As an avid blog reader, I love when bloggers do recap posts. For the blogs I've loved and faithfully followed all year, I enjoy looking back on times we've shared together (and by that, I mean things they've posted that made me feel close to them). For blogs I just started following, it's nice to play catch up on everything I missed before discovering their beautiful square of Internet.

Since I didn't do an awesome job at posting outfits this year, I'm going to just list my favorite posts from the 2012. Some are outfits, many are thoughts on growing up in the context of style, pop culture, graduating, and  relationships. If you're new to these parts, I hope you'll find a post you can hold close to your heart and if you've followed all along I hope you re-find words that helped you smile or feel not so alone.

A few of my favorite posts on the blog from the past year:

therapy vol. 1

Also, since you're here, it would be so helpful to me if you could take this little reader survey about your experience with my blog!

best of 2012: writes like a girl + reader survey

Solange is not just Beyoncé's little sister anymore. She's a full-fledged hipster pop star and fashionista in her own right. Recognized by fashion and music industry big wigs, Solange had an awesome year in 2012. Designers love her for her fearless attitude towards print and for her affinity towards high-contrast colors like citrus and white. I love her for constantly playing up her favorite features: her long legs, natural hair, and a bold lip. While she's been vibrant in her fashion, I feel like I don't hear a lot from Solange herself, so I'm hoping to hear more from the woman behind the wardrobe in 2013.

ETA: Solange is so fashionable, in fact, that she her outfits from the Losing You video have been made into a paper doll!

Missed the previous installments? Check Part One and Two

best dressed of twenty-twelve: solange knowles

Kelly has grown into quite the fierce woman. What used to be rebellious punk rock little girl with daddy issues has become fashion-forward, outspoken, and totally fabulous. I've loved her appearances on RuPaul's Drag Race because she committed to the challenges and she was truly excited to be a part of the show and of drag queen culture. Kelly not only knows how to style herself, but she's vocal about other celebrity fashion alongside legendary Joan Rivers on Fashion Police. No matter how much flack she gets from commentaries and her mother about her hair, she does what she wants. I love that. (And I love the color. Do you think I could pull it off?)

Missed yesterday's installment? Check out Part One!

best dressed of twenty-twelve: kelly osbourne

How can you have a best dressed of 2012 and not include Emma Stone. I mean, Emma Stone, am I right? Girl knows how to wear her clothes and her color. There may be less-flattering silhouettes on Miss Stone, but I'm not sure what they are because she knows how to dress her body impeccably. From tip to top, she doesn't cop out on her shoes, accessories, or hair like a lot of her starlet peers. With the release of The Amazing Superman this year and grabbing up awards form The Help, Emma was all over red carpets in 2012. These posts are focusing only on red carpet fashion, but Emma is one of my favorite streetwear celebs too for her cozy layers and her sharp staples.

best dressed of twenty-twelve: emma stone

I may not know much about Christmas traditions, but I hope at least part of your day looks like this.
Merry Christmas, dear readers!

comfort + joy

5. Mad Men // 5x1 // A Little Kiss
Spoiler Summary: It's Don's birthday! And Megan wants to celebrate (even if Don doesn't). In an iconic Mad Men moment, Megan performs Zou Bisou Bisou for Don and their party guests. Earlier in the episode, we learn that Megan is unhappy working at SCDP. Megan does not want to be Peggy, who fights through her own frustrations at the company when Heinz overlooks her brilliant pitch because she's a woman. Across town, Joan is struggling as a single mom and fears she may be replaced at work when a joke advertisement goes out in the paper that SCDP is an "equal opportunity employer." Apparently, no one got the joke, because half of New York's Black population showed up to apply for work the next day. Lane decides to interview the female applicants as secretaries, in an attempt to salvage the situation. (Oh, and Megan Draper ends the episode by cleaning the floors at chez-Draper like a sexual deviant.)
MVP of the episode: Megan Draper
Character I didn't love as much until this episode: Megan Draper
Favorite scene:

