STOP: You Need To Hear This Today

I know I typically write really sarcastic pieces about things that often are relatively insignificant – the best hair product for your color-treated hair, what exercise class to try out, and cardio playlists, to name a few. Contrary to what the overall vibe of my blog may lead you to believe, I also spend a lot of my time thinking about things outside of health and beauty and how to throw shade at my boss through the written word (kidding! I don’t do that, plz don’t fire me!) That said, I wanted today’s post to be different, because what I have to say is important.

I’m a 24 year old woman in New York City. Most days, I find success in just getting out of bed and getting through work unscathed. A lot of days, I feel like I’m not good enough. I’m writing this because it was only recently that I really started to believe I’m not alone in that. How many of us have gotten up on a Monday morning and started the day by going through the motions of figuring out what to wear that will hide those 7 lbs you’ve been meaning to lose, and rummaging through to find the concealer that will best hide the dark circles under your eyes from the lack of sleep you’ve been getting? You hop in your car or on the subway, get yourself to work and start on cup 1 of 3 coffees for the morning. Go through emails, go to meetings and somehow it’s 6pm and you head out for the night. And then you go home and you’re almost afraid to be alone with your thoughts because you know that between bites of chicken + rice and re-run episodes of Friends, the thought that you aren’t doing enough keeps creeping back. For me, I live a minimum of 75% of my days thinking that at any moment, the jig is up- the world will suddenly realize that I have no f*cking idea what I’m doing most of the time. Yes, I have a good handle on what I do at work and yes, I have a decent idea day to day of how to execute what needs to get done. But when I think of myself long-term – 5 years, 2 years, even 6 months down the road, and the thought of where I’m going to be can really terrify me.

You’re NOT Crazy

I used to think that I was crazy for thinking this way. That if someone could read my thoughts, they’d think something was wrong with me. I’ve been living the post-grad/ Real World life for almost three years now, and I sometimes still think to myself, “who am I going to be when I grow up?” Does that feeling ever go away? When? Surely it can’t be like this forever – at some point, I’ll just wake up one morning and feel like I have it together. Right?

The point of this post is for me to let you know that you are not alone. I didn’t realize this for myself until pretty recently, when I found myself explaining these scary thoughts I was having to one of my friends, my eyes full of tears and my heart full of shame for even thinking like this. The idea of exposing myself left me feeling pathetic. I so wish that I had brought this up sooner, because I quickly learned that I wasn’t the only who feeling this way – far from it. It turns out most of my friends felt similarly. We’re all worried about taking a risk and going for a new job. Because “it won’t look good on our resumes if we’re job-hopping”. What’s the alternative to not moving on to a new job? Being miserable for the next 2-4 years of your life. Do you really want to wake up at 27, or 30 or 32 and think, damn I’m really happy that I stuck it out at a place I hated all this time? Probably not. And you know what else? If you want to move on to a company that you’re passionate about, that will show in your cover letters and interviews! People will feel your energy and understand you’re serious.

He’s Just Not That Into You

The same goes for friendships and relationships. I’m so sick of seeing people I love tolerate things they don’t deserve. I’m guilty of this myself, and I hate it – it’s one of the qualities that I like least about myself. How many times have you really cared for someone, so you excused their poor behavior and the ways they treated you when it was less than what you deserved? Let me tell you something. You. Are. Worth. It. Do not EVER let someone make you feel like you aren’t all that and a bag of chips, because you ARE. You deserve someone who feels like they’re lucky to have you – like you matter to them. You don’t deserve to feel unworthy of someone’s love – that’s absolute bullshit. And believe me, I know it’s easier said than done. I know you can stare at your phone and tell yourself you won’t text them first, that you don’t care. And I also know that willpower doesn’t stand a chance against your heart, and that 9/10 times, you’ll end up texting them anyway. But when the texts go unanswered and they leave you on read, don’t even for one second think it’s because you’re not enough. You are ABSOLUTELY enough. And believe me, there’s someone out there who’s waiting for you. I promise. For me? I was dumped on my birthday. Two days later, I met the most amazing guy I’ve ever know. I truly didn’t know that men like this actually existed in 2017. My boyfriend actually goes out of his way to do things that show he cares. Even when we argue (because literally nobody on the face of this earth has ever had a perfect relationship with no arguing and if they tell you they have, they’re lying), he’s extremely respectful. He doesn’t yell, cuss or try to put me down. We both do our best to explain our viewpoints while trying to understand where the other is coming from. Ladies, it IS possible to be treated like this – but you need to respect yourself in order for someone else to respect you.

