5 tips for maintaining a creative life

After yesterday's post on making balance, I thought it would be fun to share my top five tips for maintaining a creative life. Staying on track and pushing through creative blocks can be tough, and these are a few of the ways I keep moving forward.

1. Connect with other creatives. My number one source of creative inspiration comes from being delightfully inundated by creatives all day, every day. I'm in a group text with my girl gang, where we hold each other accountable and bounce ideas off each other. I've recently started texting Chelsea constantly too because, damn does that girl inspire me. I'm so excited to stay connected with new and old TxSC gals so we can invite each other out for brainstorming brunches and creative collaborations. If you can find a couple of people who have their own creative pursuits, you can lean on each other for support and stay on track to seeing your goals through. This is a great reason to attend conferences, join Twitter conversations, and leave comments on blogs that inspire you!

2. Know your zone. Trying to set up a productive workspace tends to be pretty futile for me. Too much pressure. Instead of setting up a pretty desk with my gold stapler and jar of freshly sharpened pencils, I know that in order to write, I just need to step away from Dago, my texts and tweets, and especially the TV. It's more about a headspace than a physical location, and I often find that space in the evening, just after Dago has gone to bed and I shut the television off for the night. Knowing what works for you saves you a lot of time and stress so you can spend that time doing the thing you're trying to do!

3. Be prepared. I'm the kind of gal who always has at least five drafts in progress, but I also have a stupid-big number of half-written and half-thought out posts in my Notes app at any given time. I seem to come up with the best ideas at three in the morning, while I'm showering or driving (thank goodness for iPhone's dictation feature!), or in the middle of my work day. If I don't write down that post idea or perfectly phrased sentence right then, it's gone forever. Use that phone that's attached to your palm for good! If handwritten notes are more your style, keep a tiny Moleskine and a reliable pen on you at all times.

4. Try something else. A few weekends ago I was desperate to finish this post, which had taken me over a week to draft. Briley invited me over to make marble paper, and as soon as I got my hands covered in shaving cream and food coloring, the inspiration I had been waiting for hit me. Luckily, I followed tip #3 and had my laptop handy so I could knock out the rest of the post. If you're experiencing writer's block or other creative challenges, try a different medium to turn the switch on in your brain that says "let's make something awesome!"

5. Unplug. When all else fails, I know I need to step away completely: both from the project and my screens. Unplugging is a pretty trendy buzzword these days, but for good reason. Taking a walk, meditating, sitting in the grass and reading or watching the clouds all help me come back to my creative work with a clear head (and maybe even some new ideas!). If you're too deep into your project, too close to it, or your plate is just too full lately, the best thing can be to step away so that the time you're spending doing is more effective and efficient.

These are just a few of the things that help me stay focused and keep my brain churning out new ideas, but they definitely aren't for everyone! What are some of your favorite strategies for maintaining a creative life?

5 tips for maintaining a creative life

on making balance

When I was in college, probably a sophomore or so, my dad made a comment about how I was the kind of person who would probably always have multiple jobs. He recognized in me that I had too many interests for one path to satisfy, and that I had a lot of enthusiasm and energy towards pursuing all of my passions. For a few years, I did work 2+ jobs at any given time. I needed the jobs to support myself as I put myself through college. If I wanted to buy cute shoes and eat out with my friends, I needed to be able to afford that without depending on anyone else.

After I graduated, I became obsessed with the idea of finding stability. I craved routine, which is something that several part-time jobs didn't provide. Transitioning into my first full-time job was the catalyst to a lot of amazing things for me: beginning recovery for my disordered eating, finding a support system, paying (most of) my bills on time, to name a few.

My first full-time job was at a domestic violence non-profit where I was surrounded by social workers. The job had actually started as an internship that developed into part-time and then eventually full-time. From pretty early on, I knew that I didn't want to be a social worker. I loved the work I was doing and I planned to do it for as long as I could.

Eventually, however, I knew I wanted to write. This job that I loved was not a great résumé position for someone who wanted to maybe work for a magazine or in the fashion industry. If I'm being totally honest, this blog was often a way to fill my résumé with things that I knew my job did not. In this space I showed that I could not only write about fashion and trends, and write well, but also that I could do it consistently and without anyone telling me to. Blogging was a hobby that didn't earn me any money directly, but I knew that having this blog would ultimately lead to the career path I wanted. Thanks to my blogging, I now have my dream job doing something I'm so excited to do every day. (Read more about my job transition here.)