4. Pretty Little Liars // 3x13 // This is a Dark Ride
Spoiler Summary: The little liars are invited, with the rest of Rosewood, to a Halloween-themed train ride. Adam Lambert may guest star in this episode, but the real excitement came from the liars' costumes: Spencer as Marie 'Slim' Browning, Aria as Daisy Buchanan, Hanna as Marilyn Monroe, and Emily as Barbarella. The liars get on the train, but aren't expecting the A-team to be aboard. Mona and her cohorts pick off the liars one by one. Aria is drugged and put in a box that is meant to fall off the train. While searching for her, Spencer is attacked by an A-teamer and later saved by Paige. Away from the train, a small spooky ghost girl (seen back in season 1) finds her way into Ashley Marin's home as a lost trick-or-treater. There are lots of flashbacks that further the mystery as to whether Allison is even dead/who killed her if she is, but the train ride ends when a body bag spills out of the drink trough.  (Oh, and a hand is shown reaching out of the ground at the end of the episode.)
MVP of the episode: Spencer Hastings
Character I didn't love as much until this episode: Paige McCullers
Favorite scene:

3. 30 Rock // 6x9 // Leap Day
Spoiler Summary: Didn't you know Leap Day is a national holiday? In the funniest 30 Rock episode of the season, the cast is filled with Leap Day good cheer. "Poke your eye, pull your hair, you forgot what clothes to wear," Lutz berates Lemon for not wearing traditional blue and yellow. Kenneth dresses up as Leap Day William and teaches Jack the true meaning of Leap Day. In the words of Criss Cross, "nothing that happens on leap day counts!" Which Jenna and Liz took to mean that they should try to seduce a billionaire for doing "an Internet and now the computers like him." In other news, Tracy finds a $50,000 gift card to Benihana which expires that day and eventually invites a soup kitchen to help him spend it. (Oh, and Liddy Donaghy might "experiment with Liberalism" and grow up to work for Habitat for Humanity if Jack misses her Leap Days.)
MVP of the episode: Kenneth Parcell
Character I didn't love as much until this episode: Tracy Morgan
Favorite scene:

2. Parks and Rec // 5x5 // Halloween Surprise
Spoiler Summary: It's Halloween in Pawnee, but everyone is feeling lovestruck instead of spooky. That is, except for Jerry, who was actually struck with a fart attack heart attack. Ron is falling for Diane, but doesn't exactly treat her daughters like princesses. Donna is in a wild/crazy love affair with Twitter. Ann, after realizing that Tom is not right for her, struggles with defining herself independently from the men she loves while Tom returns to his love of entrepreneurship. Meanwhile. Ben is faced with the decision to move to D.C. for a job or stay in Pawnee with Leslie. Let's just say he makes the right decision. (Oh, and Leslie is dressed as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween.)
MVP of the episode: Ben Wyatt
Character I didn't love as much until this episode: Jerry Gergich
Favorite scene:

1. Girls // 1x7 // Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. The Crackcident
Spoiler Summary: The girls head out to Bushwich for the party of the century. Marnie realizes she made have made a mistake in dumping Charlie, Hannah realizes she doesn't know Adam all that well, Jessa realizes she can't date her boss, and Shoshana realizes that she should be at the front of her kickboxing class. (Oh, and also that she smoked crack.)
MVP of the episode: Shoshana Shapiro
Character I didn't love as much until this episode: Ray Ploshansky
Favorite scene: 

best of twenty-twelve: television episodes

I am not shy about my love for pop music. While other "best of" lists are being topped by obscure bands I've never heard of, I'm celebrating my favorite earworms from the past year. Yes--I still get excited every. single. time. Call Me Maybe comes on the radio and I have even come to accept my love for The Biebs. 

