How to conquer stress, have flat abs, find your lifelong love and be a boss.

First step: Get a tunic that really is out of this world. This one was sent to me by the ever lovely ladies at White Plum boutique. Connect with them at the end of this post!

First step: Get a tunic that really is out of this world. This one was sent to me by the ever lovely ladies at White Plum boutique. Connect with them at the end of this post!

 

Enticing title, right? I thought so. As I type this, I’m just now (it’s 11:41 pm) sitting down and settling in for the night after a long day at school, meetings, and rehearsal.

You high-schoolers think college will be one big party, but let me tell you…school never stops at 2:45. But, I digress.

It’s 11:42 now, on a Tuesday in the midst of “Hell Week.”

I swear I’m not being overly dramatic, guys. It’s actually hell week. A cappella hell week, for my a cappella groupies and I in UPenn’s Counterparts. Fun fact: We’re John Legend’s alma mater group. Even more fun fact: He refuses to hang out with us, but I swear we’re super cool.

Our spring show is this weekend, so we’re in full gear; hell week means everyday rehearsal for 4-6 hours each day.

Since our 8 hour rehearsal on Sunday, I’ve found myself stressed. And by stressed, I mean way beyond stressed to the point of occasional breakdowns and a necessary onslaught of cute kitten pictures and cups of coffee. Actually, I was stressed-and-trying-to-not-have-an-anxiety-attack kinda stressed. But I’m not stressed from singing; just the bajillion and ten other things currently on my plate (none of which are carbs or chocolate – what fun is that? Read: none).

I’m sure we’ve all had those days. Those days when you map out your schedule, down to the minute, and you feel yourself starting to crack if something goes awry. Heaven forbid I didn’t eat my scheduled breakfast of oatmeal and an orange at 8:15 am, my day was just going to be doomed for disaster. (Seriously guys, I scheduled my oatmeal. Who does that?)

Originally, this post was going to let you into the aca-awkward world of college a cappella. We’re basically Pitch Perfect, sans Fat Amy but including mermaid floor dancing and horizontal running (duh).

But then I found myself completely losing my marbles, feeling anxious and in need of a chill pill (by chill pill, I mean wine coffee and chocolate). I was stressing about my body, I was stressing about my relationship, I was stressing about school and work, and I was stressing about stressing.

So instead, I’ve conjured up some quick lists (I toldja I like lists…) to help get you motivated, stress free, in shape and in love.

how to...

To conquer stress:

  1. Stop worrying about the future. Stop mulling over the past. When you live in the present moment, you’ll find there aren’t too many stressors, and bliss is more easily attainable.
  2. If you’re religious, find a favorite scripture to get you inspired. Otherwise, just search quotes on Pinterest until you find a few that really hit home for you. “You have enough hours in the day as Beyonce” is usually not sufficient.
  3. Put yourself in Olivia Pope’s shoes. Now you know stress.
  4. Breathe a lot. It’s good for you.
  5. Run up and down a flight of steps. Or, like in my case, 24 flights of steps. By the time you get to your actual floor, you’re too tired to remember anything but your burning tush and thighs, and you’ve got a nice almost-runner’s high going on…ahhhhh.

 To have flat abs:

  1. Plank everyday. Start with a 30 second plank and work upwards (Pinterest has ridiculously easy-to-follow guidelines for mastering plank workouts and getting up to 5 minutes on your elbows and toes. Because that sounds like a fun time, doesn’t it?)
  2. Eat ice cream and carbs. But only in moderation. Train your sweet tooth to crave natural sugars in fruit instead of process sugars in cakes or cookies. Once you’ve reigned in the sweets-craving beast, start to switch over to green smoothies, or lightly dip fruit in semi-sweet chocolate for a more gourmet treat.
  3. Eat chocolate and drink wine every day. The darker the chocolate and the redder the wine, the better. Otherwise, just stick with ice cream and carbs in moderation.
  4. Check out these fun ab workouts. Your core is literally the center of your body, so having a strong one is essential to feeling better in life overall! An added bonus: your core is a muscle set that can be worked every day, so take advantage of that for washboards in no time. Ok, a little time, or maybe a lot of time, but either way it’ll be so worth it.
  5. This is like the quest for the Holy Grail. It’s not easily attainable, but it’s oh-so-rewarding when you do. Just stop stressing about getting flat abs, because stressing gets you nowhere (see above).
Courtesy of: Pinterest

Courtesy of: Pinterest

To find your lifelong love:

  1. Refer to this post.
  2. And then this one.
  3. Stop trying (seriously). Be yourself, focus on your own dreams and aspirations, and get gutsy.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say hi first or call first or kiss first (this is the 21st century people).
  5. Once you’re in love and stressing for one reason or another about your relationship, remember all of the reasons why you’re with that person in the first place. Always keep perspective. And always have “I love you” be the thing to wake up and fall asleep hearing.
  6. Then, when you think you’ve found “The One,” refer to this one.