On top of the résumé reasons, blogging filled a creative need in my life. I could not have survived that non-profit job without the creative outlet blogging provided. I made balance in my life where there wasn't balance organically. I forged a path that wasn't given to me by anyone else. You don't have to wait for anyone to give you permission to pursue your passions, and you don't have to wait for balance to just appear in your life.

A few years into blogging and the work force, I started to feel like something was missing again. I needed another outlet. I also wanted something that Dago and I could do together. For those of you who are new-er around here, you may not know that I have a weekly podcast with my boyfriend called Breakfast for Dinner. We talk about pop culture, television, feminism, music, and other things that affect our lives. Dago and I happen to both have the same love language: quality time. Doing the podcast together gives us an opportunity to spend lots of time talking about interesting, sometimes important, sometimes hilarious topics as we put the show together and record each week.

This weekend Dago and I were talking about our podcast origin. We realized that one of the reasons our show works so well is because we didn't spend a lot of time making a business plan first or researching the best equipment. We just found a mic and started recording one day, figuring it out as we go. We didn't wait for someone to tell us we were ready, or even good. We both needed this outlet in order to have a sense of togetherness and balance in our lives, so we went for it.

I've recently been asked about how I maintain a creative life. I do so by listening to what my soul needs, whether it's a passion that needs to be fulfilled or a state of mind that needs to be shifted. I don't wait for anyone to tell me I deserve balance or I'm good enough to pursue something I want. I'm busy, but I'm happy to be spending my time doing the things I love, and I get to make my schedule for all non-work related things because I'm the boss.

And you are the boss of your life! You get to decide what you want to do and you can make balance in your life without having to wait to find it.

So what's next for you? What can you do to make your life more balanced?

on making balance

red stripes red and yellow outfit combo denim jacket and stripes austin fashion blogger
jacket: Nordy Rack (similar) // shirt: Forever 21 // skirt: ASOS // hat: swapped // booties: Charlotte Russe (similar)

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

I wore this outfit recently and snapped a 'gram asking if y'all would want to see the whole thing. This outfit has been the perfect winter-to-spring transition with a few layers and some cool weather accessories paired happily with bare legs.

Chelsea and I were so lucky to stumble upon this wall. It was just hiding out in the middle of South Congress when we were on our way to brunch. I pulled over so fast and just plopped down on the striped bench while SXSWers walked past with their badges and giggled at us. I used to get so freaked out when people saw me taking outfit photos, but I've gotten to where it feels pretty natural as long as no one is asking to "help" or catcalling.

A few of you have been asking me lately how I get my hair curled like this. First, I never thought I would be on the receiving end of that question. Second, I do it with a straightener and I can't tell you how. Not because I don't want to be transparent, but because I literally have no idea how to explain it. I still do it wrong 60% of the time when I try and have to just give up and walk around with half-ish curly hair. After years of trying and trying (and burning all my fingers), I just sort of figured it out? It's just like curling ribbon with scissors...but with hair and a straightener? This tutorial is pretty close to what I do if you're interested!

What are y'all up to this weekend? I'm still coming down from my TxSC high and have about 7 posts in my drafts I want to work on for the coming weeks!

earn your stripes

TxSC15-403

Sometime on Friday afternoon, as I was booking it from the dining hall back to one of the glamping cabins, I had a thought: how the heck am I going to recap this weekend? Most blogger conference recaps follow a pretty standard format of either chronological events or a series of what the blogger learned during her weekend away. My Texas Style Council '14 recap was even split into two posts (here and here) so I could cover both! However, I was on staff for the conference this year, which made it a completely different animal. My perspective is unlike any other blogger who attended, in both positive and negative ways probably.