I don't really know if it was a good year for other music (Dago says not really), but I think pop had a pretty great year. Unlike a lot of the pop stars who rule the radio (Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown), I'm legitimately excited to see what all of these artists will bring in the next year. Until then, this is what you'll find on my iPhone and playing in my car.

ten. nine. eight. seven. six. five. four. three. two. one.

best of twenty-twelve: pop music

Around 1 or 2 in the afternoon yesterday, I wanted to post an open question to my readers about their thoughts on the new Instagram terms (see: Instagram ~scandal). But I didn't, because I knew there was more to the story. And I'm glad I waited.

When I came home from my work's holiday party, I had this little article sitting on my Facebook news feed. Like I predicted, there was a miscommunication in the release of the new terms. No, Instagram can't (legally) sell your content to anyone without your permission. Whether you consider your lovely filtered and square-cropped photo under your personal artistic license or not (I do), under the new terms of service, Instagram cannot manipulate your image or sell it to anyone without your permission*.

What it can do, as I learned from Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom's statement posted later yesterday afternoon, is collect data from your usage of the app and use the information to advertise. This means (from what I understand*) that if I like American Eagle and maybe interact with them on Instagram by posting a photo wearing their jeans, Instagram can allow American Eagle to promote my photo to other users--likely my friends--so that they can check out the brand and maybe like it//buy it too. To me, this is not only what Facebook,, Amazon, Google, etc. are already doing, but is a smart business move on the part of Instagram.

The reason I bring all of this up in the first place is a talk about language. Systrom clearly didn't expect the uproar that occurred when his new terms of service were released. Even though the Instagram notice about the change in terms urged users to read the updated agreement, he obviously didn't anticipate the backlash and misunderstanding that struck the Internet afterward. Systrom said himself in his statement that " is our mistake that this language is confusing...We are working on updated language in the terms..." Language is a crucial part of communication. Without the accurate wording of their updated terms, Instagram found itself in a scandal that a lot of its users won't bother to follow up on, meaning the brand will likely lose a chunk of its users and therefore its audience. If you don't say it right the first time, you may not have another opportunity to say it to anyone at all.

Choose your words wisely and say what you mean. Be upfront. Simple words are not stupid words and there is rarely a good excuse to use a 25 cent word over a 5 cent word, especially when your audience varies in background and demographic. This doesn't just apply to politicians and corporations, this is relevant to anyone who communicates ever.

*Until the terms are rewritten to reflect their true meaning, I can only assume things based on the spelled-out, unofficial, claims made in related articles floating around. I am probably adding to the mess of telephone-like misconstrued language, but I think it is nonetheless important to join the conversation and be up-to-date and educated about the technologies I use. I really like Instagram and I don't intend to delete, especially if the terms are as I now believe them to be, which is ethical and harmless.

What are your thoughts on the new terms? Will you be deleting your Instagram account come January?


cardigan: Banana Republic Outlet // shirt: thrifted // jeans & socks: Gap // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar) // watch: Anne Klein // necklace:  Bip & Bop
 Two of the first things I learned upon reading style blogs were the power of plaid and how to layer. Whether I'm dressing to the nines or I'm running late for a nine o'clock meeting, I can count on plaid to look classic and polished and even feel comfortable. If I had all the money in the world, I would buy every plaid top that J.Crew makes. Luckily, since I don't, I can count on thrift stores to sell plaid in colors and sizes I'd never considered.

As for layering, this trick didn't come so easily to me. Bloggers like Blair from Atlantic Pacific seem to wear ten layers of clothing every day--and that doesn't even start to count the jewelry up her arm and around her neck. In a less heavy but more creative fashion, Elsie and Emma of A Beautiful Mess find ways to layer their dresses to really get the most wear for their money. I keep both of these methods of layering in mind when dressing myself, but it sometimes just turns out that I pile half of my closet on at once, which isn't so cute. I haven't perfected my layering mantra yet, but I'm definitely into pattern mixing, unexpected color pallets, and changing up the way a garment is worn (like rolling or buttoning) to make a new item in my closet.

So how do you think I did? I guess putting a cardigan over a button down isn't exactly putting a man on the moon, but I liked how the rolled sleeves of the shirt looked with the cropped sleeves of the sweater and I liked the matching color scheme juxtaposing with different patterns. 

