Monday, April 30, 2012

{about} life + work

Of course, a quote from my late boss would comfort me as I'm feeling a void at the job I have now. Because of COURSE it would. But, it's so true! I love the company I work for, but I don't love what I do. If I could find a position doing visual merchandising and nothing else that would make me so happy, but for now I am where I am and I won't complain... but I won't stop looking and I will NOT settle for anything less but my dreams. 

friends + food

I got the unique chance to hang out with not one, not two, but 10 of my closest friends all in one weekend.

Saturday, worlds collided with Kate and Katherine for a Ladies Lunch blogger style. Sunday it was an all out reunion with Casey, Sarah, Annie, Zack, Charlie and Courtney. There was an underlying theme through this whole weekend, though.

1. We like to laugh. No joke if we're not laughing... it's because something grave just happened like all the puppies died.

2. We REALLY like food - Saturday I ate all day starting with m. henry and it ended with Argo Tea with some Trader Joe's in the middle. Sunday we ate non-stop... El Campesino, Starbucks, Cracker Barrel and there was a serious vying for Jaenicke's but it lost out to rain. I was full from the time I got there to the time I left. Honestly, I feel like I can bare my soul easier when it's over a giant bowl of coffee. Bonds are formed as you pass the chips and salsa. And I should have brought some Pepto.

Also that little baby up there? made my life. Next time I'm requesting a hangout with JUST Sofia De la Rosa, please. We'll just sing all day and clap, point and babble and I'll be really happy about it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SLW Guest Post: What I Miss About Being Single

If you'd like to just completely disregard my previous SLW post you go ahead and do it because my good friend, Katherine of Gathered Heart is honoring us with a guest post today! I'm not gonna lie... I'm SO EXCITED. I met Katherine at Olivet and immediately told her she looked like Mandy Moore. Real life, guys. We bonded over a love of typography, cardigans and Starbucks. She's a true friend, that one.

You will LOVE her. Did I already tell you to read her blog? Cuz yeah do that now.

Why hello there single ladies and fellow SLW readers!
I am no longer a single lady myself, but I’m so excited to be writing a guest post for Abby today. I’m happily married to a total stud and my best friend, but there are definitely some things I miss about being single. And because I also love things in list form, I thought I’d share with you a list of the single lady things I miss most:

As a single woman, the dinner options are endless. Linguini noodles with garlic, salt and butter? Oh yeah. A bowl of ice cream? Totally dinner (as long as you throw in a chopped banana for good measure, of course.) An entire asiago cheese focaccia loaf from Panera? Do it, love it. These meals are definitely not suitable for husbands, especially since they don’t contain meat and are about 80% carbohydrates. Enjoy them while you can.
Speaking of Panera, no way you’ll be eating there again once you’re married. Most husbands hate that place. And if you happen to treat yourself there on your lunch break, you’ll never hear the end of it. Why would you want to pay $10 for a tiny salad and half a sandwich? Who cares if it has feta cheese and artichoke hearts? It’s not even that good! Oh man. What I wouldn’t give for an orange cream scone right now…  
Skin Care
My single lady nightly routine was intense… I would probably spend a good 20 minutes in the bathroom before bed: exfoliating and moisturizing my face, inspecting pores, plucking at my unruly eyebrows, etc. Is that excessive? Sure. But it was oddly relaxing. Now that I’m married, Christopher complains (like any other man) if I spend too much time in the bathroom. My routine has simplified to an all-in-one Burt’s Bees towelette. It gets the job done, but it’s just not the same. 
Being Pants-less
Like Abby (and many of you ladies, I’m sure), I hate wearing pants. But when you’re married, you can’t just walk around your house without pants. I mean, of course you can, but it’s basically an unspoken invitation for sex. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting it on… but sometimes, when I take off my pants, it simply means I don’t want to wear them. I’ve had a long day and just want my legs to be free! The same idea applies to going braless.
Alone Time Habits
I think it’s pretty well-known that people do embarrassing things when they’re alone. I tend to sing and dance a lot. The thing about marriage is… you’re never really “alone.” A few months ago, I was home alone washing the dishes and singing along to “I’m A Lady” by Santogold. As the chorus broke out, I pointed to my face with my index finger, bobbed my head and wailed “I’m a laaaaaaaadieeeeeee” while attempting to moonwalk along the kitchen floor. Are you picturing this in your head? I looked so stupid. It was at this exact moment in time that Chris came home and walked into the kitchen. I have no reason to be embarrassed in front of my husband because he knows me completely and loves me in spite of my flaws… but I was. Sooo embarrassed. And he still teases me about it.
When you’re single, your money is your money and you can spend it however you please. Many of my single lady paychecks were spent entirely at Target. Now a’days, I have to limit my weekly Starbucks intake and avoid the sales section at Old Navy. Sure, it’s responsible and sensible, but it’s also sad because I love me some retail therapy. Single ladies, do this for me: go and buy that cute sweater/pair of shoes/necklace that you’ve been eyeing. Do it and don’t think twice about it. 