 

If you do all of the above, you’re basically a boss. If you actually want to be a boss (like at work…going all real world here), master the art of the professional email. It’s really an art, and people mess it up far too many times.

Once you do that, start networking with people who you could see being mentors down the road. Otherwise, don’t stress about rising the steps of the career ladder (refer back to How to conquer stress…), do your best work everyday, and stay in the moment.

By no means is each list anywhere near complete…there’s a bajillion and one factors that influence each. But this helped my thoughts this week, so I hope it helps yours too.

 

If it doesn’t, just resort to retail therapy…that always helps me, too.

As I mentioned above, White Plum hooked me up with a fantastically adorbs tunic, with a studded collar to boot. Check out their just-in arrivals, #ootd, house & home, and clearance sections on shopwhiteplum.com.

And connect with them on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more deals and steals.

 

Your stress-conquering, abs-molding, love-keeping and boss-being advice is appreciated, so let the comments commence.

AND, the big question…Do you want to get inside the a cappella world? 

“Sometimes I have the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, mmmm…better not.” – Fat Amy

Happy hump day, y’all. Stay classy.

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

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19 for $210.81 (Spring Fashion HAUL at ROSS Dress for Less)

EXCITED (but exhausted).

EXCITED (but exhausted).

College is this time for deep introspection and reflection, and sooner or later, we’re supposed to figure out some “gifts” that we each possess, special and unique and able to transform our corners of the world accordingly.

I swear my gift is bargain shopping.

That’s what I’ve learned from my Ivy League education thus far – how to create a killer wardrobe on an I-can’t-even-afford-Starbucks budget.

This spring break, I went all out with the momma at what we like to consider our “treasure hunt” store – Ross: Dress for Less.

The result? 19 pieces of clothing for a grand total of $210.81.

Yeah, that averages out to $11 a piece.

I’m talking all skirts, dresses, pants, and tops here people.

A disclaimer for the pictures that follow: For anyone who checked out this post on styling my fave sweater for spring, you’ll know that sometimes (most times) I make a less-than-par model. It was really windy and really cold when my wonderful brother agreed to play photog. Naturally, bloopers will follow.

I’m loving my Ross finds…

Heather grey sweater with studded shoulder detail - $14.99 Stretchy black pants - $10.99

Heather grey sweater with studded shoulder detail – $7.99
Stretchy black pants – $10.99

Pink, white, and grey top - $6.99

Pink, white, and grey. At a carnival or ball game, or just out about about, this is airy and light. I’ll feel fresh, fun, and flirty for… – $6.99

Neon stripes are always a fun mix-up. - $6.99

Business in the front, party in the back for… – $6.99

When you need a dress that flows behind you and makes you feel like a Victorian era fairy, this is it. - $14.99

When you need a dress that flows behind you and makes you feel like a Victorian era fairy, this is it. – $14.99

Yup, I found a business professional dress for... - $15.99

Yup, I’m reading to go corporate for… – $15.99

Mauve and ivory slouchy sweater - $12.99 (And check out that pearl and sparkle shoulder detail!)

Perfect for cooler nights, or anytime sunshine hits your shoulders and you want a real ‘BAM!’ effect. Mauve and ivory slouchy sweater for… – $12.99

Do skaters actually wear skater skirts? That’s the real question here. That, and how many floral print pieces of clothing does Erica own? (Answer: 21)  Floral Skater Skirt- $7.99

Do skaters actually wear skater skirts? That’s the real question here. That, and how many floral print pieces of clothing does Erica own? (Answer: 21)
Floral Skater Skirt- $7.99

Cheesin' it up for... - $10.99

Cheesin’ it up in a light n’ airy, grey and ivory top for… – $10.99

Because who couldn't use a tie dye maxi? - $11.99

Because who couldn’t use a tie dye maxi? – $11.99

When all else fails, let’s just put every “in” detail onto one piece of clothing and call it trendy. Tribal crop top - $4.99

