Monthly Musings: July Highlights & Favorites

Can you believe how quickly July went?? It’s crazy! I won’t lie, I am getting excited for fall, but before I get too ahead of myself I wanted to take a look back on July!

Highlights from July

The 4th
My sister-in-law’s family owns a lake house and every 4th of July they host a picnic. They have kayaks and a paddle board to take out onto the water, plus this year was the second corn hole tournament (usually it’s horseshoes). It was a blast!

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Kayaking
Along with kayaking at the lake house on the 4th, we also went kayaking at a nearby state park! It was a beautiful day outside and being out on the lake was so peaceful. I honestly could have spent all day out there.

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Newport, Rhode Island
One of my favorite places and it’s only about an hour and twenty minutes from us! I got to eat at my favorite Newport restaurant, The Red Parrot, and tried a delicious s’mores donut at Liberty Donuts. We were only there for an afternoon, but I’m still glad to have been able to go!

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July Favorites

Music discoveries
Songs: Just Thought You Should Know by Betty Who, Mercy Me by Alkaline Trio, June by Tigers Jaw, Until the Night Turns by Lord Huron

 

TV show: Suits
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Summer sunsets
This was taken at the beginning of the month. Sunsets are my favorite especially in the summer because they make the sky look absolutely beautiful!

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We have a busy August coming up, but I can’t wait 🙂 What were highlights from your July??

My Preferred Methods of Exercise

I’ve never been into sports or exercise, and working out regularly has always been something I’ve struggled to make a part of my daily schedule. I’ll keep it up, go several times a week, but then after a while I’ll only go to the gym maybe once a week.

When I lost my job in December, my days and nights were wide open. Eventually, I found myself getting to the gym almost every day because sometimes, it was the only time I’d get out of the house. It felt good because I was beginning to see small progress. Ever since I started working again at the end of March, I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t fall back into my usual habit. It hasn’t been easy, but I just remind myself of that progress I’ve made and to keep getting to the gym so I continue to see more!

I’ve slowly been learning about what certain things do for your body, and that’s helped me gain a better understanding of what I personally want to accomplish and how I can get there. It took a long time, but now I’ve finally found the right methods of exercise that work for me:

Weight training – Over the last few years, Robby has taught me about the different muscle groups and what exercises will work out each one (though I still haven’t gotten them all down just yet). I like doing my arms and my back, two areas I really want to strengthen and tone. I’d say my least favorite areas to work out are chest and, let’s be real, legs. But I still make sure they get some attention!

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Favorite back strengthening exercises: Seated cable row, one-arm dumbbell row, lat pulldown, and assisted pull-up
Favorite arm strengthening exercises: Dumbbell curl, straight-arm pulldown, standing bicep cable curl, and front dumbbell raise

Running – I really, really dislike running, but I’ve been trying to run once a week (even though I find treadmills to be boring). In May, Robby and I began running outside again since the weather had started to warm up. We have a specific route we take that’s close to our apartment complex, and it’s somewhere between 1.5-2 miles. We started running a couple times a week, but lately it’s been tough because of how hot it’s been. I might have to turn back to the treadmill until it starts cooling down again in the evenings!

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It can be difficult to find the motivation and energy to run, but I believe some great music can really help! I put together an upbeat playlist of songs that already get me dancing in my seat, so you bet they help me power through my run (I’m working on a second playlist, but I’m still trying to get the right mix of songs):

  • Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now – Flo Rida feat. David Guetta
  • Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
  • Cake by the Ocean – DNCE
  • Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj
  • Cheerleader – OMI
  • Where Them Girls At – David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rid

Yoga – I take a class once a week, usually on Thursdays. I started doing yoga for multiple reasons: to help with my posture, gain flexibility, practice mindfulness, and help manage my anxiety. I’d love to eventually start going twice a week and then start practicing at home whenever I don’t go to the studio to really help with those goals!

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Favorite poses: downward dog, tree pose, warrior II, cat + cow, and triangle pose

What type of workouts do you like? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Musings: June Highlights & Favorites

Not only is it Saturday, but it’s also the last day of the month! I hope you all had a wonderful June and have a lot of fun summer plans for July 🙂

When I get excited about something, I want to share it with the whole world so I thought it’d be fun to look back on some highlights and favorites that came out of June. My plan moving forward is to make this a regular post at the end of each month, so I hope you enjoy!

June Highlights

Courtney’s wedding
I love weddings in general and attending your friend/wedding photographer’s big day is definitely special! As I already mentioned here, Courtney’s ceremony was held at Harkness Memorial State Park in a beautiful garden that offered an intimate atmosphere and a romantic setting. Cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing took place at the park’s mansion looking out onto a green lawn that stretched out to meet Long Island Sound.