What is your layering mantra? Are you mad about plaid or hot for dots?

preppy plaid + polka dots

Maybe you don't already know this about me, but I love to read personal statements. I have no intention of ever going to grad school, though my pretend personal statement for University of Wisconsin is the best thing I've ever written, and knowing this has given me the insight necessary to write a great personal statement. Or at the very least know what one looks like.

As grad school application deadlines are inching closer, more and more friends have been sending over their statements for a good ole once over. Little did they know, I am a personal statement master and my notes will lead them to writing the perfect personal statement (and getting into their dream school). Or at least to feeling really secure with what they wrote and not feel like they left anything out.

Personal statements are personal, obviously, and editing for content requires close reading and getting to the root of why you want to go to grad school in the first place. Nonetheless, there are a handful of tips that would be helpful to anyone embarking on their personal statement. Here goes:

1. Tell a story. Whether or not your application came with a prompt, it's important to engage your reader. Start off with something that happened to you, in real life, that is somehow relevant to your application. Like with any story, it's a good idea to begin in the middle of the action and always remember to show-not-tell. For non-writers, this means saying My hand shot up before she even finished asking the question instead of It was a Tuesday and I was sitting in my science class. Using a story is a good way to ground the reader in your voice and in your unique personal experience. Does the story your telling have a theme? Even better. You'll use that again later in the essay.

2. Don't regurgitate your résumé. This is the number one mistake I see in personal statements. Remember, the admissions team already has your résumé, likely in the same folder as your personal statement. They already know what you went to school for, what internships you had, and in which organizations you were the president. What is it about these experiences that makes you special? Or that makes you think grad school is the right option for you? Instead of saying that you had an internship with the state where you got to develop your communication and leadership skills, tell them about the time your supervisor called in sick and you had to lead a webinar by yourself. Write about that one social work course you took as an underclassman that made you change your major, but don't just leave it at that. Write about the project on privileged that changed your whole outlook and then connect the experience back to the theme from your opening paragraph.

3. Unpack, unpack, unpack. Don't just say because of my experience or I learned to use active listening skills because this could mean something different to everyone. Show the reader what actually happened. The less vague you can be and the more specific information you can provide, the better.

4. Drip with passion. So you think you want to go to grad school, huh? What if someone told you that you couldn't go? Would you keep reapplying because you know that this particular program at this particular school working with this particular professor is the only way to fulfill your academic goals and achieve your career dreams? If not, don't bother applying because grad school isn't the place for you. Yes, you may be accepted anyway, but if you have any doubt in your mind about what path is right for you, don't go to grad school yet. Your personal statement should burn their hands with how much passion you have for your discipline.

5. Do your research. So you're applying to that one particular program with that one particular professor. Learn what that professor studied in school or what projects they completed that make them the very best resource for you on your path to greatness. Now do this for each, individual school to which you apply.

6. Be explicit. This is probably the hardest thing for personal statement writers. I know it sounds crazy, but you have to literally tell them that you and grad school are soulmates. Not only is this program the only one for you, but you will be the very best addition to their school. Don't wait for your references to talk you up--you have to believe that they would be crazy not to accept you. It is both acceptable and encouraged to say something like I know that my unique perspective and extensive education in _______ will benefit your program and that together we will be able to change the world. Or, you know, something like that.

7. Come full circle. Remember that story you told at the beginning? Please call back to it. If you don't, the whole story was for naught. Did you say something about being a little girl with big dreams in the intro? Finish by writing that your dreams have only gotten greater with age. (Or something way less cliché, but you know what I mean.) Readers like it when they find the title of the book they're reading in their text. By the same token, we all like to feel like we've come full circle by the end of what we're reading. It's like a really yummy funfetti icing on the perfect essay (that will also get you into your dream school.)

how to write the perfect personal statement (and get into your dream school)

Once upon a time, a young woman and a young man had been together a while and the holidays were coming up. The young woman was feeling a little sassy and told the young man that if she couldn't wear her Chanukah gift then she didn't want it. By that, she just wanted to give him a little push in the right direction.

