Tips for Getting and Staying Organized

Story time!

When I was younger, I was the least organized person of all time. I liked the idea of being organized (in the way that I would be pumped about going to Staples every August to get new school supplies – a binder and folder for every class, DUH), but I would never stay that way for long. Pretty soon after the school year started, I’d be shoving everything into one folder, my homework (if I even did it) would be crumpled up at the bottom of my backpack, and my once meticulously detailed planner would have weeks on end of no entries. It wasn’t just school – my home life was just as bad. My mom can attest to the fact that my room was a DISASTER area. It would get so bad that she’d give me one last warning of, “you better clean your room or I’m going through it with a garbage bag and whatever’s left on the floor is getting thrown out.” AND SHE ACTUALLY DID IT. TWICE. That woman was not playing games. Which is why I’m still bitter that my brothers are SLOBS and have zero repercussions. UGH.

Somewhere between high school and post-grad life, I became mildly obsessed with organizing. I love living by myself, because it means that I’m in total control of what my apartment looks like. And I LOVE a good list – bonus points if it’s color coded. That said, there are some really helpful tips I’ve come across that I wanted to share with you guys. I hope they help!


Tips for Staying Organized

 

Calendar Organization

Color coding your calendar and actual using it is GOLD, my friends. I recently started a new job, and I took about two hours to focus on my Google Calendar and create a bunch of mini calendars within it to organize my life. I have one for work-related things, one for blogging, one for working out, one for appointments, one for plans with my friends… the list goes on on and on. They’re all color coded, and all in once place. The reason I use my work account is because it’s always up on my desktop, so I can see everything I have planned out at a glance. No switching back and forth between several accounts – it’s all in a single location. SO easy!

 

 

To-Do Lists

Ok this seems really obvious, but I was recently floored to find out how many of my friends don’t actually make to-do lists. I live and die by mine! I actually get legit happy when I can cross something off that list. I feel so good about myself. Instead of writing it down on paper (which is what I used to do), I started using the Notes feature on my Mac. I can easily create new lists for different things such as ingredients I need to pick up from the Grocery store, reports I need to put together for clients, blog posts that I want to write out for the next month…. the limit does not exist! Don’t try to rely on your memory for the things you want to get done. If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget in 5 minutes and then spend the next 2 days trying to remember wtf you were so amped to get done in the first place.

 

De-clutter Your Work Space

You know what’s really unnecessary? Having 15 photos of you and your friends and/or family on your desk at work, especially when you share that desk with someone else. It’s also necessary to have a ton of knickknacks in your work area. Why? Because it’s distracting and looks messy. At my old job, I was 100% guilty of this. I had photos taped to my monitors, post it notes hanging off of them, an entire jar of pens (even though I only used 1), a candy jar, and a plant all hanging out with me. Even though I had a person on either side of me sharing the desk space. WHAT. EVEN. I also had a large + spacious 3 drawer filing cabinet that was filled with everything but files. The top drawer was packed with random crap like lotion, chotchkis, cards, flash cards that I never used ONCE. The second drawer was filled with snack (ok, this is important). The last drawer was filled with all the “in case of emergency” stuff. To be fair, this was somewhat practical when working with all girls, because someone always needed something. But at one point, I had 4 cans of dry shampoo, a full makeup kit, brushes, hair spray, lotion, self tanner, mints, floss, tissues… it was ridiculous.

At my new job, I have a far less cluttered space. I have a single larger monitor + laptop, a small (fake) succulent from TjMaxx, my water bottle and my phone on my desk. In my filing cabinet, I have snacks in the first drawer, a few beauty necessities in the second drawer, and a completely bare third drawer. Seriously, it’s empty. And I feel lighter.

 

Consistently Clean Out Your Closets and Cabinets

I’m 100% not exaggerating when I say that I clean out my closets at least twice a month… sometimes even once a week. I feel SO accomplished whenever I do it, and I always get rid of a pile of useless things that for some reason, I thought I should hold on to the last 10 times I cleaned it out. There’s nothing worse than trying to find something and not being able to because it’s buried in a pile of your unorganized crap. Using bins to store things by category will keep your closets need + tidy, and even create additional space for you to store the rest of the stuff you don’t need in it. Hoarding… we all do it.