Let me tell you a story: My parents met in college, were married just after my mom turned 22, and I was born a month after her 23rd birthday. They were divorced before I was 3 years old. Before they got married, they’d been engaged… twice. My mom broke off the first engagement and I remember being in high school hearing this for the first time, and thinking it was really weird that two people would break off an engagement and then get back together and get married (LOL these were the days before I had the glorious high school experience of on-off relationships. So innocent. So naive). Anyway, she told me that the reason they got back together is because she was so worried that she’d end up alone, eating dinner across the table from my grandparents when she was 45. At the time, I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and was like, that’s literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. But you know what? I get it now. I understand the fear of feeling like, holy shit. Maybe there’s nobody out there who’s going to love me for the rest of my life. I had this whole timeline when I was little that I’d be married at 26, have my first of four kids by 27 and be wealthy and live in a big house and not have to be a working mom. JOKES ON ME, GUYS! I’m 24.5 years old and I just barely have my shit together.

Count Your Wins

But you know what? Maybe just barely having my shit together is enough right now. There’s days where I call my mom crying that I’m living in NYC and barely able to save any money, or that I have no idea what I want to do with my life. There’s nights where I call my best friend crying that I’m never going to find my soulmate. But then I take a step back and I think about what I’ve done in these last 24 years, and it’s pretty awesome.

So here you go. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve done that I’m proud of:

  • I started off freshman year of college super rocky and almost failed out… and then I studied my ass off and got 3.7s and 4.0s and graduated from the University of Kentucky with a 3.5 GPA
  • I tried out for the University of Kentucky Women’s Choir, made it, and then traveled throughout England and Ireland for 2 weeks on a tour with these women, singing in theaters and cathedrals that are world-famous.
  • I survived living in a 5 bedroom house with just me and 12 guys for 2 years in college (it’s the little things*)
  • I got a grown-up job in NYC before I even graduated college
  • I moved to NYC right after I graduated and just did the damn thing
  • I won an award for being the top performer at my first job less than a year after I started
  • I moved on to a different company, in a job with a different industry, and excelled (note without a LOT of bumps in the road, but I did it)
  • I’ve spend time in other countries getting to explore every year (and I’m going to Scotland by myself in September!)
  • I’ve made some of the most amazing friends I could ever have imagined.

Sometimes, you need to make a list for yourself. Little reminders that you’re doing a great job. That you’re seeing things, meeting people, challenging yourself. If you truly hate your job, move on. If the guy you’ve been hooking up with for the last year keeps making excuses on why you guys aren’t official, move on. As my favorite movie, He’s Just Not That In To You, would say, you’re not the exception – you’re the rule. He’s probably not going to wake up one day and randomly realize he’s in love with you. But you know what? There’s someone out there who won’t need a year. There’s someone out there who will know after the first date that they’re never going to want to let you go. There’s a job out there that will make you feel like you’re really contributing every day. These are the things that are worth pursuing. Just know that at the end of the day, someone loves you. Someone appreciates you. And you are, without a doubt, enough.

Oh, the Places They’ll Go!

Damnnn Laughing Blonde, back at it again with the gift guides! It’s that time again, guys – time to be broke. Honestly, it’s like everyone conspired together to try and make me as poor as possible. Can someone please explain why Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Wedding Szn and Graduation Szn all fall within the same 4 months? It’s rude af. All these people out there getting married and getting degrees and I’m over here like, yeah sure, no prob, here’s $100 I was planning to frivolously spend on like, my electricity bill but nah fam, you take it and get yourself a nice panini maker, it’s all good. It’s summer in NYC, so what would I possibly need electricity for? Air conditioning? All set, thanks!

My little sister is graduating from high school next month and you know what she’s getting from me? A freaking trip to Nashville. Wanna know what my own MOTHER got me for my high school graduation? Absolutely nothing. She didn’t even wanna go because in her words, “there’s really nothing special about graduating high school. You showed up to a school for 4 years and participated just enough for them to pass you on to the next phase of life. You literally didn’t have a choice to not go.” It sounds harsh, but when I think about it, I literally did the bare minimum in high school so she’s like, not wrong. She was kinda bitchy about it, for sure, but not wrong. My sister on the other hand, she’s a low-key genius. All AP classes, #4 in her class, already has a year of college credits under her belt and she’s gotten a full academic ride to the school she’ll be attending in the fall, so I figured I’d throw her a bone, ya know? Reward the little Einstein by agreeing to sneak her into a bar and then hand her the Advil and Gatorade the next morning as she suffers from her first hangover.

Anyway, grad season is upon us, and it’s time to look for gifts that speak to the soul. After all, I’m out here tryna’ break glass ceilings, not bank accounts. Before you check out the gift guide gallery below, take a look at some of the deals + steals I have for you!

Framebridge

The 411: Framebridge is a company that frames your art, but doesn’t require you to liquidate all of your assets to do so. Reasonably priced + very high-quality. Either upload your own photo, or send in what you want to have framed (they can even do shadow boxes)! And they’re quick- it only takes about a week from order to delivery.

