I’m currently watching through Sex and the City. A show, for the most part, about:
- Sometimes single women in their 30′s living in Manhattan…
- I got married at 22 and live in the Midbest
- Who wear fur, smoke cigarettes and lust after heels…
- I think my grandma owns fur, I smoked in high school (gasp!) and firmly believe that women who wear high heels every day are a rare form of superhero
- So obviously I love everything about it but can relate to absolutely nothing.
The show really makes me realize that I hate drinking liquor, avoid most jewelry and was never into complicated clothing or relationships. I tend to gravitate towards the basics. I started thinking about what items I would need day-to-day and how simplified I could really get. This year we traveled to NYC twice, Hawaii, Chicago + more and I never missed anything back at home (besides my pup).
Here’s a quick visual list of the only things I’d really “need” or use daily. If I found out I was boarding a plane in an hour and had to grab everything I think I’d want…this is what I’d choose. Obviously I omitted food and basic clothing because…obviously. Not going for the hungry, naked vibe.
- MacbookPro (I would forego my external hard drive and rely on Dropbox exclusively)
- My Moleskine notebook! Used for sketching, notes, wireframes + handlettering
- Prismacolor brush markers. My all time fave. After I’m done with a hand lettering project, I snap a photo on my iPhone, email it to myself and drag it into Photoshop/Illustrator
- Our Aeropress. You can find grounds anywhere but you can save some extra cash when you travel when you make it in your hotel room/Airbnb. No more worrying that you’ll be stuck with drip.
- Benefit’s Fake Up concealer. It’s moisturizing and covers the dark circles.
- Burt’s Bees lip balm. If I don’t have it (or something similar), I spazz.
- My glasses! I get mine from Warby Parker. About $130 for the frames and lenses since my eyesight is a bit worse than most.
- My Canon 6D and a prime lens. I’m upgrading to the Mark III soon and I’m pumped.
- Lush’s Mint Julep lip scrub. My lips are…big. I can’t have them be dry and flakey too.
- Good shoes. I just snagged these Sam Edelman booties.
- Everlane’s Reverse Denim Tote. SO roomy and comfortable to carry.
- A wallet.
- My iPhone!
Would you be able to pack just one bag and be okay while traveling? I figure I could get the basics, get a blowout instead of washing my hair or buy a book if I need something extra.
…that I didn’t ruin all the food.
I hosted my first Thanksgiving on Thursday and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. I kept imagining the scene from Christmas Vacation where the turkey deflates like a beach ball and everyone sucks it up and “eats” it anyways. Since my sister has many dietary restrictions (no grain, soy, garbanzo, black pepper and low sugar), it was my mission to make it completely edible for her! With that challenge came using recipes that I had never made before! Here’s what I cooked up (thanks to Danielle Walker!!!):
- A 12 lb turkey
- Mashed potatoes
- Green bean casserole (I even made the mushroom soup mixture from scratch)
- Rosemary and sage biscuits (grain-free)
- Pumpkin pie (grain-free)
- Stuffing (grain-free)
- Homemade chai tea lattes (sugar-free)
It honestly was really delicious and I’ve never been so happy with anything I’ve made from scratch. The evening of Thanksgiving, we decided to celebrate Christmas too. We won’t be all together again in December so it was the perfect time. I scored a pair of these slippers and haven’t taken them off since.
The rest of our weekend was quiet and relaxing. We spent Saturday night celebrating our friend’s birthday and Sunday was consumed with Sherlock + finalizing my Christmas City Swap.
Happy December to all you lovelies. How was your weekend?
I found this photobooth shot from my bachelorette party in June 2009. It’s crazy that I’ve almost been married for 5 years or that I love so far away from these beautiful women. We take turns visiting each other but the phone calls and any sort of snail mail just doesn’t seem to happen.
I don’t know why I have the hardest time making those small (yet meaningful) connections with those that I love.
My pal Kellyn and I always joke that the only people we call are our moms. And each other (obviously) since we happened to be chatting about it on the phone. But it’s not as often as I’d like it to be.
When life gets busy, people move, have kids + work crazy hours…how do you stay in touch with those you love?
The other day on Facebook, a friend posted a cute blurb describing what we were all like as kids. I read it and laughed out loud. They described me perfectly so I thought I’d write some memories from when I was a kid myself. There are times, honestly, that I still feel like a kid. Not because I think that I’m immature but because I still have a lot of the quirks that I had as a child. The other night we watched Elf and I got a little weepy at the end. When all of the adults + children believe in Santa again, random people singing Christmas songs in Central Park and Zooey D’s lovely voice…You get the point.