 

Don’t Go to Bed With a Messy Apartment

The easiest way to for messes to accumulate is to not take care of them in a timely manner. We’ve all been there – you just can’t figure out what to wear to work, so you try on 8 different outfit combos and then run out of time to put it away before you have to run to the subway. Then by the time you get home, you’re exhausted from work/going out to happy hour/getting in a sweat session at the gym, so you peel off your clothes, toss your shoes and bag to the side, hop in the shower and or/make yourself some food. It’s so easy to just leave the mess that’s accumulated during the day and say you’ll get to it tomorrow. THAT IS A TRAP. Because tomorrow, the cycle will repeat. And the mess will grow. And you will hate yourself for it. Personally, I have anxiety thinking about going to bed with my room a mess. I just can’t do it. I’ll drag myself out of bed if I know the dirty dishes are sitting in the sink, or that I have a pile of clothes on my couch and floor that I could put away. Just do your future self a favor and spend the 10 minutes (max) it will take to clean up. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll wake up to a clean, refreshing space.

*PRO TIP: Make your bed. EVERY morning. Just do it.

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What are some of your best tips for staying organized? Comment below or send me a DM! xo, AJ

Instagram Worthy Swimsuits For Summer 2018

Can you feel that?? It almost feels like…. warm weather…

TBH, I sometimes feel afraid to blink because I’m nervous that the weather will go back to being hideous, and I just can’t take that for another minute. Not that I’m a huge fan of summer – I actually really dislike when it gets really hot, because who tf enjoys being sweaty for no reason?? I’m just trying to get to work, and I end up looking like I finished running a 10k. Nooo thank you. But with warmer weather comes bathing suit szn, and I personally love a cute suit that I can wear anywhere. Whether I’m desperately trying to get a hint of vitamin D on someone’s rooftop, laying out at my parent’s house, or pretending I’m boujee af on a sailboat in the Hamptons (to be clear, that happens maybe once a year for me… unfortunately for me, I dream of a Kardashian lifestyle on a Lindsay Lohan circa 2013 budget).

I’ve been browsing all of my favorite sites, and I’ve put together a roundup of my favorite suits! Take a peak below and let me know what you love (or don’t!), and which ones you totally think I should treat myself to. Who’s ready to rock these suits and slaayyyy Instagram with me?! Summer 2018, we’re ready!

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  1. Shein: Flower Print Bandeu Bikini Set, $12    2. Shein: Striped Straps High Leg Bikini Set, $12   3. Shein: Knot Front Striped Bikini Set, $11   4. Shein: Criss Cross Cut Front High Waist Bikini Set, $11   5. Shein: Striped Ruched Detail Bikini Set, $12   6. Shein: Calico Print Criss Cross Swimsuit, $12   7. Shein: Block Striped Low Back Swimsuit, $12   8. Swimsuits For All: GabiFresh x Swimsuits For All Carousel Bikini, $71.40   9. Target: Women’s Strappy Back One Piece, $29.99   10. Target: Women’s Ruffle Edge Midkini, $22.99   11. Target: Women’s Lace-Up Scoop Back One Piece, $29.99   12. Target: Sea Angel Women’s Gingham One Shoulder Ruffle Bikini, $24.99

Here’s What You Need To Know Before Trying Pole Fitness

Soooo I did a thing.

A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to do something really fun with my mom. I’m mildly obsessed with her, actually. She likes to say that if I could, I’d probably try to crawl back into her womb. I’m such a weirdo that when I go back to Connecticut for the weekend, I get legitimately offended when she doesn’t devote all of her time to hanging out with me. I’ll legit force her to let me go out to dinner with her and her friends. Luckily for her, I’m not a regular daughter, I’m a cool daughter. I can totes hang with the ladies and be one of the gang. Aside from the impending menopause and endless complaining about my husband (single, party of me!), I fit in rather seamlessly.

So when I asked her to block off her Saturday to spend time with me for a surprise afternoon, she happily agreed. She kept asking what we were doing, but I’m not an idiot. I was fully aware that if I told her, there was no way in hell I’d get her to actually go with me. Guys, I wish you could’ve seen the look on her face as we got closer to the studio. First of all, the studio is in Meriden, which is about a 25 minute drive from where we live. Once we got off the exit, she was immediately suspicious. Within five minutes we had passed two adult stores and a strip club. Then we pulled into the parking lot of the shopping center where the studio is located, and she was still clueless. I finally told her we were going to a pole dancing class at The Girl Spot and I swear to you, I almost died from laughing when I saw her face. If looks could kill, I’d have been as good as gone. TBH, I’m shocked I actually got her to go in the studio after that. But we were already there and I had already paid, so there was no turning back…

When you start off in pole fitness, most studios will make you take a beginners class. There’s no hanging upside down or crazy stunts during your first time. Trust me, you wouldn’t be able to do them anyway. They’re WAY harder than they look. By the grace of God, my mom and I were the only two people taking the beginner class that day, so we had 1 on 1 attention the whole time. We had an AMAZING instructor. Somehow, someway, she managed to get my mom to actually enjoy what she was doing!