The Deal: Use the code “laughingblonde15” to get 15% off of your first purchase!

framebridge 3framebridge2

 

pretty/creative by aes

The 411: pretty/creative by aesis an Etsy shop based out of NYC, but ships all over the country! 100% custom totes, makeup bags, travel cases + stainless steel waterbottles, all right at your fingertips, and the pricepoint is fab – $20!

The Deal: We’re giving y’all a giveaway! Any purchase made between now and 6/15 will automatically enter you into a giveaway – the winner will be able to select one item from the shop, as well as receive a $50 Visa gift card! Use the code “LBGRAD” at check-out, and you’re automatically entered! And PS- any purchase you make using that code will give you a 15% discount at check out!

unnamed

unnamed (1)


 


 

Where to Buy:

Almost Adulting – Amazon, $13

Meal in a Mug – Amazon, $17

Bachelor Quote Pencils – Etsy, $17.95

Mindy Project Quote Pencils- Etsy, $19.95

I Just Graduated.. Now What? – Urban Outfitters, $20

Bartending Glass Set – Amazon, $20

Y’all Pennant – Etsy, $25

Meryl Streep Pillow – Etsy, $25

Wearsafe – Amazon, $30

Verrier Handcrafted Print – $35

Instagram Framing – Framebridge, $39

Portable PingPong Set – Uncommon Goods, $40

Custom Passport Holder – Etsy, $49

Diana Camera – Uncommon Goods, $49

Custom Gift Krate (Women’s) – Lemon Krate, $50

Six-Pack Bike Bag – Amazon, $60

Custom Gift Krate (Men’s) – Lemon Krate, $98

Polaroid Camera – Amazon, $97

Mini Plus Brewing System – Keurig, $100

Beats Solo Wireless Headphones – Amazon, $229

Life Lately

Hi friends! You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent lately and slow to post. Believe me, I’ve missed you more. Girl Scouts Honor. This last month has been kind of a whirlwind . About 4 weeks ago, my boyfriend was offered an amazing job is Los Angeles. Not only is the job really great for him, but that’s where his family lives (he grew up there, but has lived in the NY area for the last 8 years or so). It was a difficult conversation to have, but it’s absolutely the right thing for him, and I couldn’t be more proud. He’s such a wonderful man and insanely hard worker- anyone who works with him should consider themselves lucky, because they’re getting the best of the best. Side note – need a financial advisor? I know the best one – message me :p

unnamed

Suffice it to say that I needed to be able absorb the shock pretty quickly. What made it even more difficult was that he’d had a 10 day boys’ trip to Thailand planned for the last six months, so a couple of weeks after the offer was made, he was halfway across the world. Not ideal, but I’m so glad he was able to take such an incredible trip with some of his oldest friends before this new chapter starts for him.

Lucky for me, I have a pretty amazing boss. She was super sympathetic about everything and once I told her that he was leaving for LA last Wednesday, she let me take Monday and Tuesday off to spend with him. So when he came back from Thailand last Sunday night, I met him at the airport and then spend the next three days basically inseparable from him. Since Patrick is basically the world’s most perfect boyfriend, you may not be surprised to learn this, but here goes: He binge-watched Golden Girls with me for all of season 5- what a guy, amirite?! Not only that, but he bought me Caramel Cookie Crunch Talenti, and played with my hair while I combatted my ill-timed monthly cramps. I’m telling you, he’s an angel among peasants.

Wednesday morning came far too quickly and before I knew it, he was dropping me off at my office before he was off on his cross-country drive to Cali. To be honest with you, I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, the fact that I can’t see him whenever I want anymore. Long distance is a real bitch, but I can think of worse places to have to visit than Southern California. I already find myself geeking out over long-distance relationship gift ideas I’m finding on Etsy, or care packages I can put together, or all the touristy crap I can do when I visit him. I can’t wait!

So, long story short, life has been pretty chaotic recently, so thank you for sticking with me and being so understanding through it all. And I need your help! Do you have any long distance relationship tips? Gift ideas? Must-see places in Los Angeles? Message me or leave a comment below 🙂

xo, AJ

P.S. – Not to brag or anything, but how freaking handsome is he?! I’m so dang lucky!

16508505_10208198136206175_2717972017502816814_n

15285051_10207642279630108_7713978954783120812_n

halloweenn

haloww

My Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide 

How is May here already?! I swear – I blinked at some point in January and the next thing I know, it’s Jack Rogers weather. No complaints from me! May brings two major life stresses- bathing suit season and Mother’s Day. Both of these things give me nightmares, tbh. I love my mom, but shopping for her is near impossible. The woman has everything she wants, and is on a first name basis with our UPS and Fed-Ex delivery people, mostly thanks to Amazon Prime. Even worse? I have a wonderful step-mom, so this holiday is twice as hard- two women who deserve the world, and who have completely different tastes. What’s a near-broke 20-something year old girl-woman to do?

This year, I’ve really done my research. Check out my Mother’s Day 2017 Gift Guide for every type of mom!