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was the s’mores setup they had at night! I love s’mores so I definitely took advantage of that. I also had so much fun dancing with Robby and our friends and getting to celebrate a beautiful couple!

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A day with my parents
I live almost 2 hours away from my parents, and I know that really isn’t far, but it also doesn’t mean I see them all the time. A few weeks ago Robby and I went to visit them to celebrate my dad’s birthday and Father’s Day (they’re a week apart). We went out for lunch and ice cream and just hung out at the house, but it was nice! I officially moved out in 2014 after I graduated college, so between not living there anymore and just getting older, I definitely appreciate my time with them more.

June Favorites

Zaful bathing suit
I was struggling to find a new one-piece, but then I discovered Zaful! They’re an online company with a ton of cute clothes, including bathing suits that don’t cost an arm and a leg. A true miracle! They have a lot to choose from, which is great depending on the style of suit you want and if you prefer fun patterns or solids.

I went with this pink and white striped one-piece that gave me some major retro vibes (also, cue Paramore’s “Pool”). It’s fairly simple but still adorable and for me, not super revealing. I would definitely turn to Zaful again for other bathing suits!

Music discoveries
Two songs I discovered this month that were both released this year are “Valentine” by 5 Seconds of Summer and “MI Amore” by FRENSHIP. They’re both super catchy and are great to listen to in the car with the windows rolled down.

It came out in April, but I finally got around to listening to Post Malone’s album beerbongs & bentleys. One of the things I really like about it is that you get to see his different sides as an artist. I also discovered the album Life Screams by former Flyleaf front woman Lacey Sturm. I’m two years behind with this one, but I’m just glad to have found it (actually, a friend told me about it!) I love the range of songs and all of the energy and emotion throughout the whole album.

Breakfast place
Robby and I found our new favorite breakfast spot! It’s in our town, except on the opposite side from where our apartment is. Although it isn’t a café or a diner, which is what you might think of when you’re looking for a breakfast place, the inside is very open and has this old Victorian-style feel to it. When we went, I’d been craving French toast so I absolutely took it as an opportunity to get some – and it was delicious! I also got a side of hash browns because I can’t go out to breakfast without hash browns. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner so we want to try those as well; however, I’m really excited to go back for breakfast!

Netflix show
I literally just started watching this a few days ago, but my new favorite show right now is the Queer Eye reboot. I think it’s such a fun, uplifting show to watch at the end of a long day. I love the Fab Five and want to be friends with all of them, plus it warms your heart to see them help other people!

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Although July isn’t as busy as June was, I’m looking forward to the 4th, more time at the pool, and hopefully kayaking (finally)!

So Far in 2018

I can’t believe June has already come and gone! These last six months have been busy, stressful, and exciting, which probably explains why they went by so quickly! Although I’m ready to dive into the second half of the year, I wanted to take a quick look back on what’s happened so far in 2018:

I started a new job: As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, I started a new job at the end of March! It’s in an industry and field (travel and marketing) that I’ve never worked in before, so I’ve had a lot of learning to do. After realizing my last two jobs weren’t exactly the right path for me – even if leaving them wasn’t my idea – I’m glad to be working in a more creative environment in an industry that plays a role in my personal life as well!

I saw new places: Robby and I have traveled to several destinations this year, all within the U.S. In January, we went down to Miami for his sister’s wedding. Since we were on a schedule for most of our time there, I’d like to go back one day and do more exploring! The weekend after, we went up to Bretton Woods Ski Resort in New Hampshire for skiing and snowboarding. I’m still learning how to snowboard, but myself and two of the girls we were with decided to try skiing for the first time. I struggled. My legs were burning. And I couldn’t control my pizzas and my French fries. I think I’m going to try and get back on my board this winter, especially now that I’ve attempted to ski and feel like snowboarding might work out better for me this time around…

In April, we went to North Conway, NH! Robby was there in September for his bachelor party, but I’d never been before and had heard great things about it. Although the weather wasn’t the best, we explored Diana’s Baths, walked through some of the shops in town, and did some shopping at the outlets. We also had breakfast at this adorable café called Stairway Café, which I highly recommend to anyone who visits North Conway! I really want to go back when the weather is nicer, so maybe this summer??

We were supposed to go to Quebec over Memorial Day weekend with our friends, but long story short, we ended up going to Burlington, VT instead! My husband and I first visited last year and thought it was such a cute town. Our favorite place there is a café called Muddy Waters (I love cafes coffee shops – can’t you tell?), so we absolutely stopped there!

Although these visits have only been long weekend trips, it’s been really fun seeing (mostly) new places!