So, my dear single ladies, please… enjoy these things while you can. Live up your single-dom as much as possible. Trust me, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.  I love my husband dearly and wouldn’t change my life for a thing, but sometimes… I just want to eat Panera without being questioned. I want to spend $50 at Target and buy a venti caramel macchiato while I’m there.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my post for the day – now go out and enjoy the freedom known as singleness!

Don't lie about laughing aloud multiple times... I know you did! Thank you, Katherine for sharing your amazing thoughts with us! 

The funny this is I just did all of this TODAY. Sang like an idiot in my kitchen while making a lunch of Trader Joe's french fries ONLY. I just saw a swing pea coat at Gap annnd bought it, and my mom wants to go to Panera for dinner. I mean you really don't know how good you have it til someone writes it DOWN. 

*read more Single Lady Wednesday Posts here.

**if you like to be featured on a SLW guest post feel free to email singleladyblujay{at} with submissions!

SLW: on looking cute

Today is a dreary, semi-cloudy day and I am behind on life. I need to finish some designs and get a hand-pump for my bike's tires that I just realized are flat as heck. I also need to put away a weeks worth of clothing that is growing on my bedroom floor. So today's SLW will be short and sweet.

My mother always told me to look cute wherever I go because I never know where I'm going to meet my husband. As a teen this made me MAJORLY eye roll because of course that's the dumbest thing I had ever heard. She was right of course. She's really never wrong, my mother.

As far as style goes I didn't really develop it until about... 23. I shopped at all the places my mom shopped cuz honestly I didn't care. I had an opinion of what I wanted to wear? But I couldn't care LESS where I shopped. Fashion Bug *shudders*, Lane Bryant (where big girls go to die... and get good bras), and Marshalls were my staples. I had a lot of those graphic tees with the pleats in them? Like the noticeable pleats on top of a graphic print? Remember those? I also had a lot of tapered jeans, which I didn't realize were SOOO much different than skinny jeans until recently. I had a rather impressive collection of track jackets and zip hoodies that I lived in. Literally one of my favorite blue zip hoodies FELL APART. Just like *POOF* disintegrated.

I finally woke up and realized a) what I liked to wear and b) what looked good and fit my body and it's been a breeze ever since. Throw on a t-shirt and good jeans and maybe some jeweled flats from Gap and you're GOLDEN. I have a LITERAL bouquet of hair flowers to choose from and I'm out the door.

I might have a slight obsession with hair flowers...

The mentality of looking cute everywhere doesn't have to do with meeting a man. You OOZE confidence when you feel good and EVERYONE notices. I'm about to go to the post office, approximately 20 feet away, in an amazing push-up bra and skinny jeans. Then I'll turn around, come back home and start doing chores for today.

That moment of feeling like "yeah girl... you look hot." can take you through your whole day feeling good.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

single lady secrets

*sigh* as a single lady... sometimes...