For the mom who cherishes family photos

Framebridge was my go-to for this Mother’s Day – I’m truly impressed by the quality of the photos + frames for the price. I ordered 2 Instagram Minis – 1 for each mom – and they were only $39 each! There’s a pretty large selection of frames, and they’re all so beautiful! Weather your mom would prefer a single photo or a gallery wall, she’ll be hanging this one on the wall as soon as possible. The frames I ordered were the Laurel and the Camden but like I said, there’s a ton more to choose from.

Framebridge is actually giving my readers a discount to celebrate their mamas! 15% off when you use code laughingblonde15 at checkout 🙂




Framebridge Instagram Mini – $39

For the mom who loves something pretty (and thoughtful!)

As soon as I saw the Lemon Krate curated boxes, I fell in love. I first saw them featured on Lauren Conrad’s The Little Market Instagram feed a few months ago, and immediatley began following them. Their Instagram is full of amazing gifts that have me legit finding any excuse I can to give one to someone I know! My two favorites for this Mother’s Day feature Little Market candles, Elderflower + Rose lemonade, pink macaroons, cocktail kits for a long flight, lotions, etc. I seriously can’t wait to give this to my mama, I know she’s going to love it! Part of magic of these Krates are how beautifully they’re packaged. I’ve actually spoken to Lisa, one of the founders of LK, who says, “Our goal for this was to offer pre-curated Krates for all types and ages of mamas! We always match a nice paper with the Krate so that from box to product, they are having fun and enjoying opening!” Because the Krates are custom, pricing can range from $50-$200 – and they make Krates for tons of other things besides Mother’s Day, so they’re really willing to work with your budget to get you what you’re looking for.

unnamed (2)

unnamed

unnamed (1)

Lemon Krate: $50-$200    Instagram:@lemonkrategifts

For the mom who deserves a new piece of jewelry

How perfect is this handwriting bracelet!! Sadly, I didn’t even know these existed until last week when my best friend ordered the manly version for her boyfriend and sent me the link. I immediately became obsessed and had to have one made for not only my mom, but for me as well! For $31, I’ll always have a little piece of my mama with me.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.32.24 PM.png

IMEsilver Etsy Shop – $31

For the mom who loves a good sassy phone case.. or wall art!

I fell in love with Verrier Handcrafted a few years ago when I discovered them at Chelsea Markets. I’ve had my fabulous wall-art displayed in my living room for almost 2 years now, and never have someone in my apartment for longer than 10 minute without them complimenting it. I showed my mom and within 2 weeks, she’d ordered at least 8 prints for herself! Her most recent purchase was the “Swear On My Chanel” phone case – too cute for words!

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.38.46 PMScreen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.39.36 PM

Verrier Handcrafted $35 – $100

For the mom who loves a delicious smelling candle

I consider myself a candle connoisseur, and I just so happened to have found my new favorite candle at the Anthropology that opened up in my office building earlier this month. My go-to scents would be the Panjore Lychee and Goji Toracco Orange. Made in the USA and have 100 hours of continuous burn time? Go get yours asap!

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.43.34 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 10.43.47 PM.png

Voluspa Cut Glass Jar Candle – $26

For the mom who loves to host

Crate&Barrel has this insanely cute Ice Mold/ Wine Bottle Chiller that will look fab on every table for girls night. And tbh, this is probably the only thing I can afford at Crate that my mom would like, so it’s hard to pass up..

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 8.23.13 PM.png

Crate&Barrel Wine Bottle Chiller -$39

For the sentimental mom

A book filled with all the things you love about your mom. Cue the tears, and make sure you bring a pack of tissues with you for when she opens this emotional terrorist of a present …

Francesca’s What I Love About Mom Book – $18

 

For the mom who’s in the market for new skin care

Fresh-scented and affordable, the perfect combo. The Body Wash Infused Buffers last for 30+ uses and are fantastic for exfoliation and boosting circulation. The body lotion is enriched with Vitamin E, Macadamia Oil, Shea Butter and tons of other ingredients that will leave your mama’s skin smooth and hydrated. Not only are they great for you and your mom, but they’re vegan friendly and cruelty-free, so they’re helping all of our furry friends as well!

