutella waffle and I'm on a search for the best fried chicken and waffles in Austin. Have a suggestion? Bring it.

Nora Ephron (1941-2012) Quotes





I'll let these speak for themselves. If you're a fellow lover of Nora, check out this poignant piece circulating by Lena Dunham. Also, this heartfelt tweet from Steve Martin:


Necktie Blouses





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It might be hot-hot-hot outside, but that doesn't mean my tank tops are appropriate for most inside places. Necktie blouses are so easy because they have all the makings of a tank top with the dressings of a much fancier article of clothing. Since I've been interviewing like a mad woman lately, I just slip one into a solid pencil skirt for a breezy-yet-professional look. I want one in every color. 

Cats...in Refrigerators

Oh, you asked for cold cuts, not cold cats. Meow bad.

Have a fabulous week!

all images via Pinterest

where my heart is



chambray: Delia*s (similar) // skirt: F21 (similar) // pearls: Nordstrom Rack


Since graduating in May, I have been a crazy wreck applying to and interviewing for jobs. In two months, I have considered careers in copywriting, bridal sales, napping, wardrobe consulting, and kitten snuggling. I have applied for positions blogging about products ranging from cell phones and online shopping carts to local boutiques and ethical fashion ventures. After considering my options and pouting relentlessly at my poor bank account, I have excitedly accepted a full time position in the t.b.d. section at Nordstrom.

While retail sales aren't exactly where I saw myself after spending four years earning an English Writing and Rhetoric degree, I'm really looking forward to working with high-end clothing and fashion-oriented customers. (Plus, there is nothing bad about discounted Citizens of Humanity!) Who knows, maybe in a couple of years I'll be a buyer for Nordstrom. Wouldn't that be cool?

fashionably hired

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