When all else fails, let’s just put every “in” detail onto one piece of clothing and call it trendy. Tribal crop top – $4.99

This asymmetrical Jessica Simpson is fun, isn't it? Especially for... - $13.99

This asymmetrical Jessica Simpson is fun, isn’t it? Especially for… – $13.99

This mint zigzag is so swingy and light, and it won't wrinkle - what could be better? - $16.99

This mint zigzag is so swingy and light, and it won’t wrinkle – what could be better? – $16.99

A pretty textured ivory top is perfect for adding a little class and sweetness. - $13.99

A pretty textured ivory top is perfect for adding a little class and sweetness. – $13.99

This bright pink screams springtime - and a good deal. - $7.99

This bright pink screams springtime. – $7.99

Classy and chic, for... - $14.99

Classy and chic, for… – $14.99

Leopard is an ongoing theme of mine. Fierce, right? - $9.99

Leopard is an ongoing theme of mine. Fierce, right? Rawr for… – $9.99

Nothing says spring more than florals. - $7.99

Nothing says spring more than floral. Especially floral for… – $7.99

This one takes the cake. It's classy. It's cobalt. It's cowl neck. It was... - $11.99

This one takes the cake. It’s classy. It’s cobalt. It’s cowl neck. It was… – $11.99

 

My friends tend to ask me, “How do you find stuff for that cheap?!”

I’m just the bargain guru who will stop at nothing to get designer shoes for $25. Just kidding (but not kidding about the shoes).

Here’s the thing.

It’s a process, so take friends (or your momma) along for the ride.

 

My 3 tips for finding stellar steals:

  1. Play supersleuth. Figure out which stores near you – even if they seem pretty obscure – are known for either having unusually low prices most of the time, or have great discounts or sales. Figure out when those sales are. Back in the day, my mom and I figured out that Claire’s Boutique (back before it was Icing) had a 10 for $5 accessories sale right around every holiday – even St. Patrick’s day. Figure out the secrets ala Nancy Drew, and you’re one step closer to saving bank.
  1. If you really want good deals, shop off-price retail. And if name brands are a big concern for you, just don’t tell anyone who you’re wearing! But, that being said, some off-pricers carry known names now. You’ll find Michael Kors in Marshall’s, Jessica Simpson in Ross, Kenneth Cole in Burlington, and a ton of hot names in TJ’s.
  1. Be willing to hunt for style. Especially in the off-price retail world (Ross, Marshall’s, Burlington, TJMaxx), racks might feel a little cluttered or disorganized. I’ve learned in time, though, that you just gotta push through and persevere to get to the goods. Momma and I will spend ~2 hours together in Ross. It takes us around 5 trips to the dressing room, because our cart becomes a fountain of clothes and shoes. If you’re like us, you’ll be the most obnoxious ones in the store, and the dressing room attendants will either find your wild antics amusing or annoying (if they’re any fun, they’ll be entertained). Make it a fun adventure with your favorite shopping buddy, and you’ll end up surprised (and elated) when  you find some key pieces for less!

 

Now, since I said I would…

I must be really good at "Chubby Bunny." Someone hand me a marshmallow. Or 20.

I must be really good at “Chubby Bunny.” Someone hand me a marshmallow or 20.

"Look off into the distance, coyly..." Did I do it right???

“Look off into the distance, coyly…”
Did I do it right???

If my face freezes like this, can I call Geico?

If my face freezes like this, can I call Geico?

Toldja it was windy.

Toldja it was windy.

Am I upset? Am I smug? Am I constipated? Yeah, I have no idea either.

Am I upset? Am I smug? Am I constipated? Yeah, I have no idea either.

You do you, Er. You do you.

You do you, Er. You do you.

 

Aaaaaaaand, didja notice my watch? Since I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked at college where my watch is from, I’ll let you in on a secret: That was a bargain, too! If you fancy it just as much as I do, buy it here:

Geneva Womens Designer Inspired Chronograph Style Rhinestone Bezel Two Tone Watch in Silver and Gold Tone

Geneva's take on a two-tone boyfriend watch. I'm in love. Click the affiliate link above to get yours!

Geneva’s take on a two-tone boyfriend watch. I’m in love. Click the affiliate link above to get yours!

What are your favorite places to find deals? What’s the best bargain piece you’ve scored? If you’re an off-price girl, which one’s your fave?

