Tag Archives: lifestyle

HOW TO BE A HORRIBLE HOST

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Sure, there are lots of extra things you can do to be the ultimate host: fresh flowers, candles, extravagant meals made from scratch. Those things are great, but really not necessary to show your friends a good time.

There are some things, though, that need to be done to keep your guests from wanting to walk out. And I think sometimes the best way to learn is through what not to do! So, here are a few tips for how to be a horrible host:

Don’t clean your apartment, not even a little.
Let’s be clear about this: your place doesn’t necessarily have to be pristine. But various clothing items and shoes strewn about and dirty dishes in the sink can make guests feel like they are intruding or maybe you forgot they were coming over in the first place. Make sure your straightening up includes cleaning the table or where ever you intend people to eat, having enough dishes and silverware for them to eat with, and making sure your bathroom isn’t gross.

Shame people for not eating your food.
There comes a point in life where you have to accept that other people may not like the things you like. Sure, it can seem a little rude to let someone make you dinner and then not eat it. But you never know if they’re battling stomach issues or just an embarrassingly picky eater. Let it go. Hopefully whatever you made makes for good leftovers. (This is even more important when it comes to someone not drinking alcohol, by the way.)

Text / check your phone throughout the night.
The only thing worse than having people to your house who then sit on their phones the whole night is going to someone else’s house and having them sit on their phone the whole night. This has happened to me a few times, and I always feel like maybe I’m subpar entertainment for my host and want to leave. Not cool.

Be incredibly stressed the entire time.
As much as people appreciate you putting hard work into a night for them, if it’s causing you to stress out the whole time it’s probably not worth it. This is why make-ahead meals are great, and if cooking is out of the option for you, just order some good takeout and get some nice wine. Chances are no one will care, and everyone will have a better time!

There are, as with all things, exceptions to the rules. But generally speaking, these are good ones to follow. Or, rather, not follow!

SPLURGE OR SAVE: HOME OFFICE

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We’re down to one last room in our apartment to complete, and it’s going to be a home office! We both work from home often, so we’re really excited to have a designated space for us to get our shit done. Especially excited to maybe start eating dinner at our table more often, given the hope is it won’t be covered in laptops and chargers and papers and whatever else. #AdultGoals.

In pulling it together, though, I’ve learned once again just how expensive it can be to design a space like this. Or, if you look hard enough, how inexpensive! Below I’ve pulled together two really similar schemes. One’s a splurge coming in well over $2k. The other one comes in at a mere fraction!

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Splurge

Desk | Interior Homescapes | $1,687.50
Chair | CB2 | $229.00
Lamp | Zara Home | $169.00
Wall Art | Urban Outfitters | $59.00
Pencil Holder | Anthropologie | $48.00
Total: $2,192.50

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Save

Desk | Overstock.com | $175.99
Chair | IKEA | $19.99
Lamp Base | Target | $29.99
Lamp Shade | Target | $16.99
Wall Art | ModCloth | $24.99
Pencil Holder | Target | $14.99
Total: $282.94

So, what do you think? Splurge or Save? Or meet in the middle?

DRY BRUSHING: WHAT AND WHY

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A few months ago, on my path to hippy-hygiene, I started dry brushing. I first tried this because I had just moved from a humid, jungle-like climate to a much, much drier place. My skin was already prone to drying out and I was not looking forward to how much worse it could get.

I was so pleasantly surprised with the results, and have been doing it (almost) everyday since then! The skin is, of course, our largest organ, and dry brushing turns out to be a great way to care for it. Here’s the scoop:

What Is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is pretty much what it sounds like: brushing your dry skin. It can be done once or twice a day, or just whenever you remember or feel the need to.

Which leads me to…

Why Dry Brushing Is Awesome

Dry brushing helps clear your skin of dead skin cells it’s constantly shedding. Our bodies shed tens of thousands of skin cells every hour! Most of them fall of on their own and become house dust – gross, but true.

