Monday, February 8

(Lunar) New Year Resolutions

This Monday, we celebrate Chinese New Year... which is the best time for New Year's Resolutions, right? Even though I stopped making New Year's Resolutions a lot time ago and more recently, resolutions have been made into the stuff of ridicule for a lot of us, (myself included) we are on a constant path of self improvement. 

So, resolutions, goals, ill-conceived, doomed-to-fail plans... Whatever these may be, here are some of mine. 

1. Stop worrying about work for the next 6 months. Long story short, I got on a project that is long, unique and outside of the office. For the past few months, I've been extremely worried about about the project, the people I am working with, my integration into the office, and my career as a whole. I've gotten a bunch of advice both ways and I'm just going to be recklessly optimistic about it. It's six months, I get to enjoy being at home with my partner and taking care of myself. 

2. Keep Active. I'm not going to set a goal of losing a certain amount of weight, but I do want to keep active. Whether it's yoga, pilates, kickboxing, hiking or just going on the elliptical, I want to keep moving. I used to be completely out of breath after a quarter of a mile, but now 3-4 miles is not too bad for me. And didn't even realize I could go so far until my friend told me that she did an average of 5-6 miles in a day. Following that, I realized I should and could step it up. 

3. Write letters to friends. I can't even say I've recently gotten into brush script and calligraphy as I don't have any supplies yet. But I did realize, during one morning of stress, that I really want some type of semi-artistic outlet for my entirely non-artistic self. I saw the beautiful calligraphy and brush script art that's been popping up in the blogging community and thought that it might be something that I could do as well. I practiced some faux calligraphy and found it fun enough that I ordered a set of water colors. I can't wait to make my friends cards and pretty letters! 

4. Cook! I love cooking. in 2015, I've learned a lot about cooking through Blue Apron. I have obsessed over cakes on food blogs and even purchased my own cake pan to make my own cake. This year, I want to make those beautiful desserts I see so often happen. Chocolate cakes galore! In addition to that particular dish, I also want to make a seafood pasta. Living in the PNW, seafood is so fresh and good so I need to take advantage of that. 

5, Travel out of the country This year, i actually have plans to go to China, so perhaps this plan is a little bit of a cop out. (I am also putting this goal out there to make sure I actually do it though!)  My trips, both locally and abroad are often the highlights of my year. I'm hoping to hit Portland and Eastern Washington as well this year. Hopefully, I'll make it t Vancouver as well. 

Happy Lunar New Year if you celebrate! 
Even if you don't, feel free to restart your resolutions today.
 Did you already break your resolutions... or are you still going strong?

Monday, February 1

How To Graduate With a Job Offer

Too often, students do well in school and forget why they are there in the first place--to find a job. Graduation dawns all too fast and these students are left in limbo, often moving back home since they don't have anything prepared. In order to graduate with a job, keep these tips in mind. 
via weheartit
1. Know what you want to do. Starting your job search in your last year of university is far, far too late. You should be looking at internships the moment you enter college. Granted, these internships may not be able to support you, but try to make whatever position you take during school relate to your field. I know it's great to enjoy a summer off, but a summer off between when you graduate and when you start working is MUCH more relaxing. 

2. Actually apply for jobs. I've also heard of students who have graduated complain that they don't get many callbacks, even though they've been applying for jobs all week. How many did they apply for? 5. At a certain point, you should really just be churning these applications out! A better goal is 15... per day. 

3. Get a Plan B - That doesn't involve more school. There are a lot of people who pursue more school because they are good at it. It's great to do something that you love, but I think we need to keep a payday at the end of the tunnel in mind. It's not that jobs in academia aren't available, but whenever I've seen it, it's been rare. Don't go to get more school because that's what you've always done. Sometimes, we may need to take a position that's not ideal... to wait for something more appropriate to come along. If anything, you may discover a new passion or realize that your original idea is exactly the path you're meant to be one.

After doing all this... you still may not get an offer. Everyone's situation is different. Not everyone wants to settle for the first job they find. Some people need to move to find gainful employment. Others are underemployed. I've seen it too, where bright, intelligent and hardworking students can't find jobs for reasons unexplained. Rest assured. Keep trying; it's not just you.

Monday, January 25

Couch Inspiration

via pottery barn
Every few years something triggers in me and I feel the need to decorate. Historically, I've been pretty terrible about decorating. In my 6 or so years of apartment living, I only ever got a couch and rug I liked. Fast forward a few years from when I got those items and the couch I've gotten bored of and the rug just had one too many accidental spills. So starts the desire for a new couch! 