To keep this interesting for you and valuable for me, I've decided to break this post down into my five kinds of TXSC '15 cries. Why cries? Well, that's what I spent the majority of the weekend doing. Here's why:

camp-livefreemiranda

1. The Tunnel of Sisterhood. Having decided to throw any sort of linear understanding of the conference out the window for this recap, I want to start with the last official CAMP activity. After moderating the final keynote on Sunday and watching my new friends receive well-deserved awards, everyone was led outside and put into two parallel lines. As we stood toe-to-toe, a camper walked between us with her eyes closed and we each whispered a word in her ear. "Strong." "Brave." "Thoughtful." "Vibrant." "Worth it." Camper after camper walked through the tunnel of Sisterhood hearing faceless voices reaffirm everything that was felt throughout the weekend. This was one of the most remarkably powerful experiences of my life and I know I'll never forget the way it made me feel. Let's just say I've only cried this hard a couple of other times in my life. It was intense, y'all.

herschel-gram

2. The Anxiety. Now that I've given you a taste of the end, let's go back to the beginning. I arrived at CAMP on Wednesday evening to find the other staff members distributing bedding into giant yellow bins. Something you may not know about throwing a conference at a Girl Scout camp is that there's no maid service to do things like make your bed, take out your trash, etc. Someone has to do that for you, and that someone was our staff + volunteer team. As the volunteer coordinator, I delegated tasks to my AMAZING (seriously, y'all) team from bed duty and moving cafeteria tables to fixing microphones and tracking down lost backpacks. We were all bruised and bloody, not to mention muddy from doing all of this in the pouring rain. Being a leader is something I identify as in the online space, but I know that I sometimes struggle in leadership roles in a more direct sense. Having over 20 people depending on you to know the right answer all the time was causing my anxiety to go haywire, and I was having a hard time handling it. I was trying to nurse panic attack after panic attack while trying to stay strong for my team. Finding that balance between caring for me and sacrificing my needs for my team was a good, though challenging, lesson to learn.

camp-chrystina-noel
photo by Chrystina Noel

3. The Women. At most blogging conferences, there's the big dogs and the little fish. The speakers , especially the keynotes, are often seen as untouchable celebrities who you're lucky to share air with. At TxSC, the playing field is intentionally more even. I sat at meals with big bloggers I've followed for years alongside other women I may not have heard of but was just as lucky to meet. Everyone was there to learn and connect in a real way, without the computer screen or even a façade to hide behind. Whether it was our stats, our fears of negative comments, or out doubts about moving forward, we were all there to be open and honest with each other, to find connections, and to be less alone. I met some of the most incredibly brilliant and brave individuals, and I am humbled to have experienced their beauty.

TxSC-184

4. The Wisdom. A word I heard a lot this weekend, coined by Bethany Joy Clark, was "friendtor." A friendtor is someone who is your equal, your friend, while also being someone you can go to for guidance. One of the missions behind TxSC '15 was to provide an opportunity for women to find their friendtors. With so many smart entrepreneurs and business women, truth bombs and advice nuggets were constantly being shared. A few of my favorites: 

"Popularity does not equal profitability" - Megan Silianoff
"When you push yourself, you have to rest in equal proportion." - Jess Lively
"Don't poison your own well." - Caroline Rector
"Don't be intimidated by the experts, become friends with them." - Sophia Rossi

I'm pinning each of these quotes on my heart and calling back to them when I'm feeling uncertain.

TxSC-177 TxSC-172

5. The Sisterhood. Having a whole weekend spent with like-minded, driven, inspiring women is just about the best thing I can imagine. This was my version of a worship retreat and I am feeling wholly renewed and reinvigorated. These women came from all over the world (yes, the world! Not just the US!). Some are moms and some aren't. Some blog for a living and some have day jobs and write posts when they can. All of us are trying to figure it all out. All of us benefit from having a sister who supports her. During my keynote with Sophia Rossi, founder of HelloGiggles (which, AHHHHHHH yeah that's a thing that happened!!!!!!!!!!!), I asked what her definition of Sisterhood is. She said it's about loyalty, about being ride or die for someone you love. This is a great answer and one that definitely resonates with me. I was thinking more about it after our talk, though, and I realized that Sisterhood is deeper than that for me. Sisterhood extends past the women I know and love. I work to support all women because that connection is tremendously important to me. This weekend was about remembering (and discovering!) that we aren't alone. We have our sisters, both on and offline. That is so sacred to me and the time we spent at Camp Texlake over the weekend will always be in my heart.

