Summer 2017

How to Make Your Summer Better (Even if You Hate Summer)

Make Your Summer Better

I know, I know. Everyone is supposed to love summer. It's sunny! It's warm! There are barbecues and pool parties and everything! Sorry, I'm not buying it. When was the last time I was invited to a pool party? That's right--never, because I don't live in an area where in-ground pools are common.

Summer is classified as "fine" in my book. I don't like it, but I don't really hate it. It's nice that my husband gets the summer off; it's nice that the weather is nicer and we can go outside (minus the horde of horrible bugs that plagues us). Those things are nice. 

That being said, summer can be better. I recently posted a thread of ways to make your summer better, right now. This thread was for if you have anxiety, if you feel bored, if you feel like you just aren't doing the right "summer things." 

When I was younger, I definitely always felt like I was "wasting" my summers. (Looking back, I was. So many summers off!) Summers are about living it up, right? And what do you do if you hate summer and you feel insecure about your hatred of summer? Here's the original thread if you want to check it out. However, it can broken down to three key steps. 

1. Wear your sunscreen. 

Do you feel like I harp on about this? It's because it's serious. On a podcast I listen to (All Killa, No Filla, if you're interested), one of the hosts said she goes tanning once a year; her doctor told her, straight up, she's giving herself cancer. And that's the truth: laying out; getting sunburned without worrying about it; and getting sun damage is giving yourself cancer. Don't do it! Also, sunburns hurt. Here are my tips for protecting that beautiful epidermis of yours

2. Wear what you want.  

Whatever! Going to a pool party (you lucky dog, you)? Wear the bikini. Feeling stressed about it? Does the thought of putting on that bikini make you feel stressed? Then don't. Don't wear the bikini. Wear a cute maxi dress instead. Or your favorite leggings. Or sweatpants! Wear what makes you feel comfortable and confident. If anyone asks, just say, "It's really none of your business."

3. Eat what you want.

So you took my advice on Twitter and went on a spontaneous trip. You find yourself staring down a slice of pizza, or a massive ice cream cone. You think about those goals you set for yourself: eating less dairy; making healthier choices. Your mouth is watering just looking at the ice cream. 

Girl, do it. Eat the ice cream. Eat the pizza. Eat a big, beautiful healthy salad tomorrow. Enjoy a smoothie in the morning. Chow down on nachos when offered. Life is too short to spend it trying to dictate what you enjoy every moment of the day. Moderation is important. 

4 Tips for Surviving a Road Trip with a Toddler

road trip with toddler

The trip to Disneyland, from where we live in Oregon, takes about 15 or 16 hours, give or take. 

15 or 16 hours, in a car, with a young toddler, can be torture. We had done a few road trips to places like central Oregon and Idaho, but nothing quite like two solid days in the car through the entirety of California. 

A few of my friends suggested driving at night so that Forrest would sleep. A few of them actually did this and had it backfire around the same time as our trip. The truth is, your toddler is not going to sleep great in the car, even if they normally sleep amazing in the car. If they're going to be in that seat for 14+ hours, they aren't going to sleep there very well. So prepare yourself for minimal naps and early bedtimes in hotels. 

We made it though, with minimal tantrums. How did we do it? Here are our 4 tips. 

1. Buy a DVD player for the car. 

Listen, I know. I always said I would never. But then my son reached toddler age and, you know what? Sometimes, you need to just distract them. A DVD player is perfect. We brought a collection of DVDs for him: Zootopia, Peter Pan, a Sesame Street DVD, a Barney DVD, and Toy Story. By the end of the trip, he was singing the theme from Zootopia whenever he had the chance. 

2. Bring snacks. 

When all else failed, we handed Forrest something to snack on. He is particularly fond of cereal bars, so we brought those, of course, as well as Goldfish, bananas, and apple juice. While sometimes he just made a mess (in the last 20 minutes driving home, he opened his milk cup, dumped it all over himself and the seat, and then mashed a cereal bar into it); otherwise, it was exactly what he needed to get over a tantrum. The first rule of toddlers is, if you can, distract them.   

3. Have someone ride in the back with him or her. 

For us, this was big: sometimes, it seemed like he was just lonely in the backseat. So, we would rearrange things and my husband would ride in the backseat with him. They would read books, watch Barney together, or just point out things along the road. 

