Graduation Season: What I thought I knew in college.

Graduation season is among us!

It's hard to believe that I've technically graduated three times. Four, if you count eighth grade graduation. And I obviously do.

I recently took a new job. I've had the pleasure of being surrounded by folks younger than me. It's one of the first times this has ever happened to me. I graduated college early, so in my first and second job, I was younger than our interns. I'm used to being young.

Fast forward to this new job...I'm no spring chicken you guys. 

As we were chatting yesterday, we were reminiscing on the college days at Kent State. Mine, a bit farther than others and riddled with stories of The Robin Hood which was actually not even present when a lot of my coworkers attended Kent. SUCH a loss. Truly.

I digress. Coming together for this conversation, coupled with a recent bachelorette bash and impending weddings, showers, babies...I went back in my mind to the day I graduated. I went back to everything I thought I knew, what I actually knew, and the things I might never know.

They are listed below.

1. "I'm going to make $100,000 within 5 years." OK. You might laugh at this one, but it's actually possible in certain careers. However, when I chose advertising I should have known better. Ad students, you still have time to become a lawyer. That's my PSA.

2. "I should probably get married shortly." To which now I think, 'why?' What was the rush, really?

3. "I'll probably always stay on the agency-side of advertising." I credit ad agencies to some of the most fun, most exciting and most career-driving years of my life. But at some point I realized there's value to a life outside of the bio-dome that is ad agencies. It's not the same, but it's pretty great none-the-less.

4. "I'll get ahold of my budgeting." This, this. This. I am still working on. Seven years later, I've got to get my life in order. I opened a second Roth for the kids I hope to someday have, and actually direct deposit into savings. Holy shit, I'm a grown up.

5. "Why do I have to call and make all my own appointments now?" Gone are the days of my mom telling me when I need to go to the doctor, reminding me to fill prescriptions and helping me understand insurance. I mean, who knew that sometimes, you actually got paper bills in the mail that you had to pay, not just throw out as junk? And why is it so hard to keep track of your health insurance card? 7 years later, I think I've got it down. And those papers bills? You should probably file them. Filing cabinets? That's some serious #adulting.

6. "I'm so fat." Always. What girl hasn't thought this about herself? If there's anything I've learned since college, it's to have a little self-love. Actually, a lot of it. But, also to embrace the changes you want to make—don't feel like you can't make them. We know I have Botox, and do fillers in my lips now and again (holy expensive!) I'm not ashamed. Do things that make you feel better with the caveat that looks don't, and will never, define you. And ignore every single person that says, "Don't do that! You don't need it! You're beautiful." It's not for them anyway, right? Say thank you, and promptly call Dr. 90210.

7. "The past doesn't affect me." This is one of my very favorites. Who was I kidding? The past affects every single one of us. We can suppress the things that have happened to us, that we've done, experiences good and bad and sum them all up to "the past" and living in "the future" but it's just not the case. Take some time to get to know yourself. Therapy is one of the most valuable things I've found in my adult years (and please, I consider adult over 25.) Why you act the way you do, why you're different, why some things add up for you and others don't. Just why? There might be more reason than you think.

8. "I'm not hungover at all." HA! You will notice a huge shift from drinking till the wee hours of the morning, getting up, working out, and doing it all over again. And develop a preference for day drinking, or "drinking your dinner" because trust and believe, your metabolism has slowed down and sometimes ya just can't do both at night. Day drinking allows for bed at a great time, no hangover the next day and is all around the way to do it. 

9. "I have a five year plan." See: all of the above. Fuck a five year plan. I had no plan. I had an idea in my head that was not real life. If I'm planning today, I'm planning for a year. That's all I got. Who the hell knows what's to come in FIVE?

10. "Life is just beginning." Truth. But I still think this just about every single day. What I've learned now that I didn't know then, is that I would probably go back and enjoy the time I was in college more. Do more "college-like" things, not graduate early, embrace those sorority relationships.

Because if I really think about it, life isn't just beginning at graduation. It's ending every single day. Not to be super depressing but, we are all aging. We are all losing time, not gaining it. And it's not an unlimited resource. Time is not infinite. Life began long ago. It's always high-time to embrace it. Not thanks to a moment like a graduation, birthdays and deaths. The big moments remind us of this fact, but the little ones should as well. I'd say I went from "life is just beginning" to, "this IS life." 

What did you think you knew in college?

And the Oscar goes to...

I’m going to warn you, there are some things in this blog that many are not going to like. I disagreed with A LOT of my favorites regarding ensembles for last night’s 2017 Oscars.