Some of them stick around, though. And that’s not cool. First of all, they can clog pores. If you’ve ever had little red bumps on the top of your arms, there’s a chance that was at least partially due to pores being clogged by dead skin. Dry brushing removes a lot of that excess dead skin and leaves your pores with less chance of getting clogged.

All those shed skin cells can also work a bit like a barrier when applying lotion to your skin. This is where I have seen a huge difference in my skin since starting dry brushing. Before dry brushing, I had been applying body lotion atop layer(s) of already dry, dead and unable-to-absorb-it skin. Dry brushing has removed a lot of that top layer, and my skin now soaks up so much more moisture than ever before. This has resulted in much softer, smoother skin.

Dry brushing also does great things for your circulation. I find this especially helpful as a morning shower-person. I’ve heard it can help reduce the appearance of cellulite, but I’m not bold enough to make that claim on my own!

How To Get Started

First, get yourself a brush. I use this one, but I’ve heard good this about this one and also this guy, too. All are inexpensive.

The best time to dry brush is right before you shower. That way, any skin cells that are loosened but not completely brushed off with likely be washed away once you shower. Also, most people apply lotion directly after showering.

Start at the bottom (your feet) and work your way up, always going towards your heart (that’s the circulation booster). Use as much pressure as is comfortable for you. You can either work in a small, circular motion or use quick, short strokes.

And…you’re done! This adds approximately 1-2 minutes to your shower routine and can have really great results for your skin. Clean your brush weekly with soap and water (or more frequently if you often brush after working out).

What do you think, will you try dry brushing?!

SPLURGE OR SAVE: AT HOME

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Furnishing and decorating a new space (or updating one you’ve been in for a while) is not an inexpensive job. There’s just no way around it. But, for every piece you must have (maybe it really just ties the room together) regardless of the price tag, there’s usually a cheaper option.

Here are some splurge or save (or both!) options that can meet just about any budget:

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Graphic Throw Pillow

Save: H&M Home: $9.99
Splurge: DENY Designs: $39.00
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Acrylic Sphere Table Lamp

Save: Target Base, $19.99 and Target Lampshade, $16.00
Splurge: Zara Home, $169.00
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Area Rug

Save: IKEA, $19.99
Splurge: Crate&Barrell, $199.00
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Metal Frame Leather Chair

Save: CB2, $329.00
Splurge: Anthropologie, $1,199.95

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a “save” option to complement this Alpaca Head from Anthropologie, so you’re just going to have to fork over the $1,600 for that one.

ONE MINUTE BIKINI BODY

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If you’ve used the internet in the last few weeks, chances are the arrival of summer has also meant the arrival of lots of “bikini body” diets, workouts, shortcuts, etc.

And, if you’re anything like me, you might be left wondering what exactly counts as a “bikini body,” as this is never explicitly defined.

Recently one of my internet friends shared this awesome video by the ever-enlightening Laci Green. I have had it on my mind ever since! Laci does a really good job of explaining how over the course of about 30 years, bikinis completely transformed from a symbol of female liberation to a source of increasingly high body standards for women.

The tricky thing about the “bikini body” is that it isn’t an exact size, measurement, or really anything tangible at all. So we’re pretty much all left wondering whether we have one or not.

So what’s the best way to figure it out? Let’s see if we look like bikini models, right? Right?
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Except…

Except for that time an actual bikini modeled revealed, in detail, that SHE DOESN’T EVEN LOOK LIKE A BIKINI MODEL IN REAL LIFE. Not to mention that that even bikini models themselves are always thinking about whether or not they truly have bikini bodies…

Sorry, WHAT? Doesn’t that make things even trickier!

And doesn’t that make the “bikini body” even more impossible to achieve, since it is, you know, a complete fabrication in many cases.

My ultimate take away from all this?

One Minute Bikini Body: Put a Bikini on Your Body. Done.

Because a body with a bikini on it is really the only solid definition of “bikini body” we’re ever going to find. So let’s stop killing ourselves over the creases, stretch marks, parts that move when you walk, and whatever else, and soak up some sun already. Summer will not wait for you, so why not enjoy it?