Sometimes you get a little lazy... you stay in the shower for 40 minutes at night because no one else is there and you like how steamy the shower gets. Sometimes you don't shave for over a year because who is going to see these legs? Please... tell me who.

Sometimes you feel a little fancy and buy new jeans aptly named "Boyfriend" jeans - 30% cuz they look good on you, 70% because of the name of the jean. Those jeans have distressed holes in them that make them pretty cool and hipster-like but one of the distressed holes became a real jean hole and... remember those unshaven legs? They have long, long hair. Hair that isn't blonde. Black hair. Peekin' through that hole all rebellious like.

Mind you I've been wearing these jeans for about 2 months now. Someone could have told me! No one told me...

So I did what any single lady would do... I shaved the hole of leg hair that peeks through. and no where else.


Real talk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SLW: tacking the bike horse

I'm slowing down this Wednesday just to say hi (hi!) and catch up on a few things. First things first, Single Lady Wednesday itself has become a THING. And that excites me! In reality SLW is my day off and sometimes I have adventures and sometimes I'm sitting in a do-rag, a stained Apple Field Trip t-shirt and holey plaid pajama pants writing this post.

Real talk from a real lady here.

Today I want to talk about when adventures don't go so well. Actually, lately I've been having great ones. I baked with a girl from church last week, I actually VISITED a new church a few weeks ago and really like it, I've had dinner at one restaurant and dessert at another - and that's real life! But one mishap keeps staring me in the face daily.

My bike.

I think I briefly told about how I ate it on my bike last year in July. Yeah you read that right. Last year. JULY. I took my bike out for it's inaugural ride and fell off. When I say fell I really don't mean "tipped over and scraped my knee" I mean FLEW off, scraped my nose, scraped my lip, my glasses came off and... *cringes* MY PANTS CAME DOWN.

Let's... think about this for a moment. An adult woman. With a mint and brown bike now upside down on the street. Me. SPRAWLED out in front of a CHURCH where that curb was. Glasses off. Face in asphalt. Pants at half mast. HALF. MAST.

Then come along my guardian angels. Two women (safely) walking their dog (safely) down the street (safely). They walked me home. I didn't want to be walked home as an adult woman! but as an adult woman who fell off her bike and whose pants came down? I think I HAD to be walked home. *hangs head in shame*

That bike has been a phobia ever since. It's a source of extreme embarrassment and horror at the fact that I am a woman without balance and grace. It's possible I've asked Joy the Baker and Tracy Shutterbean what to do... Joy said sell it - bike ridin' wasn't for me. Tracy said tackle the horse... er bike and conquer my fear. It's also possible I was upset at Joy the Baker for a little while after that... but she gave me real advice! I was just mad cuz she was right haha

Well I'm not gonna sell it. By God it'll be a family heirloom even if I never ride it. But I want to! I feel like single ladies almost have a DUTY to be wielders of cycling vehicles. I'm not saying I'll ever go to Whole Foods on that bike and pick up some sunflowers to take back to my apartment but I want to be able to ride confidently. And confidence has always been my issue...

So I'm signing up for Bike the Drive in May.

You ride 30 miles! I can't even ride TWO right now but it'll give me a goal and if I make it two miles or the whole 30 I'll be better for the experience, right? guh... life.

Hopefully this can be an encouragement to (literally) get back on the horse... er bike and face your fear head on - single or not. Here... I'll even confess another fear to you now. I'm afraid of losing weight. Yeah! I said it! I'm afraid I can't do it... I'm afraid I'll never reach my goal and that I'll die unhappy, but that doesn't mean I just give up right? It's a DAILY battle, I have to talk to myself almost every minute of every day, but I can't give up just because of that fear.

Face your fears. Tackle that bike horse. Conquer life.