SO MANY QUESTIONS FOR YOU. Just comment with whatever your heart desires. Embarrassing photos are an added bonus.
 
lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

 

Why we Cheat: Why happily married people have affairs. [My Rebuttal]

I wish this all was one big April Fool’s joke. Last week, I read a less-than-lovely article by author Hanna Rosin entitled “Why we Cheat.” The subtitle read, “Spouses in happy marriages have affairs. What are we all looking for?”

This was gonna be a doozy.

She met with “the nation’s sexual healer,” Esther Perel and chatted about people who are “happily married” but choosing to sleep with people who are not their spouse. (Yup, a doozy.)

It’s a long one, but well worth it (I promise!).

why we cheat

In the interview, marriage is called “at best an imperfect arrangement.”

Perel says…

 “If I needed to marry you to have sex for the first time and I knew that is it for the rest of my life, then infidelity becomes one of the ways to deal with those limited choices.”

–          You don’t NEED to marry anyone, ever. Marriage is a choice, and in marrying someone, you are choosing to be with one person for, hypothetically, the rest of your life. If you want to choose different people to date regularly, you’re not ready to be married yet.

“We don’t want divorce – or have affairs – because we are unhappy but because we could be happier. And all that is part of the feminist deliberation. I deserve this, I am entitled to this, I can have this! It allows people to finally pursue a desire to feel alive.”

–          If you want to feel alive, ride a roller coaster. Go for a long run. Climb to the top of a mountain and bask in the glory of the sun. Breathe in the salty seaside air, play with a baby, or bungee jump. Marriage is like riding a roller coaster, but you need all of the parts (the highs and the lows) of a roller coaster for it to be any ride at all, let alone a fun one.

“What’s changed is, monogamy used to be one person for life.”

–          Nope, no one changed the dictionary – monogamy still means one person.

“It’s not about sex. It’s about desire, about attention, about reconnecting with parts of oneself you lost or you never knew existed. It’s about longing and loss. But the American discourse is framed entirely around betrayal and trauma.”

–          It IS about sex. Or, at least, an erotic physical connection that is supposedly lacking elsewhere. Desire, attention, and constantly reconnecting with oneself – these are all attainable (or should be attainable) in a marriage. Why marry someone who pays you no attention or doesn’t desire you? That’s not saying it’s easy or a given, though. To keep your marriage alive, you have to re-desire. Re-focus attention. Re-connect, not just with yourself, but with your partner. It’s work. But when you end up longing for your spouse while you’re on your lunch break, that’s special. The “American discourse” is right – cheating IS betrayal. And I’d venture to say 97% of the time, it’s fairly to severely traumatic for whoever has been cheated on – it’s not respectable, it’s not fair, and it’s not excusable.

“Marriages are so much more merged, and affairs become a venue for differentiation, a pathway to autonomy.”

–          The best relationships are not those where two halves become a whole. They’re those where two wholes become one even bigger whole – a partnership. Individuality should not be lost in a marriage – what fun would it be to co-exist with a carbon copy of yourself? Autonomy and sense of self are up to the individual to maintain.

“Women will often say: This is the one thing I know I am not doing for anyone else. I am not taking care of anyone, this is for me.”

–          Damn straight, honey. Not only are you not taking care of anyone, but you’re potentially hurting someone. Badly. You’re hurting two people, because your marriage is dishonored and disrespected by your escapade towards perceived self-fulfillment. Get a manicure, hit the gym regularly, take up a new hobby or some classes. Learn a new skill or language. Cross something off of your bucket list. That’s all for you, and it’s all self-oriented. Cheating isn’t self-oriented; it’s just selfish.

Here’s the gist of it:

Millennials fear “losing themselves” after working so hard to create a sense of identity. But, marriage isn’t about losing yourself. It’s about finding yourself again, with your best friend. It’s about finding a new version of yourself to complement the single self. A version that is willing to compromise. A version that is willing to evolve.

I see marriage as a total commitment, a promise, and a covenant. There aren’t a lot of other things in our lives that come with an idea (and hopefully a plan) for permanence.

Spouses, then, are the permanent fixes in your life. They’re not meant to be switched up like brands of cereal or toilet paper.