All pictured bikinis can be found on Modcloth.

COFFEE READS

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It’s allllmost the weekend. And most likely a three-day weekend! Which means today doesn’t really count as a workday. Not a whole one, anyway. It’s like a workday-holiday hybrid.

The object of the game here is more about looking busy than being busy. Or perhaps only being sporadically busy instead of perpetually busy. You get the picture.

To aid in this quest, here are some coffee reads from around web recently!

Six Things to Eliminate from Your Closet Right Now: Having moved twice in the last year, I’ve really been trying to step up my closet purging skills. I’ve also had 3 different jobs in the last 2 years, all of which had very different dress codes (or none at all). That means lots of clothes that are just no longer relevant to my life! This post tells you pretty much everything you need to hear (whether or not you want to) when trying to clean out your closet.
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Cannes Film Festival Round-Up from Vogue: The Cannes Film Festival, arguably one of the top fashion events on the globe, was last week. Vogue did a nice round-up of the week’s fashion, from airport arrivals to the red carpet. You can scroll through them all to kill some time, but all you really need to see is that ah-may-zing Gucci gown on the lovely Lupita Nyongo. Girl’s got skills.
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Salted Caramel Skillet Brownie: Sarah over at Broma Bakery is, once again, trying to destroy my hips. As if salted brownies were not enough, she doused them in an amazing caramel sauce. She then suggested, ever so subtly, that I could just eat the whole thing with a spoon. Proof is in the pictures, people.
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The Difference Between Living in New York and San Francisco: I’ve only ever lived in New York and admittedly only visited San Francisco once about ten years ago (it’s on the list, I promise) but still found this really funny. If nothing else it highlights some of the reasons I likely fit in Denver better than NYC!

Happy weekend!

ADULT COLORING BOOKS

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A few weeks ago my good friend was telling me about how Adult Coloring Books are now all the rage. You knew that, right? If not, join the club.

If you don’t believe me (like I didn’t completely believe her) check them out on Amazon. Not only are there tons, but many of them have hundreds of reviews! This is no hoax. Adult Coloring Books are a serious thing now!

It turns out, coloring is a major stress reliever. This was more of a reminder than news to me. I was a middle schooler not too far from New York City on September 11, and on September 12 my history teacher passed out USA maps and crayons to our whole class. We sat and colored, mostly in silence. It was exactly what we needed.

That same stress release can be just as beneficial even in much less strenuous times – even every day! Especially as our lives become more connected and consumed by devises, social media, and the latest Netflix binge, it is so refreshing to have a way to unwind that involves none of those things!
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In many of the most popular books, the images are specifically designed for stress release. I find that the most detailed and intricate pages are usually the most soothing. It takes so much focus to fill in each little nook and corner that it’s hard to focus very much on anything else.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been one to fall asleep quickly. More often it can take me quite a while. Even when I’m not feeling negatively stressed, it is a serious challenge to turn my brain off for sleep. I’m working on developing a new bedtime routine, and adult coloring books are at the core of my new strategy.

I’m also thinking that adult coloring books could be a great gift for a friend who’s dealing with some serious ish. There’s some things in life we just can’t fix, and that’s usually when it feels hardest to support someone you care about. I’m always looking for ways to lessen the blow, and something as simple as this just might do the trick!

So, what do you think? Have you ever tried unwinding with coloring? If not, would you?

The pictured coloring page can be found here.

BEAUTIFUL BALCONIES

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Memorial Day Weekend is quickly approaching, and as far as I’m concerned that signals the start of summer! Picnics and BBQ’s (obviously featuring some maple baked beans) galore!

I think one of my favorite parts of summer is just spending as much time as possible outside. From morning coffee to sunset beers to s’mores over a fire! Unfortunately our new apartment does not have a patio, but I think apartment balconies can often be the sweetest deal. They’re the perfect place to set up a private outdoor nook and often have the best views!

Here’s a few of my favorite beautiful balconies for summer inspiration!