*if you're a single lady - or a married one - and want to write a guest post with your thoughts on being single feel free to email me with submissions!*

Monday, April 16, 2012

{about} doing something new

How do you think Noah built the ark? How annoyed were people at him talking about how a FLOOD was gonna destroy the WORLD and he was gonna build a BOAT to save it. (sidenote: Noah is the original author of "I'm On a Boat") 

So that business you want to start? DO IT! That BIKE that stares at you from across the room begging you to ride it? Take that bike out and just RIDE it and maybe you'll fall again! Maybe you won't but damn it you will die trying. 

*sigh* I really need to tell you the story of when I fell off my bike sometime...

swiss-miss STRIKES again!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SLW Guest Post: on being a satisfied single

Do I have a TREAT for you guys this Single Lady Wednesday. My good friend, Keila Harris, is talking about how to live a fulfilling life as a single woman. I met Keila through Apple and it takes almost no time to realize how much wisdom she has at a young age - I've learned so much from her already. Her love for God is so apparent and the girl has a DEFINITE style for living life well. Watch out now... she's about to drop some KNOWLEDGE.

Enjoy her words today! (I apologize for the weird formatting of her post... Blogger is NOT co-operating today)

I am off to bake with a new friend, but more on that later - happy Wednesday!

What makes a person want to be in a relationship? Or more specifically I wonder: what is the motivation behind giving up the freedom of independence for a collaborative co-existence with someone that may or may not potentially waste your emotional energy? I have personal goals. I have dreams. And as I am, I have the power to pursue these things without distraction! Not to mention I have some amazing friends that are being somewhat neglected because of my extremely busy grad school and work schedule.
Even still, with all those things active in my head, on lonely days, thoughts cross my mind saying, “I need someone to be here for me, to keep me company, and make me feel really special when I don’t have time to pamper myself!”
Ok… let’s be honest… how in the world can I enrich someone else’s life effectively while I can barely keep up with my own? This self-focused perspective train of thought is a relationship leech that sucks all the therapeutic aspects of companionship away and adds all types of stress and unnecessary drama. Lord knows I am in no place to serve and care for someone else in a way I want to be served and cared for right now. Therefore, it makes no sense to whine and pine about being single right now! (Not to mention, as women, we patiently wait for the chosen one to come to us. Meaning--there should be no prowl, mind games, or “reeling” the man in anyway...) But I digress…
Life is a gift and it should be lived to the fullest. As a single woman, I embrace every moment of my singleness and independence while I have it. This is ample time to pour into all my amazing friends that I unintentionally neglect. This is the time to pour into a more intimate relationship with Christ—the cornerstone of my confidence and emotional fulfillment. The natural fulfillment we all need that many seek to fill with relationships can only be found in Jesus to begin with. I’d rather find that place of peace, confidence, and comfort in Him before meeting “the one,” so I don’t have to backtrack due to unrealistic expectations in the man who does come along for me. I’m determined to embrace contentment and complete satisfaction in Jesus alone; He is more than enough for me. Anything else is an additional blessing!
Plus! These are the days, months, and years of complete spontaneous freedom! Take off to New York, California, Montana, wherever! Fly to Asia or Africa! I mean… I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise! This is the time to just.... live. These things excite me, but whatever it is you do... do you! Remember, you cannot know the absolute bliss of companionship until you know the joys of being alone!

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Phil 4:11 KJV


I love this girl in a pretty real way... : ) You can follow Keila on twitter @keithoughts - the girl needs to write a book for real. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Style

Easter in my world was always the biggest ordeal. It's like Thanksgiving 2.0. At church I always end up working with the babies on Easter and that is the day I see more babies come through in the most uncomfortable dresses, suits, ties, hats, bows and tiny baby heels I've ever seen. The babies (and myself) are miserable. Who can blame them! All dressed up and they can't even eat a Cheerio without getting reprimanded for getting their dress dirty! The humanity!

Now... I go to a pretty diverse church but I'm gonna let you in on a piece of my world.

African-American Easter Sunday fashion

If you're interesting in seeing the latest fashion in headwear and every color of pastel that God has made? I dare you to go to a Pentecostal or Baptist church on Easter Sunday. In a word? It's AMAZING. You never knew there were so many shades of white, so many skirt suits, SO many matching clutch purses and gloves than on Easter. I would go to church with my cousin when I was little and was always fascinated at what people wore on Sundays.