I have absolutely fallen in love with the tufted designs of these couches. They look sophisticated and luxurious!

via home decorator's collection

Some pieces can be formal centerpieces in a living room, others look more like futuristic, fancy futons.
via crate and barrel

Overall though, I have been loving a grey/black/white color scheme. It's easy to match and decorate around. You can choose any color as an accent and it'll blend in. 
via home decorator's collection

Now, if someone could just help me out and throw a grand or two my way? Thaaaaanks. That's a reasonable budget, right? 
via home decorator's collection

In all seriousness, what does your couch look like? Do you like it? What's your ideal couch? 

Monday, January 11

Summer 2014 - Scotland Recap 2

To see the first part of my Scotland Recap, which actually takes place in London, please see here. The story continues!

Thursday, July 19 - Travel to Scotland Day 

I left relatively early from my friend's house, and good thing too, as I got on the wrong train and there happened to be a delay in the service. I got a lemonade and almond croissant at the airport. The almond croissant was amazing and there's something about overpriced lemonade that was incredibly satisfying as well. The almond croissant is one of my new food loves. 

Next, continuing my flight connection drama, when I talked to Virgin Atlantic, they blamed my travel agency and proclaimed I could not possibly make that flight. I purchased a new ticket for about 270 dollars. Oh well... 

Following landing in Edinburgh, I spent 4 hours taking what should have been a 2 hour bus ride since the bus broke down on me! Finally at dinner time, I landed in Anstruther, a small fishing village in Fife, Scotland. I could have been stranded in Scotland, but thank goodness, I met up with my friend. 

For dinner we had Anstruther's famous Fish and Chips. It was good, but does not stand out among the fish and chip dishes that I've sampled. Also, due to travel and trying out new foods in the past few days, I had not had many vegetables in the past few days and found myself craving a fresh salad. I never even realized that could have such an effect on me!

Friday, July 20th - St. Andrews Day 

My friend attended the University at St. Andrews. I was content to relax for the day, explore the castle and graveyard (I soon learned that there was a castle and graveyard in every Scottish city), the golf courses, the university and the town. 

But first, breakfast. We went to breakfast at this absolutely adorable place called the Cottage Kitchen. Its white walls and wood furniture had a seaside cottage feel to it. 

I absolutely loved the decor... so you now get a ton of decor pictures! Everything was beautiful to me... from the spice jars to the gorgeous pastries on display, this place radiated seaside charm.

We ended up getting a full breakfast. Hot chocolate + coffee of some kind. I forget.

We may have also gotten cake for breakfast. This was amazing. Light and sweet but not cloying, so tasty!

Other breakfast items included toast with eggs. This was good, but if you slather anything in that much butter, it's gotta be good. I got toast with scrambed eggs and lox. The lox was great! You could definitely tell that it was quality.

My friend is a marine biologist. She studies whales and other such marine mammals. She's writing a super awesome thesis. And just for fun, she trains seals on the side. Friday morning, she had one of these seal training sessions and so I accompanied her to the local aquarium. While I was waiting outside for the aquarium to open, I captured the absolutely amazing view. Wouldn't you love to have a picnic out here? 

The aquarium itself was a bit disappointing. But after wandering around, we soon found ourselves in St. Andrew's famous golf courses. Here's a fact I learned: Most people have never heard of St. Andrews. Those who have, and especially those who are excited by the idea of visiting are avid golfers.I didn't really know what was going on so I just ended up taking a few pictures. 

From there, we wandered back into town and grabbed a smoothie at a local cafe. Afterwards, we went to visit the ruins of the cemetery and castle. I was really impressed by this site, but as I quickly learned, every since city in Scotland had some kind of ancient castle. 

Though the St. Andrews was less than 5 miles wide, we didn't really plan our trip well and ended up walking from one side of the town to the other... then back again. So it wasn't even 4pm when I got very tired. After lounging about, feeling sleepy for a while, I got some ice cream. This is an incredibly famous brand in Scotland... and I can see why. My elderflower flavored sorbet was delicious. After this, we went back and I promptly passed out until about 9pm, when I watched Drop Dead Fred with my friend and her landlord. 

Monday, January 4

Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer Review

I have always, always wanted a foundation that looked cool like this. It's something childish about me that thinks the swirly effect is really really cool!