There is so much that I didn't cover in this post, but I'm still processing everything and I've also been writing this for too many episodes of television (am I the only one who counts time this way?), so I figure I should wrap it up. I'll probably write more about the whole shebang later, but there are also so many good recaps going up. Follow the #TxSC15 tag on Twitter to see what other campers had to say!

TxSC '15 (or five reasons why I cried this weekend)

cardigan over chrambray
chambray and chartreuse
sweater: Target (similar) // shirt: Old Navy // jeans: Forever 21 // shoes: LuLu*s // earrings: SoLa


Spring is finally here in Austin, and not a moment too soon. I've been really feeling the winter blues these last couple of months. It's been dark, cold, and wet, all of which make it hard to find motivation, inspiration, or focus. Thankfully I have a therapist I love and a wonderful support system to turn to when things get really dark, but it's always been important to me to be able to make myself feel better on my own, even if it's just enough to hold myself together until I get home to Dago or call my mom. When all else fails, these are my three favorite ways to feel better right now.

1. Wear a an outfit that makes you feel great. For me it's something that I've worn enough times to have figured out any kinks, and something that usually garners compliments (hey, having someone else tell you that you look good never hurts!). Whether it's a bold collection of colors or an all-black ensemble, wearing something that feels essentially you is always a good way to start feeling better. Bonus if you wear a pair of shoes with a little heel -- that extra bit of height can be exactly the confident boost you need!

2. Send out a little love into the universe. When I'm feeling down, I like to send a quick text to a friend I haven't talked to in a while. Chances are, they needed to hear something positive and supportive in that moment, but even if not, it's just nice to be reminded that you're loved and thought about. Doing this always makes me feel better because I did something nice for someone I care about, but it's also great because it reminds you of what awesome people are in your life and how lucky you are to have them.

3. Citrus. When I notice that I'm in a dark place -- depressed, unmotivated, ultra-sensitive, just wanting to crawl back into bed -- I like to grab a piece of citrus: an orange, clementine, or tangerine, preferably! Even having the pop of color on my desk at work helps literally brighten my day, but the scent and especially the act of peeling and eating each individual section of the fruit improves my mood every time. It feels good to take care of yourself, and I love that eating a piece of citrus makes you spend a couple more seconds on doing something good for you.

It doesn't take much for a bad day to spiral into a rut, so I try to remember these three easy tricks for getting through rough spots. What are your fool-proof ways to feel better?

P.S. I'm off to CAMP at the end of the workday! Can't wait to see some of you there!

3 ways to feel better right now

LOFT peplum and sneakers
LOFT peplum and Gap utility jacket
ruffle peplum tank
pink and blue outift
olive green and blue
jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // top: LOFT // jeans: Forever 21 // shoes: LOFT

photos by Chelsea Laine Francis

Prepare to see a lot of these sneaks because, well, I'm in love.

You see, a few weeks ago Katrina 'grammed a cute pic of her wearing a sleek pink trench coat. I commented that I love the sweet alternative to traditional tan, but that I couldn't pull off that shade myself. Over the years, I've had to accept the fact that I just can't wear pink -- near my face, that is. Whether it's bright hot pink or a more demure shade of light pink, it makes me look sickly and washed out. When I was leaving the comment on Katrina's photo, I realized that even though I can't wear pink near my face, I can definitely wear it on my feet!

And that's where the hunt began. I had previously been lusting after grey and gold pairs of slip-ons, but these newly-imagined light pink sneakers just wouldn't leave my mind. I scoured the Internet for a couple of weeks until finally LOFT introduced their new collection for spring and BAM there they were. They are the loveliest color; light enough to be an almost-neutral, pairing equally well with feminine mini skirts as they do cute sporty looks.

Seeing as I was strategically wearing pink on my bottom half, I wanted to create an über-flattering look to show how to use colors to your best interest. I may not be able to wear pink near my face, but blue is a universally flattering color that anyone can (and should!) wear. I picked up this gorgeous blue top at LOFT over the weekend. I loved the mixed fabrics of the shirt for a couple of reasons. The cotton top part is casual and cool, making it a great transition piece for spring into summer. The ruffle peplum starts in the ideal spot on my torso to hide my "problem area" in my lower tummy. The loose, flowy fit is feminine without looking frumpy because of the smart tiers. If you're looking for a dressed-up yet easy tank for the season, I recommend this one!

