FAVORITE FINDS – JUNE EDITION

This month for my “Favorite Finds” post, I am sharing THE MOST COMFORTABLE SANDALS EVER! I am always on the hunt for shoes that are not only stylish & trendy but also comfortable! There is nothing worse than cheap, flimsy sandals that kill your feet. I stumbled across these beauties at DSW but I also looked online and Nordstrom Rack & Amazon sell them as well. I usually wear a size 7 and sized down to a 6.5 in these as they run sort of long. They for real feel like you’re walking on a cloud. I really love the back … they look really cute from behind. The platform adds a little height but it’s not too much by any means. I am going to wear them in Denver this weekend so I will give you an update on how they hold up!

NAIL DASHES

I have had my nails done every single day for the last 7ish years. It’s just my thing. I don’t do many other beauty things like that but having my nails done is just something that is a non-negotiable for me. It makes me feel put together and I just like it.

I did gel polish for many years and the last couple years I have done dipping powder on my natural nails. I have tried literally EVERY SINGLE damn nail salon in Minneapolis and even the surrounding burbs. I have a found a couple that do a decent job but honestly there’s always one nail that’s messed up, or a knick on my cuticle, or nails that get messed up in a day … I could go on and on. Point being, I have not found a salon or nail tech that is always 100% on it.

So, naturally I was scrolling on IG and stumbled across something about “nail dashes”. I looked into them a little more and they are sold by a company called Red Aspen. I honestly didn’t dig too deep, but I think they are a direct sales company who also specialize in lashes. I ordered directly from their website, not a sales rep. Basically they are thin nails that glue on, last 2 full weeks and come off by just soaking in soapy water. I thought I would at least give them a try. They are also relatively cheap at around 13$ for a box which comes with tons of nails, glue, two sided file, & a scrapper tool. They claim you can reuse them as well. This is my first set so I haven’t done the soak off & reusing process yet.

I finally got around to trying them out last week and I am REALLY happy with them! I got two colors: “Kathryn & the Ballet Slipper” and “Nina on Cloud 9”. They are both from the “short nails” section and come in a square shape but you can very easily file them to any length & shape you want. I decided to try the Kathryn & the Ballet Slipper ones first. They are super thin and the application process was very easy. I followed the directions on the box and had no issues. It didn’t take long at all and they look natural and great! They honestly feel like my natural nail too. It took a fraction of the time and the price is insanely cheaper than going to the salon every two weeks, so I will definitely try the other set next! It’s been 11 days and they still look & feel great!

MIA TURNS THREE

Mia’s birthday was already a week ago (6/7)! I have taken a little time to myself this past week after school ended but I still wanted to document her third birthday on the blog!

If you’ve read Mia’s Story then you know we are not totally certain on her birthday but I have been celebrating on 6/7 the last three years because somewhere on her intake paperwork from the Kentucky shelter, it said 6/7! This year Alex & I threw her a little BBQ party where we grilled out and Mia got a special chicken dinner (her fave)! She has a very sensitive tummy so I didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary so she wouldn’t get sick. She enjoyed her special dinner (actually I made so much that she pretty much celebrated for the entire week!) and got a couple new toys to top off the celebration!

I’m not going to lie, I get a little emotional when I think about how she is growing up. She is my baby and I want her to stay my little baby forever. I have been beyond blessed for three years now. She is the light in my world every single day.

LOVE YOU MIA BOO. XOXO.

THERAPY

I took this picture here in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago and it made me think really deep for some reason. If you look closely you can see a little bird on the wire in the middle of a dark cloud … and then outside of the cloud there is a bright blue sky & green trees. To me, it represented being stuck in tough times but to never forget things will always get better and there’s more out there than just where you’re stuck at.

I was always one of those people who “didn’t need” therapy and thought it was all a scam. After getting divorced and having some family drama I decided that I should try to go. I tried twice actually. But I didn’t really vibe with the therapists and I hadn’t hit rock bottom yet. I wasn’t ready. I am a huge believer that until someone is actually ready, therapy will make NO difference.

Well in November of 2015 I officially hit my rock bottom. I started seeing a therapist and my first visit was an interesting one. She straight up looked me in the eyes and told me she doesn’t work with women in abusive relationships because it’s such a vicious cycle and she never sees any of them get out and change. I sat there stunned. Typically I would have thought she was a major bitch and never have gone back there. But something deep down told me to go back the next week. I continued to see her for the next 8 months. Usually once a week, sometimes twice and eventually every few weeks near the end. Maybe her saying that gave me enough motivation to prove her wrong. I don’t know. She did apologize at my very last session about making that comment and told me she was proud of me for not being one of those women who never gets out.