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 8.15.29 PM.png

Spongelle’s Bulgarian Rose Box Duo Set – $45

 

Your Life, as Told by Golden Girls Quotes

 

When your friends are roasting you in the group text:

group text

When your ex sends you the “hey, u up?” text at 2am. Boy, BYE.

exbf

When you’re thinking about how broke you are:

old is expensive

When you’re complaining about your latest Bumble guy to your best friend:

bumble compaining

When you really stop and think about the state of your life

uncomfortable laugh.gif

When you see your bf comments on another girl’s Insta and your bestie asks what you’re gonna do about it:

ice cream fle

When you’re PMSing:

PMSing

And then when it finally happens:

better late than.gif

When you say you’re only having 2 drinks but end up having 8:

drunk home

When your boyfriend asks you what’s wrong and you know you’re being irrational:

needy

When your doctor tells you that you should probably eat less ice cream and more broccoli:

doctor

Sprucing Up Your Spring Style on a Budget

I never thought I’d miss the days when my mom would pick out my outfit for the next day before bedtime, no matter how many times I would tell her I hated that purple corduroy overall dress – btw, she didn’t care what I had to say about it #zerof*cks. At the time, my 7 year old self despised being a poster child for Talbot Kids. I preferred Limited Too and Abercrombie #AFforLife ❤ ❤

Now that I’m 24 and an adult, I’m constantly sending her selfies of my outfits for her approval. Not that I can’t throw outfits together myself, but because I’ve been in the workforce for three years now, and I still have no clue WTF “business casual” is defined as. It’s such an ambiguous term, and I’ve found that everyone has different definitions for it. Some companies say that as long as you don’t show up in gym attire, you’re good. Some would prefer dresses or tailored pants, but not necessarily suits. Who knows what’s going on here?!

With that said, I’ve put together a handful of pieces to have in your closet as a go-to for the majority* of business-casual friendly offices this Spring. I’m also gonna do you a solid and respect the fact that like me, you might find yourself on a lil bit of a budget. Happy shopping!


Tops

LOFT Sleeveless Floral // LOFT Yellow Blouse // LOFT White Blouse // LOFT White Bell-Sleeve Blouse // LOFT Red Floral Blouse // Nordstroms Blue Flutter Sleeve Blouse // Nordstroms Red Wrap Top // GAP Fitted Denim Boyfriend Button Down // GAP Linen Popover Tunic


Dresses

Nordstroms Cobalt Blue Dress // GAP Pink Belted Fit + Flare Dress // Nordstroms Blue Fit + Flare Dress // GAP Floral Long Sleeve Dress // GAP Chambray Fit + Flare Dress // GAP White Tie Belt Dress // GAP Pink Midi Tank Dress // Old Navy Green Swing Dress // J. Crew Printed Short Sleeve Dress


Bottoms

LOFT Striped Bow Shorts // LOFT Pleated Skirt // LOFT Pencil Skirt // GAP Pink Slacks // GAP Skinny Jeans // GAP Eyelet Skirt // Old Navy Floral Skirt // Old Navy Mint Slacks // Old Navy Leafy Slacks


Shoes

Grey J. Crew Loafers // Red + Gold J. Crew Flats // Leopard Print J. Crew Loafers // Blush Old Navy Flats // Silver Nine West Oxfords // Black J. Crew Pumps // Beige Jessica Simpson Sandals // Camel Old Navy Peep-toe Booties

 

Go out there and slay, queens.

xo, AJ

BootayBag: The Ultimate Subscription

Lately I’ve been looking into different ways to interact with my community and give back to the world, even if it’s by doing something small. There’s so many worthy causes, that I sometimes get overwhelmed by where to turn. I know, I know, #FirstWorldProbs, right?

I kept seeing BootayBag posts allll over the place on Instagram. Literally, in any given insta sesh, I’d come across at least 5 posts with a photo that included cute undies and the “Hey Babe” bag. V cute. Not gonna lie, that’s initially what caught my eye. So I clicked on someone’s bio link to learn more about it, and ended up really liking what I saw.

how it works.PNG

For $12 a month (+ free shipping!) you get two new parents of underwear- you choose the style – sent to you. That’s actually the same as Victoria’s Secret but without the annoying salespeople and Angel posters where you see Adriana and Gigi silently judging you! Anyways, for the $12, you get 2 pair of cute undies, and you end up giving back!

what kind

bbag

Per their website: “BootayBag is a philanthropic based company through our subscribers support! Whenever someone posts a picture with the hashtag #undermatters on social media, BootayBag donates $1 to the Melanoma Foundation! We want to raise awareness that everyone has their own battle, but that does not mean you have to fight alone!”

So there it is ladies- look good + feel good. What could be better? Click here to order your first pair now! BootayBag Subscription – don’t forget to post a selfie and hashtag #undermatters !

Do you have any other services that you use that also give back? Let me know! I’d love to check them out and possibly feature them 🙂

xo, AJ

5 Secrets to a Great Night’s Sleep

I’m about to let you in on a little secret. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but it’s my reality, and I’m all about trying to be real with you guys, so here it is. There’s literally not been one weekday morning where I wake up and don’t lay in bed for 5 minutes thinking about calling in sick.

Ok, so that’s not that big of a secret because tbh, I know you all do it too. You can lie and shake your head no and be like, “omg me? I could never do that!!” But we all know you’re lying, so save it, sister. Just accept it and own it and know you’re not alone.