Buckle up, people!

Kirsten Dunst. Honestly if there was an award show to wear this gown to, it’s the Oscars. But I just can-not get down with the insane makeup, black shoes, black gown, gothic vibes. I think it weighs her down, and doesn’t do her any justice.

Leslie Mann. I adore this color, especially against the red carpet. But the gown lit-er-ally looks like a down comforter. It’s too big for her tiny little figure and she’s getting washed out by the color. A big miss for me.

Alicia Vikander. I know, I know. Kill me. This girl is seriously one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen. I just thought her outfit choice was boring and a little infantile for her, no?

Dakota Johnson…is weird. But, like, really though. You could not seem like you don’t want to be there any more than you do when you’re interviewed. Girl. It’s like, don’t show up then! You’ve done two movies that unfortunately have flopped, you should just be happy you’re invited! So put a smile on and answer Ryan's dumb-ass questions like the rest of ‘em.

Halle Berry. There is a family of beavers living on your head. That is all.

Felicity Jones looks like a child and it makes me uncomfortable. She looks young enough as it is, and then she shows up dressed as Angelina Ballerina? No.

Emma Stone. OK. Crucify me! You guys know how I feel about a theme, and I just think she can-not get enough of La La Land. At the Golden Globes it was silver stars all over the gown and last night, the homage to the 20’s with the Givenchy tassels galore. It’s like, meet us in 2017. The movie is over, it definitely didn’t win best picture. Let’s get back to plunging necklines and jumpsuits Emma, shall we?

Other travesties: Cynthia Erivo, Ava DuVernay, ScarJo, Salma Hayek, Ginnifer Goodwin, Casey Affleck, Priyanka Chopra

Now, the winners. Because there were some real stand outs last night...

Viola Davis. Damn! Lady in red Armani Prive! Gorgeous! So sleek and sexy while showing  just the right amount of skin and a chic short swept cut, showcasing her can-not-be-real beauty and agelessness!

Brie Larson. You guys. I loved this. I loved this so much more that Taraji P. Henson’s velvet gown. The hair, the red lip, the sleek fabric underneath the velvet shown through the ruffle, the strappy black shoes…I cannot.

Ryan Gosling in Gucci. I gasped and of course, sat in awe of this amazing Gucci tux. It’s such an homage to a past era (not the era of La La Land, I might add) with the velvet, one button, and shawl lapel but still so amazingly current and on-trend.

Bloggers Note: I realize this doesn’t make up for thinking you won an Oscar, only to have it ripped from your hands minutes later. But hey! You looked mighty fine doing it!

Hailee Steinfeld. Listen, no one currently annoys me as much as this girl does (no, I have no rationale for this) but I give credit where credit is due and I thought she stun-nnn-nnn-ed last night.

Ruth Negga. Red on the red carpet is so difficult but boy did she pull it off. This custom Valentino gown is stun-ning. The hairpiece is the best of the night by far. While I might have done a smaller earring, I really think the entire look pulled together fabulously.

Jessica Biel. What. a. stunner. I almost died and went to heaven over that amazing Tiffany’s collar. I would like to someday take nude maternity pictures with only that necklace on. Over share? Maybe. This ensemb is such a statement. I loved the hair, makeup, clutch…everything about this. She nailed it.

Naomie Harris. I love Calvin Klein, love! Usually my girl Heidi is the only one brave enough to wear his skin tight silhouettes on the carpet but last night Harris gave her a run for her money! The perfect cut out, CAPE, and mismatched shoes made this a total win for me. The critique that she isn't dressed up enough for the event? Let's get real people, Casey Affleck looks like a homeless man and he's allowed in.

Other winners: Nicole Kidman, Taraji P. Henson, Olivia Culpo, Riz Ahmed, Mahershala Ali

Overall, it was a lovely night on the red carpet with the exception of a little mishap. But these things happen, right? Hopefully everyone feels sufficiently worse from the excessive after parties than they did in that moment.

Cheers!

2017 Grammys

The Grammys! The shit show of awards show fashion. I can’t. I lit-er-ally can-not. It’s just so insanely ridiculous, it’s too good. But this year, other than Cee Lo Green and Joy Villa, which I refuse to comment on in this blog, I was a little disappointed in the hideousness of the ensembs. There were a few, but what happened to the days where Lady G arrived in an egg, ya know?

This year, we had a few real misses (and some that I hate to even put pen to paper due to my absolute love for the person wearing them.)