You should “shop around” until you find someone who you truly vibe with and trust. Do not be afraid to speak up if it’s not working out, therapists even say this to you. You are not going to connect with every therapist and that’s perfectly okay. Once you finally connect with someone, you will know. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a couple to find the best one.

Anyway, my point in writing this is just to say that you should never be ashamed to see a therapist. No one is above asking for or receiving help. I have been doing a lot of reading lately about how my generation will be the one to break the family trauma cycles & patterns and begin healing. I am a big believer in the transgenerational trauma theory, which basically says trauma can be transferred or passed down to future generations. It’s empowering to read how the stigma of therapy is changing and how now more than ever, people are putting their mental health needs first and healing. That gives me hope. I honestly think some type of therapy and self reflection should be required for every mid to late 20 year old. You go through such a significant change during this period. You are ready to process some of the wounds you’ve endured thus far and mature enough to start thinking about the future and breaking your patterns that no longer serve you.

I started going to therapy for a specific incident and of course it opened the doors to many other issues I had never addressed. Part of the problem is that we just don’t have the tools and knowledge to know what to do to confront our past issues. Having the help of a professional to guide you through those mucky waters is extremely beneficial. They are also an unbiased third party just there to listen and offer suggestions. It did wonders for me working through some deeply rooted issues. There were childhood issues that clearly shaped how I view the world, but I never had thought about that before. My therapist helped me pinpoint my issues and then helped me work through them so that I was able to move on and heal on a deep level. She gave me tools, resources, knowledge, and strategies. I have seen that there are now a lot of online virtual therapists too, which could be a good unique option for some. I know for me, that uncomfortableness of being face to face with another human being confiding my intimate and dark secrets, was what I needed. I don’t think I would have gotten as much out of it if I wasn’t face to face.

If you’ve ever considered therapy or have been on the fence about it, I strongly encourage you to try it out. The worst that can happen is that you just don’t go back. It shows you are FULL of courage and a true warrior to confront tough shit from your past. When you WANT to heal, you will … so be patient with yourself at the same time.

CLEANING 101

Sort of a funny topic, but I get told a lot how clean & organized my place is, so I figured I would share some easy tips for how I keep it clean without feeling too overwhelmed. This will be more “cleaning tips & tricks” and I’ll save “organization” tips for another post.

I’ve been in my place about five years now. When I first moved here I literally hardcore cleaned it every few days which was totally overkill! I didn’t even have a dog at that point and it was just unnecessary! I would spend like 4 hours deep cleaning it! I know, I know. I think I finally have a manageable plan in place that is not overwhelming while working full time as a teacher.

I am naturally a very clean person and find cleaning therapeutic in a sense. So my cleaning habits come second nature to me.

Below are 10 tips & tricks that help me stay on top of cleaning:

↠ I always clean up after myself immediately. If I use something, I tidy it up right after I’m done using it. I clean my dishes right after I use them too. I never let dishes pile up. I’m sort of always in a state of tidying & cleaning. I never let it get too messy. A little bit each day keeps it manageable.

↠ Along this same note, everything has a designated place in my apartment. Nothing is just stored on the floor randomly. This helps keeps things tidy almost all of the time.

↠ I make my bed every morning. It sets the tone for the day and makes my room space feel clean, crisp & put together.

↠ I never run out of cleaning supplies! I take after my mom with this one! HA! When I am getting low on anything I add it to my shopping list. So that by the time I do run out, I already have a replacement purchased. This is a tip for not only cleaning supplies but really anything you purchase on a consistent basis.

↠ I always do a sweep of the apartment before I go to bed. I tidy the living room quick, wipe the kitchen counters, etc. I never go to bed with a mess left out. That way when I wake up in the morning, I start with a clean slate.

↠ I have conducted a couple of major purges to my apartment. I have been trying to downsize and live a more minimalistic lifestyle. Less stuff = less mess!

↠ Every week, usually on Tuesday, I dust, sweep, vacuum, wipe down and clean my entire apartment. I’ve got this down to a science, so it doesn’t take me too long at all. It starts to feel gross after a week so this timeframe works great for me, especially with having a little furry friend! If you have a consistent day that you clean it never gets forgotten about. It’s just a non-negotiable, I always do this.

↠ Laundry & sheets are also washed weekly. If you stay on top of laundry it’s not too bad. Which means you need to put it away immediately too! I have never understood people with piles of clean laundry?! I literally make time to put it away immediately every single time. It’s important to have a laundry system to keep things running smoothly!

↠ I do a deep cleaning every few months where I really go to town. This includes cleaning floors, walls, windows, rugs, etc. I also refill soaps, change toothbrushes, clean the stove/oven & microwave this day.

↠ Invest in a quality air purifier to help with settling dust. I also swear this just helps keep my apartment smelling nice and keeps my allergies at bay. I live on a really busy street and there is soot/dirt that gets blown up too, so this helps a lot.