I see a lot of people my age who stifle excitement. People who are cynical. People who think too many things are stupid. Women hating on women who wear tights for pants. I mean, really?
I think we should all focus a bit more on the things that light us up and remember how goofy we were as kids.
If you know me at all – you know that I’m a slob. Currently every space in my house is acting as a shelf and that includes desks, tables, the floor and more. While I’m not proud of this messy trait – I have grown to accept it. HOWEVER, I’ve been a lot more conscious of it lately.
In case you missed it, my friend Erin launched Grandiflora yesterday where she is selling custom home goods! I was so honored to shoot all her photography and see each piece up close (photo above). Okay let’s be honest…I want to buy it all. Between Erin’s blog and my friend Jess‘ blog, I realize that hosting is in my blood. My mom is the queen of hosting. Elaborate dinners. Home cooked goodness. Beautiful china. The best music. Coffee and dessert.
It was a treat growing up in a home where hosting was fun and anyone was invited to the dinner table.
And at the heart of it all – I love having people over. Adam always comments about how excited I get to have people in our home. I’m excited to embrace the tradition my mom has established and perhaps it will motivate me to move out of this “messy-teenager-but-really-I’m-26″ phase.
I guess I should start by cleaning my dirty dishes and figuring out how all my forks have somehow disappeared…
Do you host at your home often? Dinners? Wine night? Any favorite tips?
It’s Monday, folks. I’m starting the week off with 3 mini goals to keep me semi-accountable.
- I’m going to go to bed before 2am all week. Goodbye 4am bedtime.
- I’m going to finally hang this huge giraffe print that we just got in the mail.
- I’m going to send five letters to various loved ones.
Comment below and commit to 3 mini goals this week! We can do it!
PS- Thinking of our veterans today (past and current) and those affected by the typhoon in the Philippines. A distant family member is raising support through Red Cross. Donate here.
I’m so thankful to see November. Lately I am shifting between feeling motivated, lazy, energized, bummed out, optimistic, overwhelmed and then just plain tired. Adam and I drove 8 hours yesterday back to my home state of Illinois and were able to talk about everything. Car rides are good for that. Especially when you can’t connect your iPhone or play CDs.
I need to change some habits. I need to catch my breath. Come up for air. I need these next 4 days (away from home, meetings, the same environment) to do just that. October was a tough month. I was sick for most of it. I was always playing catch up. I was always running late. I was always going to bed late and waking up early.
November looks much better. Here are a few reasons why I’m excited:
- Adam and I are buckling down and finally have some financial goals to work towards. When I’m overworked – I overspend to make myself feel better. It’s a horrible habit. I want saving to become a habit.
- I’m hosting Thanksgiving for my family. I’ll be cooking my first turkey!
- In order to practice, I think I’m going to host a Friendsgiving.
- Besides this weekend, we aren’t traveling at all!
- We have many new projects lined up and I’m ready to be better about tracking my time, creating a better workflow with Adam and working ahead of schedule.
- Death to the Stock Photo is really growing. We were featured on Wired yesterday!
- My friend Erin is going to be launching her new shop this month! Check out shots from our photoshoot last week.
And to kick off November? I’m going to visit my favorite hometown coffeeshop, SLEEP, watch You’ve Got Mail with my sister (she’s never seen it!), and eat all my mom’s home cooked food. I hope you all have a restful weekend.
How do you form new habits? How do you refresh?
I’ve had a few interesting conversations lately about STUFF and MONEY. What’s up with NO ONE talking about money?
Here’s a brief history of my relationship with work, money and things:
- I was raised in a household where my mom didn’t shop often, we ate off-brand food and we rarely ate out.
- I didn’t have a “real” job until mid-college because I nannied during the summers and saved enough for the whole year.
- Once I got into college, I discovered credit cards and kind of went crazy. I didn’t accumulate a ton of debt (thankfully) but I used credit often.
- I graduated with a substantial student loan and a car payment.
- Adam and I got married young and spent the first three years paying off debt.
- Around that time, I quit my 30-hour-a-week desk job and started working for myself.
- Welcome to present day! We now make 3x more annually than we did when we first got married by owning a few businesses of our own.