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What I love about this space (also above) seen on Apartment Therapy is that it proves not every outdoor space needs to be big enough for a large group or even a meal for two. This would be such an awesome spot to enjoy your morning coffee or a few glasses of wine after dinner!

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How cute is this little secret porch? Also found on Apartment Therapy, this would be the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or catching up with your best friend. A few simple finger foods, a bottle of wine, and your night is made.

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The terrace on this amazing Parisian apartment easily takes the cake. The overflowing greenery and rectangular table could not be more perfect. Seriously, if you have space like this, please use it everyday!

Does your apartment have outdoor space? How do you decorate and use it? Best answer: often!

WHY I LOVE URBAN LIVING

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We’ve been in Denver for just a few weeks now, but we’re really starting to get settled. It’s been about a year and a half since I left New York City, and I’ve been craving a heavy dose of urban living.

Aside from the standard never-ending list of things to do, there are some things about city lifestyle that just makes me happy.

While cities often get a bad rap for their dollar per square foot value, small living spaces are actually one thing I really love! While cities like Manhattan may be on the extreme side (I still laugh every morning when I walk into my Denver bathroom, thinking about my NYC one), small space living adds and element of life I don’t think you can really get any other way.

It forces you to be very deliberate about your possessions because you don’t have the space for too many! It can be overwhelming at first, but freeing once you get into it. I’ve also found I’m being forced to get really creative with my organizing techniques, which I love!
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In the same minimalist fashion, car-less living is becoming increasingly attractive to us. Being able to go days at a time without having to get in the car (and not because I just haven’t left my house) can be awesome. It usually means I’m walking most places, which is something I totally took for granted in NYC. When I moved back to the ‘burbs and was driving to work everyday, I found within about a month or so I wasn’t able to sleep at night because I wasn’t getting enough exercise!

It’s also way easier not to constantly worry about sitting in traffic, filling up your tank, etc. Denver is not a city we can live in completely without a car, and I’m not sure we’ll ever want to as we do want to continuously take advantage of all that’s right outside the city. But, being able keep our driving to a minimum is definitely a plus for us.
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Having tons of restaurants within walking distance is perhaps one of my favorite things of all about city living. On pretty much any night we can aimlessly stroll until we get hungry enough to stop, and add a new favorite spot to our list. Plus, it’s no secret how much I love boozey brunch, and city living means no one has to be the designated driver!

Have you ever experienced urban living? What did you think?

ON MAKING NEW FRIENDS

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New friends are one of my favorite things. Friends in general, I guess, but new ones are extra exciting. One of the things I have been most excited for about moving to Denver is to be in a city full of young adults oozing with talent and overall good vibes – and to make friends with them!

But one thing I’ve learned in the last few years is that making new friends gets strangely difficult after school. Have you experienced this? I found that many of the new friends I made post-college were made where I worked, so it’s especially challenging having recently left the “traditional” workplace.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but making new friends as an adult feels even more difficult and anxiety-inducing than dating ever was. I have no idea why this is. I’ve always considered myself an extroverted and fairly outgoing person. But, without the structure of school or work, specifically designed for you to interact with those around you, I feel like Kevin James in Hitch. Mustard stain and all.

Part of my struggle is likely due to the fact that my last experience in this position was not exactly the norm. Less than two weeks after moving to NYC I stopped in a bar around the corner. It was my waitress’s birthday, I was told. I told her happy birthday, that mine was just a few days earlier, and long story short she turned out to be my best friend. We spent the next two years doing almost everything together, and thus the pressure to “meet new people” was off almost immediately. (Hi, Steph!)

Unfortunately, I’m at a different place in my life now. While we still frequent the bar scene, it’s no longer my go-to for broadening my social horizons. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but this whole game also feels a little different being a married lady instead of a single lady. I’m looking to tap into some opportunities to network with the Denver blogger community, and hope that other opportunities arise while we get settled here.

Have you had success making new friends as an adult? How did you do it? Experienced the same sudden shyness? Please tell me I’m not alone!