I took up yoga: If you read my post on my first yoga experience, you’ll know that I finally started taking classes back in March! I only say “finally” because for years my mom has suggested I try yoga, but I just never did. This year, I took the plunge! I only go once a week, but I’ve definitely seen progress since that first class and have a better understanding of the poses. I know there’s still a lot to learn and a lot to work on, however I’m excited to see how I improve!

What have you been up to in 2018?

Summer Wedding Attire: Fashion Inspiration

Last Saturday, my husband and I attended the wedding of our friend, Courtney, who was also our wedding photographer – how cool is that!? It was held at Eolia Mansion on the grounds of Harkness Memorial State Park in Connecticut.

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I wanted to share the outfits my husband and I wore to Courtney’s evening summer wedding. We had been informed to think “formal garden party” for the attire (the ceremony took place in a beautiful garden while cocktail hour, the reception, and dancing were held at the mansion inside and on the patio).

My Outfit

Dress

I found this pretty dress from one of my favorite stores, Francesca’s! I thought it was perfect for what Courtney described. The fabric wasn’t heavy and I could move around in it easily, which was great for dancing. Plus, I love dresses that flow – they’re so fun!

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Accessories

I didn’t go too crazy with jewelry. I chose my favorite pair of moonstone earrings that I got from Etsy and a ring I have from Pandora. The lip gloss I had on is from the Sweet Peach collection by Too Faced, and the shade is Tickle-Me-Peach (smells so good and is great for summer)!

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I rarely wear heels (I didn’t even wear them for our wedding), so I just went with this simple, neutral pair I have. Since my dress was long, I knew you wouldn’t see much of them anyway. Then I dug out this Steve Madden crossbody bag that I’ve had for years, but it’s still in good condition and is great purse for such occasions!

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My Husband’s Outfit

Now I may be biased, but he looked pretty darn handsome! He just bought a new suit from Brooks Brothers and wore the jacket to the wedding. Underneath, he had on a blue button-up, also from Brooks Brothers (that’s one of his favorite stores), and his pants were a pair of chinos from Men’s Wearhouse!

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Accessories

The shoes my husband wore are from another one of his favorite stores, Allen Edmonds, and they’re in the color Walnut. He also wore a reversible Vineyard Vines bow tie, which I thought really brought his outfit together!

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The wedding didn’t start until 5 p.m., but we were both comfortable in what we wore while it was still daylight and when the temperature started to drop as the sun went down. We had a wonderful time at Courtney’s wedding and wish her and her husband, Matthew, a lifetime of love!

Happy First Day of Summer!

It’s officially summertime! Not to be dramatic, but it felt like winter was going to last for all eternity, so I’m really excited to soak in some vitamin D! My husband and I have already been taking advantage of our apartment complex’s grilling areas, we’ve made a few trips to our favorite ice cream spot, and I bought myself a new bathing suit for pool and beach days.

To celebrate the first day of summer, I’d like to go through my favorite things about this season!

Cookouts and bonfires

For real though, who doesn’t enjoy a good cookout followed by a bonfire and s’mores!? I love hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit salad, pasta salad… all of it! And then having a bonfire while roasting marshmallows and making yummy s’mores makes for the perfect summer day! As I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have been using our complex’s grills for lunch or dinner, which has been awesome. It might not be an actual cookout, but I still love it!

My family’s annual vacation to the Jersey Shore

While not at all relevant to the TV show, my family has been vacationing down to Cape May, NJ for over 20 years. We used to go for a week in August, but that changed to July over the last few years! Cape May is a Victorian beach town with so many beautiful houses that can be rented out, which is what my family does. The beach has awesome waves that are great for body surfing and there are tons of shops! One year I even went parasailing, which I’d love to do again one of these days. I think one of the best things about these trips is not being on a schedule. A few things might be planned during the week, but other than that, you’re truly on vacation and can take your time. It’s perfect!

Pool and beach days

I don’t go to the beach too much, but it’s one of my favorite summer activities! Growing up along the shoreline in Connecticut and then those family trips to NJ are why I love the beach and the ocean. And then, of course, there’s always the option of hanging by the pool! When I was little, I always wanted a pool, and now I’m fortunate to live in a complex with a really nice one. I plan on going down there as much as possible this summer to get myself a nice tan. Plus, I can’t let that new suit go to waste!

Kayaking

I’ve been wanting to go kayaking for weeks now, but for whatever reason, it hasn’t happened yet! It will though J Last summer we found this lake about 15-20 minutes away where you can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. It was so peaceful venturing around the water and I’m excited to go back this year. Since we’re in Massachusetts, I also want to try kayaking on the Charles River. Not only is kayaking fun, but it’s a great workout, too!