4. Stop frequently. 

I hate stopping during road trips. I am goal oriented and, often, for me the goal is getting to our location. But with a toddler, it’s good to get out and walk around. We stopped at every other view point or rest area and got out just to stretch our legs; Forrest would walk around with his safety harness. We’d grab a snack or a soda and sit outside for just a few minutes. 

5 Tips for Staying Cool This Summer

stay cool no air conditioner

Recently on Twitter, I started a thread about staying cool in the summer when you don’t have air conditioning (or don’t feel like you can afford to run your A/C all the time).

Back in 2010, I lived in an apartment in Caldwell, Idaho. That summer, from late June until roughly October, it was over 100 every single day. Seriously. Over 100. I had a rickety air conditioning unit in my apartment, but I was terrified of using it. I did so occasionally in the evenings, but never for more than an hour. The rest of the time, I found creative ways to stay cool. I shared abbreviated versions of these in my Twitter thread here.

I thought I’d expand on my tips to better help my fellow college students or recent graduates out there. But I do want to share a disclaimer: if it is legitimately hot in your area of the world and the temperatures inside your home or apartment are reaching dangerously high, just turn on the A/C. It’s truly not worth damaging to health to avoid a bill. Local social services offices can and will help pay high energy bills. 

That being said, here are a few tips for beating the heat and avoiding the A/C. 

1. Make sure all your windows are covered. 

I ended up buying black out window coverings back in 2010; they now hang in my son’s room, conveniently. But at the time, I bought them because they help weatherproof your home: they keep out both the brightest rays of the sun and keep out the cold in the winter. It’s a win-win. As much as I love having open windows, having black out curtains is the first step to keeping your house cool. 

2. Make sure you weather proof. 

In my older apartment, there were some major gaps in the door frames. I mean, major. I could hear every car that went by, every conversation of people walking on the sidewalk. Seriously. I bought a roll of weatherproofing strip at Home Depot for around $8 and added it to my doorframe. This helps keep hot air out and the cooler air inside. It’s also great for the winter because, of course, it keeps cool air out. 

3. Hang up wet towels. 

This is going to sound bizarre, but stick with me: when you hang up wet towels to air dry, the air around them cools. Seriously, there are articles about this. I frequently did this in my apartment and aimed fans at them. And, really, it worked. 

4. Get the hot air out. 

Whenever I got home from work, back in the day, my apartment would be the worst. Because I wasn’t home, it was stagnant and super hot. I would aim one fan out my kitchen window (the side where the sun always hit and it was the hottest) and one fan in my bedroom window (the shady side of the house): this created a cross breeze through the apartment, bringing in the air from the shady side and pushing out the hot air. It worked a charm. 

5. Wear wet socks. 

You might think I’ve gone crazy, but this was truly the best thing I did to cool down back in the day. I would get a pair of socks and get them really wet, then wring them out; then I wore them around the house. Yes, you’ll leave wet foot prints everywhere, but honestly, it was worth it. At night, I would sleep with a fan aimed at my feet (wearing wet socks) and stay super cool the entire night. Don’t believe me? Try it, I promise it will change your life. 

5 Summer Accessories Under $20

summer accessories under $20

I ran a poll recently on Twitter asking what post you wanted to see next: summer accessories, a Disney travel journal, or 4th of July outfits. Most people, it seemed, wanted summer accessories. 

My husband helped me with this by making (surprisingly helpful) suggestions. Without further ado, here are 5 practical, affordable accessories for this summer.

1. Flamingo pin, $3.50 from Maurices

I love flamingoes, so I'm really excited they're still on-trend this summer. This pin is perfect for sprucing up a plain t-shirt or tank top, or adding to a collection on your denim jacket, bag, or hat. Summery, sweet, and simple. And only $3.50!

2. Cactus Water Bottle, $11.50, from ASOS

Being hydrated is important year round, but this water bottle, at a hyper affordable $11.50, is perfect for the summer time. Over the past few months I've become obsessed with cactus print (as has the rest of the world) so this really hits the spot. 