A month or so later, the young woman found a darling handmade jewelry shop on Etsy. Recognizing how difficult she can be to shop for, as far as jewelry is concerned, she Facebook messaged the young man the link with the note "I'm just going to leave this here." Though she had forgotten about her previous conversation with the young man regarding the holidays, she thought he could bookmark the site for a future gift-giving celebration.

On an unseasonable warm Sunday morning, the young man announced that he ordered a piece from the jewelry shop as her Chanukah gift. She felt bad because she didn't mean to pick out her own gift, but she was also excited because she loved everything the little shop had to offer. She had faith that he would choose something special and that mystery would be surprise enough.

On the first night of Chanukah, the young woman and the young man exchanged gifts. When the young woman opened the box for her new watch, a simple gold chain caught her eye in the bottom of the wrapping. She giddily moved the paper to find the most perfect Chanukah giraffe waiting for her inside! She exclaimed with joy, quickly clasped the chain around her neck, and kissed the young man. "Best Chanukah ever," she said.

the story of the chanukah giraffe

coat: Papaya (so old) // skirt: Forever 21 // shirt: Old Navy // shoes & tights: Target // scarf: gifted
 Do you celebrate month-a-versaries? Whether it's my job, my birthday, or my relationship, I love celebrating mini-milestones because they remind me of how special every day is. 12/12/12 marks eighteen months with Dago. He isn't too excited about it, but I'm stoked! We're really strong both in our relationship and in our friendship and I really couldn't be happier. Maybe I'm just the kind of person who will find any excuse to celebrate, but I think it's a pretty big deal.

Anyway, this is what I wore yesterday for our date to (finally) go see Skyfall. I've never seen a Bond movie, but Dago convinced me that I would love them and it seems he was right! Pursuit! Passion! Intrigue! (Tears?)  What better way to celebrate?

one point five

Having a watch is seriously the best. I look at it constantly and I feel like a completely different person with it on. I feel capable, dependable, and even a little elite. Do I know what time it is? Of course I do.

Though I picked the watch out myself, Dago gifted it to me for Chanukah and I am forever grateful to him. Dago is sort of a watch collector; a connoisseur even. He loves Seiko and begged to get one for me for at least a year of our relationship, but those watches just aren't my style. I am officially an Anne Klien girl. My watch has a large round face, easy-to-read but not geriatric-sized numbers, a thin brown leather band, and, best of all, is gold. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect fit if I'd designed it myself. Dago's a little worried that I'm going to wear it out by overusing it. He might be right.

Here are my favorite parts of owning and wearing a watch:

1/ Rolling up my sleeves. Easily my most favorite part of wearing a watch is how cool it looks with my sleeves. Whether it's peeking out of the edge of my cardigan or boldly letting my cuffed chambray sleeve know what time it is, my watch is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit.
2/ Seeing the sparkle. I am notoriously bad about remembering to wear jewelry, especially on my wrists. Now that I have an everyday watch, I can catch a glimpse of shine when I drive, type, and eat. Maybe I can do this bling thing?
3/ Hearing the ticking when I'm falling asleep. Who knew that sound would be so soothing, especially when harmonizing with the purring of my cat?
4/ Telling time. I have always struggled with math and number and, consequently, telling time. Since I've begun wearing a watch on a regular basis, I am able to practice my time-telling skills and actually tell people what time it is when they ask--without looking at my phone!

Are you a watch-wearer? Am I the only one late to this watch party?

watch me fly

photo via my brother's Instagram
Happy Chanukah! I'm a bad blogger and a bad Jew and didn't properly wish you all a warm and bright Festival of Lights, so I'll do so now. Luckily, there are 8 nights of Chanukah, so if I miss the first (and second and third) I can still make good on the fourth! I hope all of your Chanukah dreams come true and that you feel stronger than a Maccabee this holiday season. 