Katie Perry

I was so excited for this outfit! She Snapped the top and I saw her makeup and hair and almost passed out from elation. Then, she came out for the full show and I wanted to rip off every single tacky feather on the Tom Ford skirt and cut all the excess off of that turtle neck. Can you imagine if this entire turtle neck chic blouse was a body con dress on her in-sane hour shape figure? Come on! She looks like a grandma albeit a chic one.

Girl Crush

I honestly could not tell you who this person is or what she sings. All I know is that she looks like an asshole.

Halsey

I honestly BARELY know who you are which means now is not the time to wear a dumb outfit. Become Lady G and then we'll revisit this.

Taraji P Henson

She’s got a lot to live up to because we all know Cookie is bri-ing-ing-it on the daily. This was so confusing. The sleeves, the lavender the appliqués and the wrinkles….good God the wrinkles.

Elle King

DRESS FOR YOUR SHAPE. She is absolutely gorgeous and this busy print is doing no-th-ing for her. I can’t even imagine how amazing she’d look in a figure-flattering solid.

I really want to bring up Celine Dion but I’m afraid I’ll disappear immediately and never return. So, I'll leave it up to you to discover.

Other disasters: Andra Day, Laverne Cox (I know, I’m sorry!), Santigold, Jacqueline Van Bierk, Heidi Klum, Cassadee Pope, Sibley Scoles

 

Now, for the best dressed. The winners of the red carpet. The fashion forward men and women who make my heart happy...

JLo

Need I say more?

Kat Graham

This is insane. Top to bottom the striped gown in the perfect cut, slicked hair and the most gorgeous red lip. This is a home run for me.

Paris Jackson

We all know I die for a Balmain Army Girl. When she came on the red carpet I immediately exclaimed she was my first favorite. I love the colors of this gown, the drapes and the cut-outs and her hair is amazing!

Rihanna in Armani Privé

Holy shit. I have no words. I am so obsessed with this entire look. Her tattoo under the gorgeously fitted crop top? Um. Sexy! And the fullness of the skirt contrast with the skimpiness of the top? Die. Hair and earrings are perfection. Such a fun Grammys look.

Adele

Hello, regal. (I realized after I wrote this that it is ironic.) Riccardo Tisci, a good Italian boy and GIVENCHY, knows how to design for the women with curves. She looks beautiful! I love a long sleeve and the cinch at the waist? I’m here for it.

Diana Gordon

If you don’t know this Queen, she wrote and produced with Bey on her Lemonade album. I loved this simple, chic black gown with fun cutouts and tied sleeves to Grammy-it-up.

Gaga

Do I like this outfit? No. Do I think she’s insane and die for it? Yes. But Gaga makes my best dressed list in that she did not let the insane body-shamers get the best of her and came out looking so fierce in basically nothing. For those men and women who said her stomach was over her shorts at the super bowl? F*** you.

Chance the Rapper

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What a cool way to rock a two piece suit. I loved this entire ensemble for the Grammys. His signature ball cap with a super structured grey suit and the shoes bringing the cap back? So cool. It was just dressy enough but totally indicative of his signature style.

Other greats: Maren Morris in Michael Costello, Chrissy Teigen, Demi Lovato, Lea Michele (gown only), Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill

Overall, it was a better day for best dressed than the worst. But hey, maybe they are finally figuring it out? Hire a stylist. Not a weird one. Like, a fab one, Rachel Zoe or something. OK? Cool.

Blogger PSA: If you want to feel old, try to watch the Grammys and realize how many people you don't know.

See ya soon!

Gift Guide: Men, this for you. This is Valentine's Day.

Men. In just about one week, the day where love is in the air, cupid is flying high and chocolates are an essential food group is here.

So, I’m going to help you out and drop a little knowledge. Because let’s admit it, you need a lot of direction. A lot.

And honestly, I’m really against red roses in general. I also don’t want a heart shaped chocolate box. And I certainly do not want an Everlasting, Best Friends, Soulmate…whatever the f*ck necklace, ring or bracelet from any store in the mall that you saw on a commercial. Not for me. I mean, they are great and all for others, but just not my vibe.

Here are my top 5 gifts for Valentine’s Day

Perfume. What could be more romantic than a gorgeous scent picked out by a significant other because he thinks it’s perfect for you? Nothing. Unless it smells terrible and in that case, that’s what gift receipts are for. Currently, I’m obsessed with My Burberry Black. It’s amber and musky and I love it. But, if your girl typically goes floral, this isn’t for her.

Jewelry. There are so many places to get great jewelry that is extremely well-made while being unconventional and fun as well. I love these stacking rings on Etsy, anything from Catbird and Baublebar is sure to go over well.