I threw on my utility jacket for a little contrast to the soft peplum and visual interest. The olive shade is in the same tone as the blue and complements the pink, making it an excellent "completer" piece to pull the outfit together.

What colors do you gravitate towards for a flattering look?

the elements of flattery

slip-on sneakers outfit DIY wooden bead necklace cute utility jacket outfit casual spring outfit LOFT sneakers blonde wavy angled bob
jacket: Gap Outlet (similar) // tee: Old Navy // jeans: Forever 21 // shoes: LOFT // necklace: DIY


A couple weeks back I shared a recap of a super fun crafty event here in Austin where a bunch of fab ladies got together to decorate some beads. I'm surprisingly in love with the necklace I made, and I've been wearing it nonstop. However, you wouldn't know that because it's been too rainy to take outfit photos for the last few weeks, so here's a necklace-coordinating look to show it off.

Speaking of showing things off, I'd like to direct your attention to my brand new pair of baby pink slip-on sneakers. I linked to these in my CAMP checklist last week and quickly ordered them as soon as my tax return was deposited into my account. They. Are. Perfect. It's crazy how inspiring one new article of clothing, particularly a pair of shoes, can be for coming up with outfits. I'm so excited about all the outfits I have planned for these!

In addition to introducing you to my new favorite shoes, I wanted to introduce you to my new friend Chelsea! I got an email in January from a sweet girl who had just moved to Austin and wanted to connect. Chelsea and I became instant friends over coffee and limeade respectively talking about feminism, faith, and photography. She is such an amazing source of talent and light. I had a blast working on this shoot with her and I'm excited to share more of her work coming soon!

wooden beads and slip-on sneaks

blooper-pic
a Briley Noel original outtake for your viewing pleasure

It has rained every time Briley and I have tried to take photos since Valentine's, which is why you haven't seen an outfit around here since then. My favorite bloggers Alissa and Fran both posted lists of 10 things their readers didn't know about them, so I thought that would be a fun alternative to an outfit post on a Wednesday.  Pretend this post is just as interesting as a new spring dress and a pair of booties, okay?

1. I had never tried a McDonald's burger until college. Now quarter-pounders-with-cheese are my guiltiest pleasure!

2. If we're at a restaurant, 9 times out of 10 I will order lemonade. I've never been a big soda drinker and the only soda I drink is Sprite when I'm feeling queasy.

3. I will almost always choose sour candy over chocolate. That is unless the chocolate is Reese's or filled with raspberry cream.

4. Just realized these have all been about food so far, so to change the subject, I took swimming lessons every summer as a kid until I was about 10. I stopped because I refused to learn to dive or even jump off the diving board.

5. That said, I'm afraid of deep water (more than 8 feet, and I'm really not even good with that), as well as fire, heights, and leeches.

6. I play fantasy soccer for both English Premier League and Major League Soccer. Considering both of my teams are built out of only the most attractive players in their leagues, I'm doing pretty well!

7. As much as I like to look at soccer players, I do actually follow Swansea FC, a Welsh team in the EPL. I even get updates to my phone when I can't watch the games!

8. I have been a nail-biter my entire life. As a very young kid, one of my parents told me that my nails would just stay in my stomach forever, and then I started believing that if I ever had children they would come out covered in nail bits. My parents deny this ever happening, and I still bite my nails today.

9. I have never seen more than an episode of Friends or Seinfeld, but I own every season of Sex and the City. I've watched the whole series twice and seen every episode close to four or five times on separate occasions.

10. I had a blog before Writes Like A Girl called From Kitten to Cat where I was going to chronicle my life as an almost-grad. I think I wrote three or four posts there before giving up.

So there you have it! If you're interested in learning more, here are some similar list posts from other slow content days! eleven, Proust Q&A, 'fess up 

What don't we know about you? I love learning random facts about people!