This weekend, I had one of the best Chanukahs in my 22 years of life. First, Dago and I exchanged gifts (post coming soon!) and then humored me and let me drive him to my parents' house. Then we shared exchanged some witty banter with the 'rents and my brother over fajitas and white wine spritzers. I love that my family is pun-loving and a little inappropriate at times because Dago fits right in.

Next we did a little present opening. And by a little, I mean the most and biggest presents I think I've ever gotten. One minute, I was eating leftover guacamole off my finger and the next there are several large, wrapped boxes before me. Like, printer, sewing machine, George Foreman grill large. That's right--my family went hard this year and gifted me right into adulthood. (Thanks Mom, Dad, and Aunt Sandy!!)

All of my awesome presents aside, I was extra excited for my parents to open their gift this year. I pride myself on being a pretty good gift-giver, even with my small (see: non existent) budget. Several months ago, I was blessed with a taste of spiced apple butter made by a local jam fairy called Confituras. I knew immediately that I wanted to buy some for my parents, but decided to wait until closer to the holidays. I kept looking and looking on her website and couldn't find the glorious spiced apple butter anywhere, so I emailed her personally, only to find out that she had none in stock. Oh no. I had to have this spiced apple butter under my parents' Chanukah bush. Luckily, my lovely boss Andy directed me to a quirky downtown convenience shop that sells Confituras and might have some spiced apple butter. I raced over after work and, low and behold, I found the last. remaining. spiced apple butter. in. existence. Score one for the Maccabees.

Oh, and then we lit the menorahs and said the prayers. Because we forgot to do it first. Our b. (What? When you don't do it for a whole year, you forget how to Chanukah!)

check out our hand menorahs! photo from KT
After a little more shmoozing with the Seligmans, Dago and I hopped back in my sleigh (Chevy Cobalt) and hurried down to a real Chanukah party--probably the first in my whole life. Dago proudly holds the title of an honorary Jew and got us invited to the best Festival of Lights celebration in South Austin. There was latkes and rap music and Shiner Cheer and the sweetest challah made from fresh eggs. It was definitely a festival to be remembered.

And just for good measure, here's a photo of me and Dago with Santa.

What did you do (or are you planning to do!) for Chanukah this year?

a little chanukah cheer

In light of the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this week, a guerrilla awareness campaign called PINK Loves Consent excited feminist lingerie-wearers around the world. Victoria’s Secret has long set the standard for sexy in both male and female terms. Men want to date VS models and women want to be them.

For girls just coming into their sexuality, the brand PINK provides the tools to be the sexiest high school girl in the halls. With sayings like “No Peeking” and “Unwrap Me,” girls are encouraged to be coy in their approach as sexual creatures, rather than vocal. PINK Loves Consent (PLC) aims to send a different message with their undies. On the PLC website, there is a tab titled THEN and NOW. This page parallels current PINK lingerie statements with more positive, consent-driven messages such as “Ask First” and “No Means No.” In addition, PLC breaks down the problem with the original sayings and offers an explanation for their solution: “No vagina is a sure thing. It doesn't matter if that person slow-danced with you all night long, if that woman is your girlfriend, if that man is in your bed, if your date is drunk. We believe that in every situation, every time, everyone gets to decide what happens to their body. Don't treat people like a "sure thing." Ask first.”

In the last five or so years, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has become a tradition as popular as the Macy’s Day Parade or Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Girls get together for viewing parties, sports bars tune in, and the Twitterverse leads the commentary for the event. PLC got in on the social media action by asking followers to include #loveconsent in their tweets and tags throughout the show to tell Victoria’s Secret and other live streamers why we love consent. Here are of few of my reasons:
The PINK Nation is an institution that needs to be questioned, just like any other, in order to make improvements and meet the needs of its people. While it would be a lot to ask of a lingerie store to provide sex education alongside their products, I don't think it is out of the question for the company who sets the standard of what's sexy to expand the definition to include the voices and needs of the women wearing their product. What's sexier than a woman who knows what she wants? Being given the opportunity to vocalize it. And if she doesn't know what she wants, she deserves the space to express that and to explore her options. That's what's sexy. That's why I #loveconsent.