Sneaks. I luuurve a good his and hers sneaker situation. I have been seriously coveting these adorable Nike’s for-ever and—they’re pink! Perfect for your Valentine. Then pick up a pair for yourself and watch the “Awww” on her face.

Books. Books are so personal. I love, love, love a coffee table book. You only buy someone a coffee table book if you know it’s something indicative of their style and personality and that they will love to put it out for everyone to see on their…you got it, coffee table. If you’re wondering what’s on my wish list, duh.  But, this Kate Moss by Mario Testino is amazing too. So chic.

Lingerie. Not cheap lingerie. I like a Victoria’s Secret, but it’s been done and a little tired, right? Throw her off with a gorgeous, delicate unique piece or two. I’m obsessed with For Love and Lemons. It's my go to in pretty much all things summer weddings and lingerie. I die for it. Just die.  L’Agent by Agent Provocateur (an affordable version for us champagne taste, beer budget’ers) and Fleur du Mal are great, too.

A few other ideas: a framed print, a great candle, a pair of shoes (always), lipstick (a fun red color, love a theme) or her favorite but expensive sugar scrub/lotion/facial oil.

 

Blogger note: If your lovely lady has a Pinterest page, buy something off of it and you’re sure to be a winner.

Second Blogger note: These are general gifts. If your girl loves a particular hobby, that’s always a win. Yoga mat? Yoga clothes? I swoon. Get it?

Third and final note: If you know her favorite store, walk in and ask for help. A lot of stores have records of past purchases for their loyalty members. The clerks can take a look, get a feel for her style and help you pick out something killer.

Good luck and happy shopping!

 

2017 Book List

I don't know if you all have already been planning your book lists for this year, but thanks to an impending trip to Mexico, my lists were set extremely early! I thought I'd share the books I'm looking forward to reading in 2017 and maybe, before 2018, I'll wrap them up for you!

Tools of Titans. This book written by Tim Ferriss has been getting ALL the praise lately. You may have read his book The 4-Hour Work Week. His podcast is amazing, if you have time to subscribe and listen, do it. Basically, this is a book that is a practical and inspiring guide to being your best self. Who couldn't use more of that?

Managing Oneself. This book is all about cultivating a deep understanding of yourself. Your strengths and weaknesses, how you work, how you operate, how you learn. In today's world, it's up to us to keep a productive career—companies today aren't managing their knowledge workers careers—we are our own CEO. So, let's learn how to do it well.

The ONE Thing. We all want less. Less emails, less calls, less stress. But we also want more. More productivity, more income, more satisfaction. How do we this? We learn the ONE thing from Gary Keller.

The Power of Now. So, I never really subscribed to The Secret. It just wasn't my jam. But as a recommendation from a spiritual guide, I am excited to dive into this book. Learning how to live a pain-free identity by living fully in the present. Less manifestation, more presence work. 

The Daily Stoic. This is a daily read. Wake up, read one page. Easy as pie. It's a year of quotes and life lessons from the three great Stoic sages.

Love Warrior. Love Warrior is a story of Glennon Doyle Melton (author) found in a marriage dissolving due to infidelity, hitting rock bottom and working to acknowledge that her deepest pain, held her invitation to a richer life. It guides us all to learning how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful and brave. Able to confront pain and claim love that exists everywhere. It's a great read for anyone looking for deeper relationships and a more abundant and authentic life. Hello? All of us. 

The Universe Has Your Back. I've always been a huge fan of Gabrielle Bernstein. She is truly an enlightened woman that's lessons are practical enough for me to grasp on to, but enlightened enough that it connects to a higher power. The stories and lessons in the book guide us to release all of the blocks keep us from: happiness, security, clean direction. Relinquishing control so we can stop chasing life and just live.

The Anatomy of the Spirit. Another recommendation from a spiritual guide, it's a presentation of energy medicine. Showing how illness corresponds to a pattern of emotional and psychological stresses, beliefs and attitudes that correspond to areas of our body. A focus on the Chakras and seeing our body in a new way. A new hobby of mine, you may say.

And FINALLY, finish How Not To Die. The vast majority of deaths can be prevented through changes in diet and lifestyle. The top causes of premature death in America, things like: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, high blood pressure and more, can be prevented and even intervened upon due to nutritional and lifestyle changes.

So, with a few vacations and a goal of less TV at night (I'm a terrible sleeper,) I think I've got it on lock. 

What are you reading? Any of these you might pick up?