Now I only have a partial view because I wasn't raised Baptist so for the people that are? Man, I envy you. I'm for real! Church women know how to DRESS. And somehow can find a purse that matches the EXACT shade of iridescent eggshell pink in their shoes.

I go to a church where jeans are acceptable, flip flops are too and we don't judge. You just wear what you feel most comfortable in, but I think there is something to be said about "Sunday best." Getting gussied up to go see God. For who else but the one who made you should you really get dressed up? I stopped buying Easter dresses years ago when I realized one of these years I was GOING to break my ankle from trying to walk in heels. It was just going to happen.

The wonderful thing is... God always thinks you look your best. With or without heels. I am very liberated by that realization : )

Happy Resurrection Day!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

{about} working separate vs. collaborating

I feel like I get ALL of my {about} quotes from swiss-miss but somehow she always has a quote that pertains to my life RIGHT NOW - the woman gets me... from all the way in Brooklyn, NY

This quote can pertain to marriage, to creating art, to work... 

I hope to always collaborate with other crafty dreamers like myself
via swiss-miss

Thursday, April 5, 2012

this day was brought to you by...

This day was brought to you by:
1. my Gap + Threadless tote bag that I immediately had to buy upon seeing it. Dang you Gap for being so stylish and 5 stores down from Apple in the mall! I have to walk by it to get out... there's an H&M across from it. You're seeing my problem right? It's real.

2. FREE Redbox DVD - I got HUGO which awakened the dreamer in me. It's such a great movie.

3. My perfect lunch at Panera ended with my favorite... their orange scone. I would have never known about it if Katherine hadn't introduced me to them on a road trip. Also their iced green tea's are the BEST.

Also brought to you by...
the letter G! for GOOD-LOOKIN! which is what I am today haha... and the number 11! because that's what time I got up this morning. and the color... YELLOW! because it was wonderfully sunny today even though it's KIND of freezing out. slightly.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SLW Guest Post: the truth about internet dating

This single lady Wednesday I was supposed to be in Minnesota seeing Kimbra and my friend Dyani, but plans didn't pan out... I'm taking a hiatus from the blog today to bring my FIRST guest post from my amazing friend, Sarah. I came to her because she knows the scoop on internet dating (while I have ZERO experience). Most people don't really understand how internet dating really works. You see the commercials *find God's match for YOU!* and you hear horrific stories but how is it REALLY? Sarah is here to tell you the truth. Get ready... it's a good one : )

I must admit when Abby first asked me to guest spot on her blog I was beyond thrilled and honored, and then the panic set in. Her request was for me to share my single lady insight on dating, specifically my experiences with online dating. So, here goes...

I recently found myself single after 3 years of being in a serious relationship/engagement/short lived marriage, but that's another story for another day. I knew I wanted to get back into the dating scene and relive my lost early 20s but had no idea where to even begin. I don't exactly live in a thriving metropolis with a booming night scene, I instead live in a farmhouse 20 miles from the nearest city and I would hardly call Kankakee the kind of city I'm looking to find a man in. I work 40 hours a week on top of finishing my Master's so free time and socialization aren't exactly a daily occurrence. A good friend suggested online dating to me and my gut reaction was disgust and sarcasm (let this be a sign to all of you, never ignore your gut). The site she suggested was OkCupid, it was easy and it was free, two major selling points.

The online dating world is essentially a crash course in marketing. You have to reduce yourself to a one page profile and hope the words you put on it are enticing enough to hook you the man you're looking for. OkCupid asks you to answer a minimum of 100 questions, "to up your matching accuracy", and these questions are everything from the type of food you eat to what date you expect sex on to how serious you take astrological signs. Apparently, OkCupid thinks these are things that make relationship magic.