The class starts off with a warmup. There’s a ton of stretching involved, because you should be nice and loosey goosey before trying any pole tricks. There’s also some conditioning. Trust me, you want to be as strong as possible for any of the tricks involved. You should be prepared to do pushups, situps, planks and lunges. No questions – you will 100% be breaking a sweat during this. After the warmups are complete, you’re ready for your first move! Ours wasn’t on the pole… yet. Our teacher demonstrated the floorwork for this particular move a handful of times, and then had us show her ourselves, where she then corrected and applauded us. The entire experience is truly freeing, and totally positive. You never feel like you’re being criticized, just encouraged.

Once that was mastered, it was finally time to hit the pole! In just a half an hour, we learned a quick routine that, for lack of better words, made me feel sexy and feminine. I have never been so proud of my mom as when I saw her swing around the pole.. how bizarre does that sound?! She was so stinking cute and so proud of herself when she got it right, and I was so happy to see how confident she looked doing it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many mother daughter duos who could manage to complete a pole dancing class together, and look good doing it 😉

The aftermath was no joke. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so sore. Seriously, I’ve never been that sore from a workout before. For four days. Ugh. And be prepared, because you’re going to get bruised. I have no idea how, but my mom managed to get most of her bruises on her arms (something tells me she wasn’t doing something right), but mine were all on my legs (mostly my thighs) from holding onto the pole with my legs in a death grip lol. It was an ugly sight, I’ll tell you that much. Not too ugly, apparently, because we happily went back to our second class the following weekend. That one, my friends, was exponentially more challenging. If you ever want to feel like a weakling, I encourage you to try to climb a stripper pole with nothing but your body to get you up it. Who knew I had next to no muscles? I certainly didn’t. Forget trying to climb the pole, I could hardly hold myself up on it for longer than two seconds. I did, however, learn two new tricks that made me feel pretty badass, so there’s that.

Here’s the lesson in all of this: step out of your comfort zone. Just because you don’t think you’d like something or you don’t think you’d be good at something, that doesn’t make it true. You might find that you make some of the best memories out of something you never thought you’d do. I challenge you to make a plan right TODAY to do something you wouldn’t normally be comfortable with. If that’s pole dancing, then great! If it’s jumping out of a plane (with a parachute!), even better. Try to push yourself – you might just find that you actually love what you never thought you’d try. xo, AJ

The Worst Spice Girls Brunch Of All Time

I want to preface this entire post by saying that I don’t look at my blog as a giant Yelp review, but sometimes a review needs to be given. This is one of those times.

I’m writing this at the request of my girlfriends who were subjected to the Spice Girls themed brunch that was hosted at 5th & Mad this Saturday. Ladies, what would your reaction be if you were told that for $35, you could attend a themed Spice Girls brunch with your besties and would get unlimited Prosecco, an entre and dessert? If you’re not saying that you’d be willing to give up a few hours on a Saturday for that, we can’t be friends because you’re a liar and I’m not friends with liars. But I digress.

I was pumped when I came across an article in Time Out NYC about this because tbh, I’ve seen Spice World no less than 63 times and I swear that I missed my calling as a singer in a British girlband. I’d consider myself to be 3 parts Posh, 2 parts Baby and 1 part Sport – thanks for asking! I immediately group texted my girls and two of them got back to me and said they were SO in, because DUH. I also read in the article that we were encouraged to dress up. Thank G-d I didn’t because I would probs have died if I walked into the restaurant on Saturday afternoon and saw what was waiting for us…

A disaster. A disaster is what was waiting for us. 5th and Mad doesn’t open until noon on Saturdays, and our tickets were for the first wave – the brunchers that were to be seated at 12:15. I got there at 12:10 and quickly realized I was the first to arrive of literally anyone who’d be attending this, but whatever. My girlfriends got there and we were seated quickly because like I said, we were the only ones there….

Let me set the scene: There’s a large bar that wraps around the middle of the restaurant, and then booths all along the walls. Every 3rd or 5th stool at the bar had a random balloon tied to it (like the kind you’d see at a regular party, not a fancy kind). There was a DJ booth in the window with a cheap looking pink tablecloth draped over it, and then the booths had equally cheap purple tablecloths on them. There was old Spice Girls footage playing on the TV (with no sound). For reasons I cannot explain, music such as Ciara’s 1,2, Step and a song by Da Goddess were playing over the speakers. The DJ could not for the LIFE of him figure out a consistent volume. It was either seconds from shattering my eardrum, or barely audible. This would change every 45 seconds or – to keep us on our toes, I assume. We were there for 45 minutes before I even heard a single Spice Girls song play. 45 minutes. at a Spice Girls themed brunch. Let that sink in.