10 things

blogging-goals-partnerships
photo by Briley Noel

When I started blogging in 2011, it was because I wanted to be a part of the community I already followed and loved. I was a big fan of early fashion bloggers and loved the idea of bringing style inspiration to people who felt stuck in a closet rut but didn't follow the fashion blogging scene. My goal was to provide real outfits that I had worn in my real life and bought with my own money.

After getting into a rhythm and gaining a bit of a following, this space changed into something more than daily outfit posts. I wanted to create a safe place online for people, especially women, to feel less alone when it came to things like body image, depression, and anxiety. These topics have been pillars of Writes Like A Girl because they have a lot to do with who I am as a person and I wanted my blog to reflect that.

While I've had general goals for Writes Like A Girl (post more consistently! fine-tune your style! get more followers!), I realized that I've never thought of this space in a long-term capacity. Working alongside Indiana of INDIANA/ELSEWHERE (formerly Adored Austin) as we've prepped for CAMP has been a whirlwind of awesome. Not only is she just such an inspiration to me as a funny woman who writes on the Internet, but she has pushed me to see something greater for myself in this sphere. She believes in what I'm doing here, and that made me believe more in what it could become.

On several occasions Indiana has asked me what my goals are for Writes Like A Girl. For as dedicated to this space as I am, I hadn't ever really thought about it. That worried me. I, like many bloggers, have been feeling a little burnt out lately. I've had middle-of-the-night meltdowns asking myself "Do people ever care about these outfits? It's not like I'm reinventing the wheel here," and "What do I have to say that isn't already being said on a blog with more followers." These questions can be the start to a really ugly spiral of doubt if there's no one there to remind you of your value. I am so thankful to have had Indiana on the other side of my text messages telling me that I'm not alone and that what I'm doing is good.

I have spent a lot of time thinking this season about what I want for Writes Like A Girl. The blogging community is so unbelievably saturated, but there is still a place for me here and I still have things to say and do that are valuable. One of the big things I've been considering (and reconsidering) is working with brands. To be transparent here, I get contacted several times a day by brands I have no interest in working with. Having seen what marketing is from their side, I feel bad because they A. don't know how to send a good (or even grammatically correct) email, and B. they don't know who their audience is. So many brands have heard "bloggers are the future" and they just assume we're all the same. Spoiler alert: we're not!

After politely declining or ignoring (oops) so many emails, I started thinking about my role as a blogger in a new way. There are products I love and would love to tell me readers about. That's all these brands want anyway, isn't it? Someone to market their product in a real way? I have never wanted this space to become a marketing platform for products I don't care about/don't believe in just for the money or free swag. No shade to bloggers who choose that path (girls gotta pay the bills, you know), but since the beginning Writes Like A Girl has been a safe space for readers to read something real and I will not sacrifice that for anything.

Having that brands just want someone who believes in their products to write about them, I'm going to start searching for my own partnerships. What I hope is that I can create some amazing relationships with people who make products I'm so excited to tell you about. Starting my blog was about community, and I have been wary of including brands in that community until now. With this new inspiration, I'm excited to grow my space a little bigger, while continuing to provide useful and honest content to my readers.

From a reader perspective, not much is going to change. You may see a few more c/o (meaning "courtesy of") items around here, but know that this is never going to become a place where I try to sell you things for the sake of it. This feels like a positive next step for both Writes Like A Girl and my little community, so I'm glad you're coming along for the ride!

blogging goals | partnerships

It may not feel like it, but March is upon us and that means it's almost time for CAMP! Because this conference is about getting back to basics and focusing on creativity, I'm not letting myself get too wrapped up in buying a bunch of fancy new blogger things to wear. Since there's a strict no heels policy anyway, I think most of the other campers are also embracing the conference as an opportunity to connect without all the fluff and facades.

Even though I'm not putting together tulle-clad outfit changes, there are a few things I need to be prepared (scout motto!) for my weekend at CAMP.

1. business cards - I haven't purchased new business cards since 2012, so it was time for a redesign. I loved my last batch of MOO cards (and I'm very loyal to a brand that treats me well!), so I gave my old cards a little update and I'm ready to give them out to everyone I meet!