Society promotes this constant quest for immediate self-gratification. Once you accept the idea that other people can be intimately involved in a marriage, the bond between the couple has weakened. Something else has now entered the picture. If people accept this as an option, whether they want to admit it or not, just knowing they have options and alternatives lessens the incentive to enrich the marriage itself. If the couple wants novelty and adventure, as the interview suggests, and they recognize that is what they need, then get busy with each other and add novelty and adventure! If you can do it with other people, then you can certainly do it with your spouse. Marriages go through stages as we go through years together and all the changes that happen with careers, families, aging, etc – but that doesn’t mean that’s a bad thing. We can learn and grow as individuals and as a couple if both strive to do that, and recognize that the “work” of marriage is a good thing, not something that should be viewed negatively.

Marriage isn’t supposed to be about just being sexually satisfied and happy all the time. The whole thing with marriage is the fact that’ it’s supposed to be a lifelong commitment to one person. It’s not a “I’m committed to you until I’m not fully satisfied or things get rough and I need something new.”

Couples should always be working to mix things up and try new things and evolve together. Maybe people take marriage too lightly today. That’s why divorce is so common and unhappiness is quickly claimed. It’s not fully understood how much work goes into it, but also why putting so much work into something like marriage can be actually worth it. People fail to recognize the beauty and bond that comes from experiencing life and overcoming challenges together with one person.

If someone is happy in their marriage and still has an affair, that’s an excuse. It IS betrayal.

If we want to get better at something, whether it is a relationship, a sport, a hobby, whatever – we need to invest more time, energy, attention and practice in the thing we want to improve. If you want to improve your culinary skills, you can’t do that by playing tennis. With something like a relationship, why do people think you make it better by doing the exact opposite? Staying faithful and committed require self-control and discipline and people often assume those are bad things – its why people are so quick to believe the latest diet craze – people are afraid of hard work and investing themselves.

Many today are “searching” and “looking” for happiness and love, as if it’s gonna fall down from the sky and crack them over the head. We fail to sometimes realize how much it needs to be made.

Maybe instant gratification satisfies people momentarily, but that’s what causes this ongoing unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Marriage isn’t this test of the waters with someone. That’s what dating before marriage is for. Dating your spouse after marriage is a celebration of your decision to spend the rest of your life – yes, the rest of your life – with this one special person, accepting them for their goodnesses, quirks, and flaws, because we’re all human.

Society seems stuck on this notion that just because something can be done, than why not. I wonder if couples that are okay with open marriages were like that when they dated, too? Is that a pre-nuptial conversation they have, saying they are okay with cheating? Are some kind of cheating parameters arranged – one affair per year and it can’t last longer than 3 months?  What if one partner gets more into it than the other and then the spouse decides that maybe this ain’t such a good idea after all….now what – do they go back to monogamy or split? What happens if someone’s fling becomes a real relationship and they don’t want it to end? And what about STD’s…..is that part of the conversation? Hey honey, it’s our anniversary – why don’t we both go get tested to make sure we didn’t pick something up along the way while we were achieving our personal fulfillment. Romantic, huh?

I wonder if these possibilities, as outrageous as they may sound, are considered?  Because they certainly are possible. And that’s just it – especially today it seems people are so quick to jump into trends and don’t take time to really consider all the “what if’s” and long term consequences.

Perel’s best point: “Most people today…have two or three marriages in their adult life, and some of us do it with the same person. For me, this is my fourth marriage with my husband and we have completely reorganized the structure of the relationship, the flavor, the complementarity.”

Mix things up as much as you want, but do it with your spouse (and only your spouse).

What do you think about non-monogamous marriages? Is cheating acceptable once you’ve tied the knot – or at all? What does marriage even mean in today’s society?

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

March: Links I Love

March is wonderful, isn’t it? First day of spring, birds chirping and flowers blossoming, spring breaks…and it’s the birthday month for a whole lotta Aries.

I’m gonna cut right to the chase with this month’s links, because let me tell you – they’re AWESOME.

 

1. 20 things every twentysomething should know how to do. I’ve finally joined the club. (relevantmagazine.com)

Celebrating the #2-0 with some of the best friends I could ever be blessed with. Also, check out Taylor's blog (the blonde beaut!).

Celebrating the #2-0 with some of the best twentysomething friends ever. Also, check out Taylor’s blog (the blonde beaut!).

 

2. 47 seconds that prove exactly why following March Madness is worth it. (espn.go.com)

 

3. Cookie-shaped shot glasses (with milk). (buzzfeed.com)

Can we say perfection? Pass the cookies, please.