So there’s that! I would say those are my 10 big tips & tricks that I follow consistently to keep my space tidy! Let me know if you have any other hacks that are beneficial, I am always open to new ways to save time & energy!

MIA’S STORY

My sweet little boo is getting her very own intro post! She is literally my entire life so it’s only fitting she gets her own post. This will almost be like a birth story for my baby Mia … I KID I KID … sort of.

Okay, in all seriousness, Mia and I met in August 2016. I wasn’t really in the market for a dog … it just sort of all happened. From what I recall, it was a Thursday in late July 2016. I had enjoyed a lot of red wine and was searching petfinder.com where I stumbled across a picture of what would end up being Mia’s sister. I knew immediately that I wanted her! They had a meet and greet event on that Saturday. I went right when it opened and searched high and low for the dog I saw online. I spotted her!!! I went running over to be the first person there. I met the foster mom and she explained that the dog I had seen online had actually been spoken for. I had a split second of sadness, until she whipped out this other little nugget and told me that this was her sister and this one was still available. And there my baby was! Her name back then was actually Amelie. She was 6 weeks old, 3 pounds, fit in the foster mom’s palm and was trembling like crazy! They had been in quarantine for several weeks because of the risk for parvo, so this was literally the first time she was out of the house and with all these people. After loving her up a little and getting a protective gut instinct feeling when I saw other people holding her and requesting information from the foster mom, I marched over to lobby area and filled out an adoption application. I had to do a little in-person interview and was told I would be notified in a couple days. I left feeling confident that I was going to be the new proud owner of that little pup! I went out and bought all the dog supplies I would need. I even went and got a name tag/collar set made with the imprinted name, MIA.

Well good thing for me, I got the call a couple of days later and was told that Amelie had a record number of applicants but I was chosen to rescue her!!! WHATTT! I was so pumped! I had to wait about a week until she recovered from her spay/microchip surgery. She got delivered on Friday 8/12/16. She wouldn’t come out of her kennel and didn’t know how to walk on wood floors so she army crawled for several days. We had a couple of moments where we both just sat looking at one another across the room, like “ummmm what are we supposed to do now?” … you see, prior to Mia, I did whatever I wanted and didn’t have to take care of anyone but myself. That came to a screeching halt but I wouldn’t change it or the world. I must say that old line “who rescued who”, is seriously true. I was sort of on a reckless path and Mia changed that for me. She didn’t know she was signing up to be my personal therapy dog and BFF. She is also very quirky and anxious, which I contribute to her early days, and I am patient enough to love her through those things. I don’t have kids and have plenty of time and love to give her. She is the seriously the queen bee of this household. We are two peas in a pod who help each other every single day.

I went through Safe Hands Rescue and had a great experience. From what I know about Mia, she was born in Kentucky and abandoned. I think she was born on June 7, 2016. She was left at a kill shelter with her sister. Safe Hands works with Kentucky shelters and runs “freedom trains” back and forth to save as many babies as they can. Mia took the freedom train to Chicago and then got a van ride here to Minneapolis. They told me I was getting a tiny little chihuahua mix that would fit in my purse … that didn’t quite happen LOL. She is closer to 20 pounds and we know from her sister’s DNA test, that she’s a min-pin, chihuahua, dachshund and some other mix (maybe beagle or rat terrier). I could not imagine my life without my little girl. It’s crazy to think about how much I love her little soul. I will leave you with some of my favorite shots from the last almost three years.

WIDE LEG PANTS

I was so excited to see this trend make its way back into our lives! I am all about COMFORT when it comes to outfits. Wide leg pants, maxi dresses, sports bras, and of course yoga pants … those are my go-tos! Not sure how some people can rock jeans every single day … more power to them! Anyway, back to my excitement about this wide leg comfy pants trend! They totally remind me of those gaucho pants we used to wear in like middle school. Super wide, flowy and soft. I was unsure if I would find any that would fit me right, now that I am a grown woman and all (HA), but I did find TWO pairs that I love! I am pretty short (5’2 on a good day) so I definitely have to wear them with wedges but that’s okay!

The first pair I bought are from Target, I mean would you expect anything less?! #targetforlife (here is the link) I got an XS and they fit perfect. I am usually not a “navy” girl but the thought of wearing these with a burnt orange top sold me. SUPER CUTE.

I was randomly browsing TJMAXX the other week and found a second pair, which I obviously snatched up! These are black and white striped and look great with a black tee for work or a black tank. It may be harder to track these down since they are from TJ’s but still may be worth a look there to see if they have any in your size. The brand of these is “JOLT” and they are a size S.

So to say I am excited is an understatement! These are not only cute and comfy but also super functional and work appropriate. My eyes will be peeled for any more cute ones that I stumble into this summer!