a #loveconsent summary

I am all about getting started on prepping for the new year as early as possible. I think that resolutions should be made early and often, but a new year is a great time to think about long-term goals and set your self in the right state of mind to make the right kind of resolutions all year long. I'll write a resolutions post closer to the big day, but I wanted to talk a little about some ways to get yourself in the positive state of mind. One of the first things I do when I know I need a change of pace is declutter. Yes, cleaning your tub and doing your laundry are good ways to make your living space more livable but there are lots of other places that get neglected this time of year that might be holding you back. Here's a few places I'm making sure to cleanse this holiday season.

My electronics. 
About this time every year, my computer starts to move like molasses and overheat from my power-Netflixing and running so many programs. First things first, I back up all of my files. It took two years of my laptop crashing during finals week of fall semester to buy an external hard drive, but it was extremely worth it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to back up your files because, even if you take other precautions and your computer still dies, you have lost everything. Do it. Next, I run a little Disk Cleanup and get rid of files my computer isn't even using. While you're checking that out, look into that little Disk Defragmenter button and schedule it to run every week. If you wait to do this once a year, it can take hours. Mine runs Wednesday evenings in the background and I don't even notice. Wham-bam-my computer runs a little faster and feels a little lighter.

I'm not much of a techie, but I am permanently attached to my iPhone (not that this is a surprise to anyone). As a blogger, I take a ton of photos and as a human I listen to a lot of music, both of which can take up a lot of space on my phone. To keep things running smoothly, I am trying to be in the habit of backing up my photos and then deleting them from my phone to make more space.

When an iPhone is synced to iTunes, you can see this sometimes not-so-little space on your phone called Other. After quite a bit of research, I learned that this ambiguously named area on my phone is taken up by stuff like voice mails and emails. After clearing out these two folders (goodbye ancient J.Crew and Obama Campaign emails!), I still had some Other left over that I couldn't seem to get rid of. Then I found this nifty trick that helped me clear the rest of it out: Settings > General > Usage > Music. Okay, at first I thought I was about to erase all of my music from my phone and I got terrified. No worries, this trick just removes the extra files that come with your tunes like album art and info. Click on Music and then swipe the bar so that the Delete button shows up. Click it. Again, don't worry, you aren't deleting your entire music library! Only extra files that you don't need taking up space on your phone.

Lastly, clean up your contact list. Delete the numbers of guys you met at bars, but never texted. If there is are exes that you don't want to accidentally respond to in the distant future, label them Do Not Text-Adam. If there are exes that you know you shouldn't text in the first place, label them I Deserve Respect. With the internet available on nearly every device, you don't need the phone number to four different Pizza Huts saved in your phone.

My kitchen.
I am now shamefully admitting that the state of my kitchen is usually quite embarrassing. I live alone and really don't spend much time in my apartment that isn't used sleeping or showering, so I don't keep a lot of food in the house. However, the food I do buy goes bad eventually and I have a tendency to leave it there, in the back of my refrigerator and cupboards. A few things that I recently learned do, in fact, expire: canned chicken noodle soup, refrigerated salsa, and Nutella. (Who knew, right? Just me? Well, if you also didn't know then now you do.) If you're like me and can't be bothered to throw these things out one at a time, then set aside a couple of hours to gather all of your expired goods and then deep clean the areas where they lived. I have an (irrational?) fear of mold and I am sensitive to the (probably made up) smell of it, so I like to super clean everything that it could have touched and kill it for good. This website (found on Pinterest, duh) has some awesome tips to make food last longer, how to organize your fridge, and how to deep clean it later.