Can we say perfection? Pass the cookies, please. Courtesy of: buzzfeed.com

 

4. “10 Ways to Stay the Hell out of My Office”: Love advice from a divorce lawyer (it’s spot-on). (huffingtonpost.com)

I feel like I say this with every love-ly tidbit, but THIS is some of the best love advice ever. Seriously.

I feel like I say this with every love-ly tidbit, but THIS is some of the best love advice ever. Seriously. Courtesy of: huffingtonpost.com

 

5. “Let it Go” ala 21 Disney characters. (youtube.com)

 

 

6. This man gave a homeless guy the winning lotto ticket, and it’s the sweetest reaction ever. (thechive.com)

 

Who doesn't love random acts of kindness? Click the link above to watch the video!

Who doesn’t love random acts of kindness? Click the link above to watch the video!

 

7. Makeup artists’ best secrets. (refinery29.com)

 

Tip #5: How to save a shattered eye shadow palette.

Tip #5: How to save a shattered eye shadow palette. Courtesy of: refinery29.com

 

8. No place is the wrong place for a cat. (blazepress.com)

 

I died.  Courtesy of: blazepress.com

I died.
Courtesy of: blazepress.com

 

9. Which minion are you? (You’ve always wanted to know). (buzzfeed.com)

 

This quiz is GOLDEN. Courtesy of: buzzfeed.com

This quiz is GOLDEN.
Courtesy of: buzzfeed.com

Happy SPRING!

Email your favorite links of the month to erica.ligenza@gmail.com…or just email me to chat about life and love and fashion and beauty and food and whatever, really.

What are you most looking forward to this spring?

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

20 thoughts on turning 20.

20 for 20

Well, this is it. My last week as a teenager. My journey into the world of the “20-somethings,” where yoga, gourmet coffees, throw pillows, and philosophical musings reign supreme.

This post started with a title and no ideas to follow thereafter. Should it be 20 facts about me? No, that’s lame. 20 reasons why I have 82 bottles (yes, I counted) of nail polish? Nah, that’ll be a different post.

I don’t want to create a whimsical, far-reaching, or too-limited bucket list of sorts, and I’m not into providing a thousand and three facts about me (but if you’re interested in that, stay tuned for Liebster award goodies).

So instead, since I’ve always considered myself to be a bit indecisive with too many thoughts and not enough time, I’ve conjured up a list of feelings (ooooooh, feelings!) that I have towards the big 2-0.

1. I’m excited to…zipline somewhere tropical, marry the Love of my life, and buy my first car. And I’m excited to perform in the semi-finals of the ICCAs this Saturday. For any non-acapella junkies, it’s a collegiate competition with singing and “aca-bopping.” Re-watch Pitch Perfect.

My fabulous Counterparts after killin' it at the quarterfinals.

My fabulous Counterparts after killin’ it at the quarterfinals.

2. I can’t wait for…my summer internship to begin! And for my trip to Poland in a few summers.

3. I’m scared of…feeling inadequate.

4. I’m wearing…classics and neutrals, with pops of color and statement pieces of bling in between.

Starting my morning off with red velvet tea, courtesy of the one and only Taylor, and the coolest statement necklace ever, courtesy of the one and only Boyfriend.

Starting my morning off with red velvet tea, courtesy of the one and only Taylor, and the coolest statement necklace (ILY Couture), courtesy of the one and only Boyfriend.

5. Turning 20 represents…a decade of decisions, taking stands and thinking we’re a lot older than we actually are.

6. The best thing about being a teenager was…always coming home to meals made by my mom and then driving to musical rehearsal with David Guetta blasting.

7. I’m stoked to try…macarons in France and real Polish food, yanno, IN Poland. (Note: all food.)

8. I’m inspired by…the plaque in my room with my favorite Bible verse on it (Philippians 4:13).

This empowers me.

This empowers me.

9. I’m Pinteresting…so much. I guess it transitions to more “future-y” things now, like those aforementioned throw pillows and dream house interiors, right?

10. I’m worrying about…living up to my own standards, and landing a sweet gig after graduation. Which is a still good bit away. Cue my stressing about things that are years away. Sheesh, worrying is exhausting. Time to finally follow my own advice…

11. I’m thankful for…my life. Everything in it. Especially oatmeal cream pies. (Kidding…but also not kidding…).

12. I’m loving…my Consumer Behavior class and my new ‘do (shorter, redder, the works!).

13. I’m listening to…Kodaline, Bastille, Magic Man, Olly Murs, and Band of Horses.

14. I’m hoping…to be a fantastic RA for my freshmen residents next year.

15. I’m surprised about…taking this birthday so seriously. I’m not usually one to do that. This time, I’m embracing the terrible two’s (haha, kidding again!) with earnest anticipation and acknowledgement of this new decade’s relevance in my young life.