It’s not that I don’t like my job – I do! And honestly, the only reason I never actually do it is because I’m too terrified of the workload that would pile up for the day that I’m out. Not to pat myself on the back or say I’m special or anything, but the place would fall apart without me  (lol kidding, mostly.) I just really am terrified of coming back into the office with 193 unread emails. You know the classic dad joke, “I need a vacation from this vacation”? That’d be me – I’d need a legit sick day from taking a “sick” day.

BOO_YOU_WHORE

Part of this stems from the fact that I’m 24 and I still sometimes sit there and think, “lol ok guys, we get it, adults have jobs and bills and stuff but like, I’ve proved I can do it so when can I stop now??” But most of this stems from the fact that there’s no way in hell that I get enough sleep. And it’s not because I’m soo0o0 busy. Nope, it’s because I plan to go to bed around 10pm, and then I whisper to Netflix, “just one more episode.” Before I know it, I’m three episodes deep, I’ve re-painted my nails, organized my closet and started creeping my little brother’s ex-girlfriends new boyfriend on insta (I’m not impressed by him at all, if you’re curious). It’s sad how little willpower that I have. Also, This Is US on NBC controls my life now, and my schedule revolves around watching that show whenever I feel like I’m ready to cry. (Pro tip: If you’re not watching This Is US, you’re doing life wrong, and you should re-think your choices.)

I’m not here to be your mom and tell you to go to bed early so you can get 8 hours of sleep. That would make me a huge hypocrite. Instead, I’m here with 5 ways to work with the amount of sleep you’re currently getting and adding in a few tips + tricks to optimize the energy you have!

1) Make sure that your bedroom is set up as comfortably as possible.

I need my room practically pitch black and cool when I’m trying to sleep. I will never understand the people who can sleep in sweatshirts with 3 different blankets on top of them. That’s Satan’s way, IMHO, and I’m sorta judging you. Also, I’m about to hit you with some science. Your body temperature rises up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re sleeping, which is why if you do fall asleep with a sweatshirt on for some ungodly reason, you usually wake up at 2am sweating like a whore in church. I did a bunch of Googling for this (v. reliable info), and found that the ideal temperature for your room while you’re sleeping is between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. Some other lil fun tips to throw in there – I keep a large standing fan on all night. The white noise is good for blocking out the obnoxious sounds my neighbors make when they decide to smoke up on a random Tuesday at 2am (it’s a work night, damnit!). I also love having my room as dark as possible. I’ve started putting wearing a sleep mask at night so it blocks out all the light that comes in through my curtains and it’s been a freaking game-changer. Phina’s Place has a few different ones on sale, but I’m obsessed with this one here, because it’s so freaking chic and glam. This lady looks like a boss!

mask

tumblr_nn8g5hnQ7K1t6lixeo1_500

2) Get some protein in you, ASAP.

I know that we’ve been told our whole lives that breakfast is the most important meal of the time, and I don’t disagree. But the breakfasts that I’ve been having the last 24 years aren’t cutting it. Protein is actually the best thing you can eat in the morning, because it gives you tons of energy and keeps your body moving + alert. If you’re a chef then by all means, whip up something super fancy for yourself. If you’re like me and you legitimately haven’t cooked yourself a meal since 2013, then either suck it up and snack on a couple pieces of deli-sliced turkey, or splurge on a protein pack from Starbucks. I really like those (yaaas give me all the snacks), but they’re not that cheap and if you’re buying them on the daily, it adds up. The takeaway here: protein is your friend. Eat it , often.

protein-breakfast

3) Get some sort of exercise during the day.

You know how parents with little kids always talk about how much they love when their mini terror runs around all day with energy that you could never dream of? The reason they love it so much is because of what every single one of them follows up with: “they’re going to sleep like a pro tonight!” Truer words have never been spoken, friends. Think about every time where you have a really active day – you go home and pass tf out into a sleep so deep, you’re actually worried you wouldn’t wake up for a fire alarm. That’s because your body is soaking up the time it has to replenish. Even if you can’t exercise every day, make a point to get up and move around once an hour. I read that somewhere once and in the interest of full disclosure, I have no idea if that works or not. But it can’t hurt, ya know? PS.. If you need some motivation, check out my 3 Ways to Get Motivated for the Gym post, or my Best Cardio Playlist Ever post!

IMG_3612

4) Don’t you dare hit that snooze button.

You, me, Beyonce and the pope are all guilty of hitting the snooze button once in a while. Apparently that’s like, a really bad thing to do. I’m v. interested in why the world hates me enough to try and take away the one thing I value in the morning, so I did some research. Thankfully, the nice people at Brown University summed it up pretty well.

“The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in. When that buzzer goes off a second time, Pelayo says that your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in that The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go bagroggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you actually spent extra time in bed.”

Moral of the story? Stop being a bum and get up and get going.

il_340x270.990237126_8sqp

d1e942b0902238398cb12b65ba08ade0106937a08d9f47d5f354383375ca9363

5) Cave in to the caffeine.