3. Cross Body Bag, $18, from Forever 21

I love a cross body bag for vacations and this one is really perfect. It's big enough to carry a small wallet and your phone, plus sun screen, lip balm, and other accessories. But not so big that you feel like you're toting around half your house. It's available in 3 colors, but I love this dark, rusty red. At $18, it's the perfect price for the summer.  

4. Floral Baseball Hat, $12.50, from Maurices 

Baseball hats are in this summer. This one from Maurices is particularly cute. I'm a sucker for floral print, what can I say? And at $12.50, you can get in on the trend without committing to something more expensive. 

5. American Flag print iPhone case, $7.90, from Forever 21 

"Everyone needs a phone case," my husband said. He's not wrong. I love getting new, fun phone cases and Forever 21 always has so many options. I love this one for the 4th of July; it's cheeky, summery, and fun without being "bald eagle crying on a mountain top" over-the-top Americana. And at $7.90 you can throw a few others in your cart too. 

5 Casual Summer Outfits That Are Perfect for Vacation

It's June! That means summer has arrived and we're all anxiously looking forward to vacation (hopefully...) I know for me, my upcoming vacation felt like a Very Big Deal. I haven't talked about it much, but I've been working on losing weight the last few months; I've managed to shed over 15 pounds, as far as I can estimate, which is a big deal. I'm below my pre-pregnancy weight and I finally feel like clothes look like clothes on me again. 

For that reason, I ~splurged~ and actually bought three new shirts for my vacation. That's right, three shirts and a new pair of $10 Forever 21 jeans is a splurge these days. Oi vei. 

Here are 5 outfits that will be perfect for any summer holiday, regardless of where you're going. 

1. The Disney Outfit

The secret is out: I'm going to Disneyland for my vacation. What can I say? It's my favorite place. This is a perfect outfit for Disneyland: comfy top, comfy jeans, small purse. I don't recommend flip flops; your feet will kill at the end of the day, but some cushioned Vans or sneakers would look cute too. Cool, casual, totally easy. 

2. The Tropical Outfit

If you're the lucky soul who gets to go somewhere sandy and sunny for vacation, well then, this is the outfit for you. A pretty patterned dress will keep you cool and will look great over your bikini. Interesting sandals, sunglasses, and a simply lipstick will mean good Instagram photos. 

3. The Road Trip Outfit

You're going to be in the car, on the move, for a long period of time. Comfy jeans, a pretty hat, and a loose top are perfect. A patterned top is perfect for the car because, if you're like me, you'll spill something on yourself inevitably (or, um, your toddler will launch a juice into the front seat). Comfy flats and simple accessories mean you'll look cute along the way too. 

4. The Explorer Outfit

So you're going to your dream city: Austin, Texas, or New York City, or Los Angeles. This outfit is for you. Comfy, cool, and very hip, you'll fit in. A cute patterned dress, a comfy cardigan (because I always like to have my arms covered), a roomy bag, and some quirky shoes. 

5. The Stay-Cation Outfit

You're harumphing through this post because, harumph, you don't get to go on vacation! Don't worry; this is my first summer vacation in, seriously, six or seven years. If you're staying at home, or maybe just traveling to visit family, you can still get a special outfit. This outfit is perfect for staying at home, going out on the town, or visiting family: a simple, tank top dress topped with your favorite cozy flannel and paired with some killer boots (if you're feeling a little gothy) or some plain black flats or sandals (if you're not feeling so gothy). 

Just a Little Spring-to-Summer Outfit Inspiration

spring to summer outfit inspiration

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed I had a small blogging crisis the other night. I've been struggling to feel motivated regarding my blog lately... and then I start to panic about what I'm doing, whether what I'm doing opens me up to criticism I'm not sure I can handle, and if what I'm doing is safe for my son. I don't talk about Forrest very much anymore and I'm very careful about the photos I post about him now, especially on Instagram and Twitter. But opening yourself up can be challenging. I love blogging and it is very hard for me to separate my life as I know it from my blog... because blogging is so much a part of my identity. 

I guess what I'm saying is: thank you for the messages I received, the notes of love for my blog. It really helps me feel like what I'm doing has some kind of purpose (even if it is just bringing a small piece of joy to other people) and I feel more comfortable with what I've shared so far. 