OkCupid has these amazing search parameters that allow you to specifically search "matches" by everything from ethnicity to height to religion to location and more. In theory, you could plug in your perfect man to the search parameter, hit search and Voila! you may find him and if you're lucky, you'll have above an 80% match. My first brush with OkCupid love matching "should" have been amazing, he was an 80% match to me and seemed to be amazing. His favorite movie was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, he was a black hipster with a good job, we had the same music tastes, everything was going great until I figured out HE WAS CRAZY. After 3 weeks of "talking", he started to hint at being in love with me (red flags everywhere) and I started to hint at how freaked the hell out I was. As funny as it all is now, it's actually quite scary IRL. It all came to a culmination on Super Bowl Sunday, I was hanging with Abby, and cray cray boy was trying to convince me to hang with him. When I said no, he turned into a begging/pleading stage 5 clinger. The next day when I told him how annoyed by this I was he turned into an angry, accusing stage 5 douchebag. I have a strict no douchebag policy, so I bid him adieu. He was my first OkCupid experience and I had a few more after that. There was the south side Chicagoan who tried to entice me into a sexual relationship (no thanks, I'm good). There was the guy looking for a casual dating relationship, as he needed support because he had a baby on the way (um, really?) and there was the skinny, white farm boy who played accordion and worked on all organic cattle farm. Disclaimer: most of these people I did not meet in real life, I just exchanged messages with.

After 3 months of online dating and venting about my fallouts to Abby, we have coined the term OkCrazies and we affectionately refer to everyone on that site by that name. In theory it may be a great way to meet people, however, I've only encountered two versions of OkCupid matches: those who wish to marry you and those who wish to bone you. I fall into the 1% of people who is not outright looking for either of those options so I'm going to have to say that online dating...maybe not so hot.

In all honesty there appear to be some really cool people on OkCupid, these people are not located within 100 miles of me, they live in places where there are more coffeehouses than grain elevators and more Costco's than Casey's gas stations. The thing I have definitely noticed is that I have not really encountered the online dating situations that everyone fears. I've met three people in real life after meeting them online and they all were exactly as advertised. They weren't secretly balding or six inches shorter than they said, they were what they portrayed themselves to be. As far as single lady dating goes, I'm just going to have to say no to online dating. It's original appeal really came to me because I'm a closet introvert. The idea of being able to sit in my house and "date" by never actually encountering social situations was really appealing, but there is something to be said for a concept being too good to be true. Online dating is sketchy, super sketchy, and I don't recommend it. However, if you're like me and you just have to try everything once then at least be safe about it. I had all of my first dates in very public places and I never let anyone know a lot of info about me, I also never added them on Facebook/twitter.

Abby and I have had many a discussion on dating and I must say, I think she lived vicariously through my ridiculous online dating adventures. I'm so glad she did though because then I had to put up with all the ridiculousness and she just got to learn the lessons through me. I bet she didn't expect me to learn one from her though! I have learned that online dating is too much effort. You're putting yourself out there and you're not going to get what you want, no matter how hard you try. What a person sees about you based on a one page profile is not even a tiny speck of what you are in real life. I'm pretty, I have interesting interests, I have witty remarks and on paper I'm probably somewhat appealing, however, in real life...I'm amazing. I have a crazy laugh. I smell good. I have silly facial expressions and witty one liners. I absolutely love people and I listen with my whole being when I'm around them. Those aspects of my personality will never be accurately portrayed on a dating profile. Those aspects of my personality are the ones I want someone to fall in love with me for so it's ridiculous to try to do that online. I realize now that I just have to live my life and do what I'm doing and not expect anything from my love life. Abby says she can't wait until I meet the man that completely knocks me off my rocker and takes all the control from me in a good way. I'm taking Abby's mom's advice to look cute everywhere I go so I can have a "meet-cute" at the gas station or coffee shop or who knows where, but it won't be online. That's for dang sure!

Can you see why I love this girl? (she legitimately does smell good ALL THE TIME). This post was awesome! I hope I can have more guest posts from single lady's out there, I've already got a few in mind! 

Happy SLW! 


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