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The menus were an atrocity of their own. First of all, they were printed off on computer paper and for the food menu, the only relation that there was to Spice Girls was some poorly cropped clip art. It also had zero connection to the Spice Girls- they didn’t even name the dishes after popular songs, which would have been the CLEAR WAY TO GO. The selection was also confusing af. Not only was the only breakfast related food on the menu Chick & Waffles, but the selection also included Penne a la Vodka. Have you ever seen this on a brunch menu? Because I certainly have not. They did have a small drink menu to go in tandem with the food menu. Inexplicably, the drinks were named after songs and were priced at a ridiculous amount – $16 a piece. BUHBYE.

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So we were there for about 5 minutes before I had figurative steam coming out of my ears. First of all, it was embarrassing that I had dragged my friends here – luckily for me, they thought this whole thing was funny AF and kept saying that I had to write a blog post about it. So consider this my apology gift to them. Second of all, I couldn’t understand why there was basically no decor, no Spice Girls music playing, and why there was a single random drag queen who came out of nowhere dressed like Scary Spice and accosting the 15 or so attendees who had started to filter in. Any time she would talk, they would turn the music off. It was bizarre. As my friend said, “it’s like their B team is here and phoning it all in.” That’s EXACTLY what it was like. Actually, it almost seemed as though they’d never thrown a brunch before let alone a themed brunch… which I quickly learned from looking at their Yelp reviews is pretty much how anyone who’s been duped into attending one of these disasters has felt. Apparently at the Harry Potter themed one in December, they started playing a game of trivia that included questions from Lord of the Rings. Potter fans were PISSED.

The funniest part about all of this was watching people’s reactions when they first walked in. It was a mix of, “are we in the right place?” (can’t blame them, when there’s hardly any indication of Spice Girls anywhere), and, “should I just eat my $35 and go somewhere else?” (yes, yes you should). People were legit LAUGHING when they saw it all, and then they’d turn around and leave. I’m so happy my friends were there to keep me laughing, because I was so irritated. I’m usually really chill & go with the flow, but I was just so insulted my the lack of effort and poor execution of it all. It was even more infuriating to know that this place had dozens of reviews saying how bad the themed brunches were, and that the restaurant clearly has done NOTHING to improve them. We were there for an hour flat and not a minute more. We spent the next hour sitting in a Starbucks around the corner laughing our asses off and comparing reactions to what we’d just experienced.

My Advice for Themed Brunches

  • Check Yelp for reviews of the place before you buy your tickets
  • Make sure that you check to see the menu prices of the food – if their prices are way lower than the cost of your ticket, decide if the experience is worth the cost
  • Make your reservation for later in the day (I’m hoping that the experience got better as the afternoon went on, but I had zero interest in sticking around to find out).

Have you ever attended a themed brunch or party and had a bad experience? Or maybe you attended a great one and have details to share?! Comment or send me a DM – I’d love to hear about it! xo, AJ

Spring Looks For When It’s Still Chilly

Sooo are we all just going to pretend that it’s normal that we’re heading towards late April and it’s still 35-40 degrees out in New York? Because WHAT?! I did a shoot for spring two weeks ago and I, for one, find it rude af that Mother Nature had the audacity to give us one GORGEOUS day last week (I’m talking sunny and 75, people) and is now taking it back. I don’t appreciate it one bit. Nevertheless, I thought it might be good to share some of those spring looks anyways. Ya know, just in case we ever actually get the chance to de-frost ourselves in 2018.

First Look

Jumpsuit: Target – $29.99 (Wearing Size L)   Shoes: Target – $37.99

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Second Look

Jeans: Target – $27.99 (Wearing Size 10)   Boots: DSW – $79 (Other Colors Are On Sale!)  Jacket: Free People (This one’s an oldie, similar jacket linked here)  Top: Shein.com – On Sale for $7.00!!  (Wearing Size L)

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I’m hoping to shoot a bunch of dresses for you guys in the next few weeks – looks for any budget! There will be pieces from places like Target and Boohoo.com, and pieces from places like Alice & Olivia and Kate Spade. Everybody cross their fingers for me that I don’t get frostbite or something, because NO THANKS!

xo, AJ