I can be a spender and yet I can also be disciplined. But within the past year, I’ve seen a shift in my spending habits that didn’t exist 4 years ago. Here are 3 observations:
1. I would and do pay people to clean my house or cook me food.
No I don’t have a chef (haha, I wish). But I do eat out more than I thought I ever would. We also pay to have our townhouse cleaned once a month. These are two things that I never experienced growing up as a kid. It’s not something that’s “normal” but it is worth the money. I can actually pinpoint my hourly rate and so paying someone $100 to clean my house for up to 3 hours is worth it if I can be working during those hours. I pay people when it saves me time.
2. Quality over quantity.
A year ago, I had A TON OF CLOTHES. Most of them from H&M or Forever21. Lately I have only a handful of pieces but they each cost more than any of the H&M/F21 pieces that I’ve since sold. I’ll be sharing my wardrobe revamp process next week but it essentially created a framework so that when I walk into a store – I have a method and a purpose. If the store doesn’t have what I’m looking for…I leave empty handed! Hint: I haven’t gone into Target and left with a random piece of clothing in MONTHS!
3. Spending is an emotional action.
The other day Adam was talking about clothes and cars. If the problem is, “I’m naked and need clothes,” then the solution is find something quickly that you can afford and cover yourself. If the problem is, “I have a job but I need a car to get there,” then the solution is to find something quickly that you can afford so you can go to work. But that’s not what we do. People buy BMWs, designer jeans and iMacs. Spending money on something is all about emotions. The emotions can range from:
- I’m stressed about my finances so I’m going to clip coupons and go to Aldi (btw, Aldi is awesome)
- I’m stressed about my job where I make a lot of money so I’m going to buy something to reward myself and make it worth it
- I’m excited about my friend having a baby so I’m going to go buy this unborn baby a ton of sh*t to show my love
- I want people to like me so I’m going to buy something that will elicit compliments (aka friends? probably not)
- People who are successful have this kind of purse so I’m going to buy that now that I’m successful
You get the point, right? It really fascinates me. What do people spend their money on?
I pay to get my nails done twice a month.
I would probably never pay someone to design my blog or website.
I pay $35 to get my hair blown dry.
I would probably never pay to get my car cleaned or washed.
I would pay $7,000 for camera gear.
I would probably never pay that much for a car.
I pay $100 to get my house cleaned every month.
I would probably never pay to get my clothes regularly dry cleaned.
I’ve spent way too much money on Apple products.
99% of the furniture in my house cost less than $125.
How do you handle money? What would you probably NEVER spend money on? What do you splurge on? What seems reasonable? What seems irresponsible? Be respectful! Everyone is different.
Do you ever feel like you go through growing pains? Not physically – but just in your life? I’ve felt like that lately. I’ve been trying to shed some negativity that has plagued me my whole life. I know that most of it comes from insecurity but I don’t think that’s really an excuse. Nothing dramatic. Just embracing myself and loving others. Less jealously. More rooting and cheering.
In effort to keep it real around here, I thought I could share 10 truths about my life right now. Feel free to do the same below in the comment section.
- I’ve been going to be earlier lately. By 10:30pm I crave sleep but still feel way too tired in the morning. I think my body is adjusting to my non-nocturnal habits.
- I’ve also been trying to kick this sickness naturally. I don’t like taking antibiotics so it’s a slower process when you don’t pop pills.
- I’m trying a new weekly approach where I schedule all meetings, Skype sessions and phone calls for Tuesdays and Thursdays in hopes that I can actually spend 3 days/week designing and creating.
- I’m starting to get nervous about the holiday season. Business can slow down during these upcoming months and it’s a little scary since Adam and I work together independently.
- I really want an ONA camera bag. And the Canon 50mm 1.2. Refraining from buying both because of #4.
- I wear the same 3 outfits all the time. It’s easy, simple and I treat it like a uniform.
- Sometimes I freak out because I still can’t ever imagine being a parent. Almost all of my college friends have kids and being different can make you insecure.
- If I talk all day, my throat ends up hurting. And then I think, “C’mon Allie. Pull it together!” I can hear my piano teacher telling me to talk from my diaphragm and not my throat. Oye.
- I had to spell check the word diaphragm.
- I don’t monitor who unfollowed me on Twitter, Google Analytics or most of my Twitter feed anymore. I used to do all three. Twitter lists are my best friend.
What’s true about your life right now?
Anyone know how to fix Bitchy Resting Face? I’ve had it my whole life. I remember being a kid and my mom standing behind the kitchen counter while preparing dinner and saying, “You know you look angry right now, right? You really need to work on communicating with your facial expressions.”
The other day I saw a woman in public and she looks so darn pleasant. I was jealous.
*Outtake of me from a photoshoot yesterday. I look irritable. But I wasn’t. What the eff?