After you've cleaned out all of the expired food, take another look through what's left and get rid of things you know aren't good for you. I don't mean the cookies Grandma baked you for Christmas--I mean the can of icing you've been eating off a spoon and the half-eaten bag of hot cheetos. Throw them away. Then, make a list of healthier substitutes for these snacks. But be realistic. Lettuce is never going to replace hot cheetos, but whole wheat crackers and sharp cheddar might. Instead of icing, buy vanilla yogurt and some berries to stir in for color. Part of cleaning your kitchen is taking the time to clean your diet. You eat what's available, so buy things that are better for you that you still want to eat.

My car.
As I mentioned, I don't spend a lot of time in my apartment. Where I do spend a lot of time is in my car. I know that I am not at a Hoarders level of messy/gross in my car, but that definitely doesn't excuse its current state. If you're like me and you eat, get dressed, apply makeup, and house old textbooks in your car, then this is for you.

I can't tell you how embarrassing it is every time I've gotten a flat and have to remove all of the contents of my trunk on the side of the road. Oh wait, yes I can. Very embarrassing. On a good day, I have an Apples to Apples game, a blanket, a towel, jumper cables, and washer fluid. On a bad day, I have a giant plastic teddy bear filled with animal crackers, animal crackers because said bear has lost his lid, IKEA bags filled with clothes rejected by Plato's Closet, several pairs of shoes, a tub of cat litter that I was too lazy to bring upstairs, and used wrapping paper. I need to clean that shit out. I need to buy a crate to keep the essentials in so that when someone does have to get to my spare tire, they can do so easily. I need to vacuum those animal crackers.

Speaking of vacuuming, I really need to vacuum my whole car. There are leaves for days and probably tiny dead insects that were once living on the animal crackers and ancient McDonald's fries that are crushed into the carpet and upholstery. It only costs a handful of quarters at the car wash to use the vacuum and I think we should all make this important investment before the new year. Get rid of the Sonic cups and sell the textbooks and you may as well put a jewelry box in your center console because more of your necklaces live in your car than in your apartment anyway. You'll be glad you did it.

For tips on getting started on your new year's cleaning, check out the wonderful website Unfuck Your Habitat (they even have an app now!).

end-of-the-year cleanse

Cold weather accessories are pretty much the best accessories. Boot socks and beanies and mittens, oh my! When trying to figure out what to buy sisters-in-law, the co-worker you drew in Secret Santa, or a girl you recently became really close to in your Biology class, look no further than the knitted, furry, leather, and lace accessories that accompany the winter months. 


Ever since Pinterest came along, girls have been searching high and low for the elusive boot sock. Such solutions as the sweater-cuff-as-pretend-top-of-sock have made their way into popular blog DIYs, but the gift of warm feet cannot be beat. I like mine pattered and with ruffles, please!

gloves + mittens
Just because it's cold outside (somewhere...certainly not here in Austin), doesn't mean squeezing into your little brother's mittens or diving into your dad's big leather gloves. You deserve something of your own! Gloves with studs, two-way mittens with bows, and tech-savvy fingertips are just waiting to be added to your cart and shipped right into the pockets of your pea coat. 

For those of us with sensitive ears, there are trendy ways to block out the wind. Whomever said fashion and function were mutually exclusive never met the knitted headwrap. Even earmuffs have stepped up their style game and you can listen to your iPod through them too.

**When shopping for your knitted needs this season, don't forget to hit up A Girl Named Leney on Etsy. She's the sweetest blogger and her knit-wear is to die for. (Plus, how cute are the little knit creatures in her shop!?)

What are your favorite winter accessories?

if it knits, i fits

If you're my Facebook friend, then you've already experienced my fangirling over the newly released trailer for the second season of Girls. If not, here's a sample:

"I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED FOR THIS, Y'ALL. i almost peed myself watching it because i'm so excited."

After a quick Facebook poll, I decided that I'll be writing recaps/thoughts for the show this season. I'm pumped because I always have a lot to say afterwards and instead of frantically texting all of my Girls-friends, I can get it all out at once on here to all of you.

If you haven't watched it yet, go forth and do so

Girls returns to HBO on January 13.
O M effing G.


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