However, I'm not really in love with this particular foundation. It's more a tinted moisturizer, with a faint color that I feel like evens out my skin tone. (Not that I was expecting great coverage, I realize it says moisturizer with sunscreen on the box.) There's also SPF 15, which probably doesn't do much, but makes me feel less guilty. However, I hate the texture of this foundation. It comes out of the tube quite liquidy and blends in nicely with just my fingers but I feel the tacky texture on my face. There's not only a sticky feeling, but that stick feeling stays on your face for more than 15 minutes.

I'm still using it up now though... 
Looking forward to what my next foundation purchase should be! 

What foundation are you currently wearing? 

Monday, December 28

Healthy Snacks for the New Year?!

Now that Christmas has come and gone, we've just got New Years to go before we, as a society, feel bad for what we've consumed, how little we've moved and set goals for the New Year. I know that whatever your philosophy toward new year resolutions is, we all like to improve.

So many I'll just approach this topic from my point of view. I have a problem with overeating... I just really like food that much! Planning my snacks out helps me fix this problem, so let's bring healthy cereal bars in to the conversation. There's a lot of brands out there! Nature Valley, Kind, Luna... Each offers its own benefits and draw backs. Recently, I was introduced to another brand - Nakd bars. 

They sent me a variety pack, and I was seriously impressed. There was a time in college where I used these snack bars to supplement meals and as study snacks. Now, I eat these in that 10am period and that 3pm period before and after lunch. Here's what I liked and disliked about them!

Variety of Flavors - Look at these flavors! With some other brands, there were generally only one or two flavors I really liked, but these come with so many! I especially like the seasonal flavors like Pecan Pie, Christmas Pud and Gingerbread. Now, I will say that I haven't gone through all the flavors and that some flavors do taste pretty similar, but I also haven't encountered any I dislike!

Price - Health food can get expensive, and cereal or protein bars are no exception. Nakd bars are on par with its competitors, clocking in at a little over a dollar per bar (without a sale). I've heard that some would pay more for their healthy snacks but for me, I like to compare to vending machine snacks. It is about the same as a bag of chips for $1.25, but much healthier. Can't argue with that! Free shipping in the US too!

Availability - I think this is a drawback. Whereas we can pick up many other kinds of cereal bars in our grocery stores, I've only see Nakd online. You definitely have to put in a bit of extra effort to purchase it, but like I said, at least shipping is free. 

Natural Ingredients - This is not an super important criteria with me, because in my opinion, I'm winning as long as I am not eating chips (or hot cheetos... mmm. Hot cheetos). The ingredients in these bars are much healthier than any other bar I've seen. These bars are made JUST from fruits and nuts with no added sugars. See above, there's just dates, cashews and raisins in this bar. Sure, that means they're not covered with chocolate drizzle or coco nibs like the other bars I eat, but that commitment to natural ingredients is something to be admired. I know exactly what I'm eating and it's all for energy... no fillers involved. 

Check out their products here! Also, see below for a product shot. It's not beautiful. But it is tasty. 

Monday, December 21

How to Find Work Staples: The Pump

The fourth and last essential in my Work Place Staples series is the Pump! 

For footwear, there’s nothing more classic than the pump. Personally, I don’t like 5/6 inch sky high tall shoes for work. There’s a perception that these shoes are more appropriate for clubbing than the office, but for me, I think it’s also how you wear them. It looks bad if your shoes are a bit too tall and your skirt is a bit too short, but wearing a pair of taller heels because your pants are currently unhemmed? Guilty! My other reason why I dislike taller shoes is that I walk slowly in sky-high heels. Don’t be the girl who can’t walk in her own shoes. 

Returning back to the types of pumps I do like though… I think I have a very specific preferred height of 3.5 inches. 
Office Staples: the Pump

The Black Pump - I’m not a girl of very many surprises, but it really shouldn't surprise you that I like plain black pumps. These go with your business suit, any outfit that could use a bit of toning down and everything in between

The Textured Pump - This is something new that I’ve been loving lately. The textured pump can be a basic color, because it's the texture really makes it stand out. I like alligator, suede and ponyhair to add a bit of dimension down below.

The Nude Pump - The nude pump is not a cop out... same shoe as the black pumps, just a different color. It's actually one of my favorite ways to fix up an outfit. The nude pump elongates the legs if the skirt or dress you're wearing cuts you off at a strange height and if you want to make your outfit a bit more springy. 

The Patterned Pump - Very similar to the textured pump, this shoe just adds interest to an outfit. If you're going plain with the outfit (no patterns, no statement jewelry, etc) just let your feet do the talking!

If you liked this post, please check out the rest of my Work Stapes series...

What type of shoe do you usually wear to work? And Happy Holidays!