WLAG-biz-cards

2. fanny pack - So you've ordered 100+ business cards, you're going to need a place to put them! I'm not going to want to carry around my purse the whole weekend (and this is definitely no place for a clutch!), but I will definitely need to carry things around as the Volunteer Coordinator. This pink Herschel "hip bag" is dreamy and useful. I'm excited to use it for runs this summer after CAMP!

fanny-pack

3. something khaki - It's absurd how excited I am for the Khaki Jamboree on Saturday night of CAMP. I'm still planning my outfit, but I know that I'm at least going to wear my favorite utility jacket (last seen here) throughout the weekend to stay in the khaki spirit. This H&M utility jacket is a great pick for those of you who need something khaki and cute that you can wear again after the conference!

khaki-jacket
4. flat shoes - Since flat shoes are on the official packing list, I'm using this as an excuse to finally buy a pair of slip-ons. I know I posted a bunch of cute grey and gold pairs a few weeks back, but then this baby pink pair showed up and LOFT and, well, I need them. Plus, how cute are they going to look with my fanny pack, right?

flat-shoes
What's on your CAMP checklist? I loved seeing what Den Mother Chelsea is packing for the weekend. Can't wait to see you there!

CAMP checklist

small-goals-march

Ahhh, it's March, y'all. We made it. Can we all just take a deep breath together? February is always tough for me. The month is simultaneously too short and too long. I always try to cram too much stuff into 28 days, while I'm constantly wishing it would just end so we can get to spring and move on from the cold weather. It's been so dreary and cold and I'm sick of all my winter clothes. But, I did manage to get a few things done despite all of that!

1. make and gift cute Valentine's crafts | Done! I forgot to Instagram them before I gave them out because I was just too excited, but damn were they cute. If I were a better blogger I would have done a tutorial or something. Next year! (Makes imaginary note for February 2016.)
2. step up my 'gram game | Done! I love the way my Insta feed looks these days. Glad I went back to all-square pics. Also, I hit 1000 followers over the weekend -- yippee!
3. dye my hair | Not done because of lack of funds, but hopefully happening super soon! Stay tuned.
4. finish Not That Kind of Girl | Hahaha, no. I should have made this goal "start Not That Kind of Girl" because then maybe I would have accomplished it. Instead I didn't even open the cover. Whoops!
5. make an appointment regarding my dizzy spells | Done! Unfortunately, the appointment isn't until March 26 because it's with a specialist and apparently those appointments are few and far between. Trying my best to hold out until then!

So, I didn't get everything done I set out to do, but I did okay! March will be better. March is always better.

1. get all things CAMP in order and have the best weekend ever | The official countdown to CAMP has begun! I have SO much to do, and lots of exciting news which I'll be sharing soon. I have a bunch of upcoming CAMP-related posts, so more on this later.
2. pay off my credit cards | I filed my taxes over the weekend and was blessed with a major tax return (to give you some perspective, I had to pay back almost as much last year). I'm going to put it directly to my credit cards, and then to the last payments on my laptop. Getting out of this dumb mini-debt I've caused will help me focus on paying towards my massive pile of student loans and generally surviving.
3. explore acupuncture | People consistently recommend I try acupuncture for my various ailments (and specifically my dizziness), and since I have never heard anything negative about it ever, I figure I should at least look into it. I got the card of a acupuncture and massage therapist whose office is next to my therapist's, so I'll hopefully do a little research and give her a call. Do I know any acupuncture experts? Any of you have any experience with it?
4. make some progress in a book | Any book! I have a bad habit of getting out of the reading rhythm and then feeling too guilty to start again. March is going to be a ridiculously busy month, but I want to get back in the routine of reading before bed and on weekends to get away from the screens for a bit.
5. become a salad eater | My most recent therapy appointment accidentally turned into a grocery shopping/cooking class where we tried to nail down what I might eat in a salad. I can tell that my body is craving greens lately, and I've been trying in general to be better about listening to my bodies needs and giving in when I can. We decided on romaine lettuce + avocado + creamy Italian garlic dressing. I wanted something leafy that wasn't spinach or kale, avocado, and something creamy but light on top. I'll probably make a salad for dinner tonight, so I'll let you know how it goes! If you're a salad lover, I'm into suggestions!

What's on your to-do list for March?

march | small goals

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