16. I’m proud of…getting closer and closer to overcoming my anxiety. And I’m proud of my mom for persevering through her years of school, and my brother for wanting to become an electromechanical engineer, and my dad for just being wonderful, and Boyfriend for being a complete rock star at work and in life.

17. I’m thinking about…how many new adventures this decade will bring. Wow. Seriously.

18. I want to learn…how to speak Polish, how to do a forearm stand, how to successfully play the stock market, and how to make French macarons (the colorful kind).

19. I’m going to study…anything but calculus. Specifically, brands, the consumer psyche, and what drives our decisions as consumers. Robert Cialdini’s “Influence” was a wonderful read, as was Jonah Berger’s “Contagious,” so now I’m finally on to Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” and “Outliers.”

Out comes my nerd.

Out comes my nerd.

20. I’m going to live my 20’s…day by day. Living in the moments and cherishing them – each and every one.

Another list made, another birthday to celebrate. Luckily, I have a whole decade to fill with more addendums and feelings and thoughts. Remind me to report back when I’m “dirty thirty” with how much my list has inevitably evolved.

For everyone already in the “20-something” category, what does it mean to you?

Now accepting all words of wisdom and tidbits of advice on being a rockstar 20-year-old.

20cake

Cheers to that.

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

10 Things I’d Tell Teenage Girls {Pt. 2}

Happy…Thursday? Hope you’re enjoying this non-Hump-Day mix-up on Coming Up Roses – I’m finding this beyond fun. The countdown to 2-0 is set, but I know why you’re here. You’ve seen 10 Things I’d Tell Teenage Girls {Pt. 1}, and ‘Part 1’ means there’s a ‘Part 2’. Without further adieu, 10 Things I’d Tell Teenage Girls…Part 2.

10 things I'd tell

6. Stop saying how much you “hate drama.” The amount of times you post passive aggressive, “nameless” updates on 12 platforms of social media sums up how much you secretly-but-not-so-secretly love drama. Fix any issues with people face-to-face – it’ll make for a more rewarding friendship/relationship/etc. down the road (and less of a chance to be blocked from people’s newsfeeds). Promise.

7. Don’t let social media dictate the quality of your life. No matter your followers, friends, or “likes,” social media hype doesn’t equate with popularity. Internet popularity does not always indicate real-world popularity. We all feel twinges of happiness when we log on to 15 notifications, but the happiness is fleeting. We don’t usually walk around for the rest of the day boasting our new acquisition, like “Oh my gawdddd I got 10 new followers today MY LIFE IS AWESOME YAY MEEEE!!!!!” Why not focus on making new friendships in real life? Those happy moments aren’t fleeting – they’re concrete and are ready to be experienced time and time again.

8. Going back to guys. You are not allowed to express your desperation to attain a romantic male companion in the same week as expressing your strong sense of self and ability to be single. Being single isn’t actually a terrible thing. I mean, if anything, you can kiss whoever you want whenever you want. But seriously, you get totally vital “me” time to max out with ambitions towards your career, hobbies, and personal growth. If you feel like you need a guy to “complete” you, you’re not ready for a guy. Because you need to feel complete on your own. Guys are there to complement (and compliment!) you, not fill in holes (pun intended).

9. It’s really, really awesome to have a shoulder to lean on when you need a good cry, a good piece of advice, or a good laugh. Even better? When that shoulder is older and wiser. Adopt a trusted, older female to be your confidant and a partner in crime. We all feel pangs of pride and think we can handle the world without advice from those who have “been there, done that.” After all, every generation older than us is practically cavepeople, and they just totally don’t get what it’s like living now, right? Um, no. Take down the pride and be willing to learn from those who’ve been there, done that. It doesn’t degrade you as a person. It makes you stronger, sooner.

10. We all want to be “cool.” It’s like the main stigma of growing up – being “cool” and “fitting in” with the crowd. How ironic, since we inevitably grow up wanting anything but normality. Screw normality. We all know the saying, “Normal is just a setting on a washing machine.” Forget the norm. If everyone wears sweatpants to class but you want to wear heels, just do it. No apologies. No expectations. Just do you.