Anyway, whenever I'm feeling a little down about my blog, I try to go to some of my "easier" post ideas. I wanted to share some of the pretty Polyvore sets I've been liking for that spring-to-summer transition. If you follow me Instagram, you know I've been working out a lot and eating healthy. I have finally (FINALLY!) after nearly 5 years of struggling started to lose weight; I think I just found the right balance and motivation. So I'm excited for summer, obviously. 

Here are a few outfits to get you inspired too. 

1. Neutral

I'm feeling extremely covetous of that little lace top, but for now, it's outside of my current confidence zone. That being said, the blush-tan neutral is a great way to transition a winter wardrobe to spring and then to summer--and these items are particularly work appropriate. 

2. That floral


Spring by duma-duma featuring a sun hat

If you know me, you know I love a floral--and I'm particularly loving the lush, vivid florals we are seeing lately! The bold print of this shirt dress would be perfect for the office (with some leggings or tights, of course) topped with a blazer; and then you could also wear it to the 4 million weddings and graduation parties we are all attending in the next few months. 

3. Day-glo

I'm normally NOT a neon fan, but when I saw this set, I actually looked at this dress and seriously considered buying it. It is gorgeous, right? I love a Peter Pan collar and I love a floral, but this dress is unlike any I've ever really seen. Combined with some funky sunglasses, it's another great graduation party option--just remember to slather on the sunscreen because in an outfit at bright as this, you're gonna need some sun protection. 

4. Striped Preppy Classics

Again, not confident enough to high-waisted short shorts at this point in my life, but I'm really loving the bomber jacket and letterman jacket trend. This one is particularly cute (and comfy looking). Paired with a striped top and jeans, it would be perfect for a casual weekend day or even a more casual workplace. Plus, you'll stay warm in the air conditioning that I know is torturing most women in office buildings right now. 

5. For vacation

I'm actually looking for a dress like this for my vacation this summer. I love blush pink, but it does wash me out a bit. However, I also love the off-the-shoulder look (I know) and this dresses silhouette is particularly flattering. Paired with a strappy sandal and a little bag, it's perfect for a fancy dinner at home or on vacation. 

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How to Test Out Festival Style Trends as a Grown Up*

I know it’s only February, but it’s that time of year where we all (or maybe just me?) start dreaming of Spring and Summer. And every year, like clockwork, we all start getting emails about festival trends. 

If you’re like me (that is, over 25, working a full time job, and perhaps even taking care of a very small human), you feel a little left behind by all the denim cutoffs and crop tops. I’m not 18 anymore; are these festival trends something I can pull off—or even just try? 

It’s a struggle, for sure. But as we’re dreaming of warmer weather, I got the opportunity to poke around Splash’s website to check out their latest collection. I wanted to share a few pieces that definitely fit that festival trend, but are a little easier to wear. 

(Note: Yes, this is a sponsored post. However, all ideas & writing is my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy!

1. Mix up your classic sweater & jeans. 

I am totally obsessed with these Scallywag jeans from Birds of Paradise. That pretty embroidery combined with a high waist and roll up cuffs? Perfect for those chillier spring days, especially topped with this Yacht sweater from Lovers + Friends. You’ll get that festival vibe without having to go whole hog for denim cuff offs and midriff exposure. 

2. Try it at work. 

“Uh, I’m pretty sure festival trends can never be work appropriate.” Wrong! Ok, maybe right—it depends on what kind of office you work in. But this Elsa shirt in Olive from Stillwater would look great with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt in the office. Add these Libby heels in Black from Raye and you’ve got a festival-focused office outfit.

3. Try off-the-shoulder dresses. 

Off-the-shoulder dresses are one of the biggest trends of the last few years. (Remember when every single fashion blogger was wearing that same chambray, off-the-shoulder dress?) They’re super summery and very cute—plus they give a very late-1970s, festival vibe. I love these two dresses from Faithfull the Brand. The Milos dress in Beshka Print would look cute paired with some simple gladiator sandals and a wide-brimmed hat. The Mali dress in Amber Stripe is super similar, except that it has a really subtle stripe pattern (which means it can be paired with just about anything!) Add some cute boots (like these Free People ones) for a very retro vibe or some cute sunglasses and gold sandals for a simple look. 

Want more inspiration? Be sure to check out Splash