My birthday

I’m a summer baby! My birthday is in August and I’ve always loved having a summer birthday. There’s just so many fun things you can do! Last year my husband and I spent a weekend in Newport, RI, one of my favorite places. We moseyed along the Cliff Walk, visited a few of the mansions, and ate at my favorite restaurant, The Red Parrot. In a few years when I turn 30 (crazy!) I’d LOVE to go to Australia! As long as we plan ahead and save, I don’t see why not!

What are your favorite things about summer? Let me know in the comments!

Six Months, Two Job Losses, and All the Time in the World

Hello, everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post, but a large reason for that is because I started a new job at the end of March! Between my new schedule, being tired at night from that schedule, and learning the ropes of my new role, I haven’t had much brain capacity for anything else.

I’m not here to talk about my new job, though. What I want to share with you are the things I got out of losing two different jobs in a matter of six months. Yes, you heard that correct. Can you say bad luck?

Last June, I was laid-off from a job after only being there for six months. I wasn’t the only one; the company let go a number of their employees, many of whom had worked there for five, ten, even fifteen years. It was a small family of friends and I met a lot of great people. The most stressful part of it for me was the fact that I was getting married in October.

I was fortunate enough to have only been unemployed for six weeks when I found a new job and started working again the first week of August. Guess I should have known it was too good to be true. Four months later, I was told that they were basically getting rid of my role and that come December 31st, I would no longer be employed there. I remember trying my absolute hardest to not a) Start laughing in their face as if they were playing a sick joke on me, and b) Begin hyperventilating at the thought of this happening again only a few months later.

This time, I was unemployed for three months. I know there are people who have gone much longer, and I am so sorry for that because I understand the boredom, the frustration, and the doubt that comes with it. I experienced these emotions and then some.

It’s also hard when you no longer have an income because you’re very limited to what you can do. Some days, the only time I left my apartment was to go to the gym. I watched way more TV than I would have liked, and since my days were uneventful, I wasn’t tired at night and would end up being awake until 3 a.m.

Being laid-off two times in the course of six months is basically unheard of and there were plenty of days when I felt completely worthless. However, the free time allowed me the opportunity to try new things as well as explore areas of my life.

Reasons why I benefited from being laid-off, twice:

  • It gave me a clearer understanding of what I want career-wise. This is something I’ve really struggled with and still struggle with. However, my second time job hunting pushed me to be a little more specific about what sort of job I wanted to land. I prefer a creative environment, something neither of those two previous jobs offered. I was also really interested in learning more about marketing, so I made sure to include that in my search.
  • I (finally) tried yoga. For years my mom has been saying I should do yoga to help with stress. After I sat down and realized yoga’s multiple benefits, along with stress relief, I found a nearby studio and signed up. I was concerned because it obviously wasn’t free, but my husband knew at that point my well-being was my #1 priority, and he also thought it’d be a good thing for me to try. I’m very glad I did because I enjoy every class I go to and I’m excited to keep improving and learning more.
  • I became more aware of my health and diet. I’ve always struggled with finding a healthy balance in exercising and what I eat. I wouldn’t say I’m a terrible eater, but I also never paid attention to what goes into my body. I am, however, terrible at sticking to a regular workout schedule. I’ll keep it up for a couple of months, then fall back to going once or twice a week. Having so much free time allowed me to go to the gym every day, and I was there just about every day. I also looked up new recipes to try while paying more attention to what’s good for your body. I’ve noticed some muscle gain and small differences in certain areas I’ve always wanted to improve. With a new job, I’m really trying to make sure I stick to a regular schedule while staying more mindful of what I eat (but I never pass up an opportunity for pizza!)
  • I gave more thought to this blog. While it was challenging to find something to write about since I wasn’t doing very much, I was able to put my energy blogging. I wasn’t posting all the time, but I was able to think about where I want to go with my blog, I came up with blog post ideas… heck, I’m still figuring it out. But I’m glad I could start understanding blogging a bit more so one day I can turn it into an occasional hobby.
  • I struggled. I know it’s kind of a cliché concept, but I obviously see now that those struggles turned out to be a good thing. They weren’t fun at the time, of course, but they helped give me some sort of guidance figuring out what I want to do in life (besides travel).

Getting laid-off isn’t fun and I hope none of you have to experience it. But if it does happen, whether it’s in one year or ten years, try to take advantage of the free time you’ll have. While you should keep up with your job search, you can only do so much of it before you lose your mind. Use part of each day to look, but do other things as well. Try something new, read, or sign up for a class if you’re financially able.

I’m not saying it won’t be hard because I promise you, I was having a rough time and started to think it’d be months and months before I found something good. But if you can find ways to utilize your time, hopefully unemployment will be a little more bearable and maybe go by a bit quicker.