Science is nice or whatever, but you’re not able to tell me I shouldn’t be having caffeine. I don’t care if it stunts my growth or causes an addiction. Whatever keeps me from falling asleep in a meeting with my boss and getting fired is OK by me. Weirdly enough, I actually hate coffee so I need to get my caffeine fix elsewhere. (Pro tip: Go to Starbucks and order a Dirty Chai. It’s a Chai Tea Latte that they pour a couple of espresso shots into. You can’t taste it, but you still get the caffeine jolt coursing in those veins. Ahhh, Starbs. My first love <3.)

Also, get yourself a cute mug, one that’ll make alllll the other mugs jealous. Mine is perfect and you can get it from Phina’s Place.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 11.12.56 PM.png

Do you have any other tips + tricks to handle insufficient sleep? Let me know about them!

xo, AJ


Where To Buy:

Sequin Eye Mask: Phina’s Place, $24

Eyelashes + Lips Mug: Phina’s Place, $14

The Best Cardio Playlist You’ll Ever Download

Happy Monday! This post will be short, sweet and too the point because uhm, it’s Monday, and I know you need all the time you can get to answer the emails you ignored Friday when you left the office and little earlier than you should’ve… I won’t tell.

One thing you should know about me is that when I commit, I commit. Therefore, I have gifted you with a freaking fabulous cardio workout playlist that will get you movin’ and groovin’ those weekend brunch calories right off! I’m no slacker, and I have a self-proclaimed fantastic taste in music (despite what my mother thinks). This 60-song list is packed with upbeat popular classics, with a few throwbacks to the middle-school days, and a few throw-WAY-backs to your mom’s middle school days.

Pro tip: Even if you don’t think you’ll make it to the gym today, throw this playlist on anyway. If your third cup of coffee just isn’t cutting it, these songs will get you feeling energized and ready to take on the day!

Here Comes the Bridesmaid…

* There are links to buy all of the products mentioned at the bottom of this post. For more info, please visit Jade Taylor Market

Ahhhh, March. This month is confusing af. One day it’s 70 degrees and you’re sweating on the subway and you wanna toss your Canada goose jacket into the next trashcan you see. The next day, it’s blizzarding and you didn’t check the weather before you left and now you’re running 20 minutes late and there’s just not enough time to go back upstairs to your apartment and change out of your peep-toe heels so now everyone on the subway is judging your life decisions. NYC is so fun!!!

March is also the super fun time when I check my mailbox and 47 save-the-dates and wedding invites fall out of my mailbox (probably because I only check my mail once every two months – it’s 2017 and automated online billing is a thing so why else would I check my mail??). Anyway, this month is the beginning of Wedding Szn, aka the annual reminder of how not-married you are and also a fun time to re-think those shoes you were about to splurge on because hey! Brittany + Josh invited you to their wedding and you need to be able to buy them that blender from their registry that they’ll prob use a total of 14 times during their marriage. But you’re a #goodfriend, so you sadly close out the Nordstroms app, and say so-long to the shopping cart that once held your dreams…

Anyways, my point is WAKE UP LADIES – it’s wedding season, and you need all the energy for this you can muster. Like I said, you’re a #goodfriend, so the chances of you being a bridesmaid in at least one wedding this year are pretty high. There are the engagement parties, the bridal showers, the bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinners, the actual wedding and the super trendy post-wedding brunches that you need to prepare for. If you’re anything like me, you work at a job that you love (lolz) but that doesn’t quite cover the cost of buying 7 blenders per year, especially when none of them are for you. PS – I’m kinda kidding, but only about the job part (because I do like my job). I was not kidding about not being able to afford these pricey af blenders that everyone asks for and nobody uses.

In fact, I work for The Knot, so I know a thing or two about weddings. I know alllll about the different kinds of blenders on the market, so HMU if you need some advice. All of this is why I partnered with Jade Taylor Market. They offer these incredibly beautiful wedding boxes that I’m OBSESSED with! I especially like them because there’s three different kinds – there’s the  Bride gift boxes, the Bridesmaid gift boxes and then there’s a Build-a-box feature where you can curate your own unique box! I tested out some of the products included to be sure that the ladies of my life would be happy receiving them, and I wasn’t disappointed. Full disclosure, Jade sent me these products to test out and review for you guys, but I wouldn’t be posting it I wasn’t seriously happy with the product – bible!!! I’ve reviewed the products that I actually tried for myself later on in this post, but I’ve included descriptions of each box here:

jtm-box

  • Bride Boxes: There are 4 Bride boxes, ranging in price from $46 (the petite wedding planning box) to $115 (the deluxe bride-to-be box).
    • The wedding planning box helps brides celebrate with the cutest products! There’s a gorgeous kimono-style robe, a stemless champagne flute, a gourmet bath bomb, to-do wedding planning checklist (crucial!), a soy glass candle, and sea salt caramels (so. good.)
    • The bride-to-be box includes everything from the wedding planning box, as well as an adorable “cheers” gold bottle opener – perfect for popping the bubbly with your girlfriends to celebrate!
  • Bridesmaid Boxes: There are 4 of these fab boxes as well, you lucky ducks! These ones range from $30-$115, and have the best goodies! If Brittany is really your friend, she’ll love you and buy you one because you’re putting up with her being a bridezilla so you srsly deserve this. The products in this box are similar to the ones in the Bride boxes, but the robes have a different pattern (because the bride is special, obv) and the bathbombs are different (although, the bridesmaid bath bombs are named Unicorn Gourmet Bath Bomb, so who’s the real winner here??).
  • Build-Your-Own Box: This one is probably my favorite, because you can customize it with exactly what you’d like it to include.
    • You can choose your own packaging, which I love because if your rent is due and you’re broke, you can opt for the $5 box instead of the $13 dollar box and still pay your bills but be a #goodfriend and have chic packaging at the same time.
    • From there, you can choose whichever products you want to include in the box, so you can either ball-out and splurge because this is your bestie we’re talking about and she deserves it! Or you can be more conservative and add a few things but still keep the cost down. It’s perfect!
    • The last step is adding an optional card to the order. If you’re the bride and you want to propose to your ladies, there’s a card for that! Proposing to your bridesmaids is so on-trend right now, and Jade Taylor Market boxes have you covered from every angle! Even if your bridesmaid is in six other weddings this summer and kinda wants to say no, she’ll feel too guilty once she opens this box. It’s kinda like if a guy that you were like, “ehh I like you enough to hang out with you but not enough to want to spend the next 65 years with you” got down on one knee and you were gonnato say no but the ring is too nice so you say yes?? I’M KIDDING. Mostly.

planning-box

planningbox1

bridesmaid-box

bridesmaidbox1

Product Reviews

Ok so now you know what they offer, but like, do you really want to spend your happy hour drink money on this? The answer is yes. Go find a retired frat star to buy your 2nd cosmo and go splurge a little on your friend. I tried out a couple of their products so I would know if it was worthy, and turns out it actually is! Check out my two favorites here:

  • Unicorn Dreamer Gourmet Bath BombThis Willow & Honey bath bomb says it’s scented with guava, but I personally think it smells like a more fruity version of the Mr. Bubbles bubble bath you had as a kid. Which is probably the biggest compliment that I could think of, because that’s one of my favorite smells ever and don’t tell anyone but I actually still use it and have a huge tub of it under my bathroom sink rn (I feel you judging me. You can stop now.) Anyways, winter has been a real bitch on my skin. I’m always feeling dried out and my skin looks flaky, no matter how much moisturize I use (curse you, sensitive skin!!), but I soaked with this bad boy for about 25 minutes and actually felt so much better afterwards! I don’t know if that’s something that was supposed to happen with this product, but it certainly had that affect on me, and I’m not complaining.
  • Baltic Amber Candle: I’m actually obsessed with candles. I legitimately have not gone into a Target without leaving with a new candle in my entire life. I have at least 25 floating around my apartment – it’s actually dumb how many there are. So clearly I was more than thrilled that this Baltic Amber scent (one which I shockingly have not had in my collection before) showed up in my box. A self-described candle connoisseur, I think I’m a pretty good judge of the stuff. Anyways, I used this when I had a few girlfriends over to my apartment last week, and two of the three of them instantly commented on it the second they walked through my front door. They got all happy-faced and were all, “mmm what’s that smell??” MY NEW CANDLE BITCHES, THAT’S WHAT! It’s honestly kind of hard to explain the exact smell- just to prove to you that I’m not exaggerating, here’s the descriptions on the Jade Taylor Market website: “The amber candle has notes of vanilla, sandalwood and musk combined with citrus, lavendar and jasmine. Fragrance is infused with orange, lavandin, coaiba, basalm, lemon and grapefruit essential oils.” See? Wasn’t kidding.

Honestly, I’m not writing this because I was paid to (I actually wasn’t paid – I did get a few products for free though), or because I work for The Knot. I wrote this because I genuinely like the products. From the second you get the package and see the clean white box wrapped in the pretty pink ribbon, you just get a little feeling of excitement for this fun thing you’re about to open! The idea of the boxes is to gift your favorite bride or bridesmaids, but don’t forget- you can treat yourself, too! The price points are super reasonable ($7 for the bath bomb, $18 for the candle), so if by some miracle you were blessed with not having to gift-give to 58 brides this year, get something for yourself! Have some #MeTime, and take a much-needed break from your crazy-ass schedule and relax. You deserve it!

xo, AJ


Where To Buy:

Link to buy: Baltic Amber Candle

Link to buy: Unicorn Dreamer Bath Bomb

Link to buy: Bride Boxes

Link to buy: Bridesmaid Boxes

Link to Buy: Custom Curated Box