THAT’S IT, FOLKS. All 10 things. Guess it’s time for more awkward pics?

Dayyyyyum. That musta been a pretty sour candy.

Dayyyyyum. That musta been a pretty sour candy.

Dancing in my own little world, barefoot, with some weird arm movement. Either it's the percolator or I'm just awk.

Is it the salsa? It is a jig? Is it the percolator? At least I had a runner’s tan.

Wheeere's Johnny?

Wheeere’s Johnny?

Someone tell my face to stop going like this, please.

Someone tell my face to stop going like this, please.

It was cake frosting, I swear.

It was cake frosting, I swear.

QUICK, if you had five days left to live and a teenage girl sitting next to you on the train wanted some advice, what would it be????

(Have you ‘liked’ Coming Up Roses on Facebook, yet? Have you shared it with friends? PLEASE DO THAT AND I’LL LOVE YA 4EVA.)

Happy THURSDAY! Now go eat some waffles with jam, sip a cup o’ joe and have a beautiful day.

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real

 

10 Things I’d Tell Teenage Girls {Pt. 1}

For a few more days, I’m 19. So by no means am I an expert on teenage-hood or anything that comes with it (besides eating ice cream, because I’ve definitely mastered that). Most days I feel like I’ve blindly stumbled through it all (hitting walls – literally, because I always end up walking into walls – along the way). But in the calms between the storms, I could reflect on what I would want my own hypothetical teenage daughter to know someday, before she had to learn it the hard way.

So with that…

10 things I'd tell
1. You do not (read: DO NOT) need to dress less to impress. Meaning, skip the scantily clad – the one you’re trying to attract should love you not just for what’s under your clothes, but for what’s under your skin and inside your heart and soul and mind.

2. Guys are a different species. They mature at a slower rate than females (it’s scientifically proven), so stop stressing about being *insert tween – teen year here* and not having found your Prince Charming. I have been and forever will be a solid believer in the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” As a girl who’s had her time playing the dating game (and quite a few kiss-and-disses), and who’s now in a happy&healthy long-term relationship, IT WILL HAPPEN FOR YOU. And if by some bad chance you end up not finding a marriage-material beau by age 25, it is not the end of the world. You have not made a fatal error, and you can (and will) still be happy and successful.

3. As an immediate successor to #2, don’t tie your happiness solely to a man. You must be completely confident in yourself and what you have to offer before trying to make something work with someone else in the picture, too. Focus on you, and the rest will fall into place. The passers-by are meant to teach you the “wants,” “needs,” and “no thanks” categories for your imaginary (or not so imaginary) dating checklist.

4. There IS such a thing as “too much information.” We all seem to bond by sharing our grossest moments nowadays, but the saying “there’s a time and a place for everything” still exists.

5. Your self-esteem (and self-confidence, self-happiness, self-pride, the works) can come from only one person – yourself. Stop waiting for the world to tell you that you’re beautiful, smart, or talented. You were blessed with a heart, soul, and mind 100% unique to you – why are you willing to lessen your uniqueness to blend with the rest? Start raising yourself up instead of looking for that constant self put-down. Focus on your fave outer features and your fabulous inner radiance. Your confidence shines brighter than any teeth whitener, luminous powder, or eye shimmer.

Now please enjoy some awkward pictures of me from teenagedom.

Yes, we did think posing with a ketchup-covered eating utensil at Applebee's was the cool thing to do.

Yes, we did think posing with a ketchup-covered eating utensil at Applebee’s was the cool thing to do.

Is this a duck face?

I’m duck facing, right?

The objective is to put as much grease-y burger in your mouth as humanly possible. Wash it down with fries.

The objective is to put as much burger in your mouth as  possible and wash it down with fries.

Let's just eat the train ticket, shall we?

Let’s just eat the train ticket, shall we?

Ooh lolli-lolli-lolli-lollipop.

Ooh lolli-lolli-lolli-lollipop.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “But wait, that was only 5 things to tell teenage girls? Where’s the other 5????”

Presenting Part 2…10 Things I’d Tell Teenage Girls {Pt. 2}.

Meanwhile, be sure share with any sub-20’s in your life if you agree, and check out this awesome post by mommy-blogger Kate Conner on the same topic.

What have you learned from your teenage years? What would you tell teenage you if you were to go back and do it all over again (*shivers*)?

lovelovelove,

E

blog star real