Seven steps to simplify your life.

They say you should live together before you get married. (I don’t know if people actually say this or not, but it’s what I said after my boyfriend and I decided to move in together last Spring.) “You can’t marry someone before you live with them,” I said. “What if you find out you hate each other?!”

Like we would go from “til death do us part” to “til she-leaves-her-curling-iron-plugged-in-and-now-I-hate-her do us part”. 

“Living together is hard,” my friends tried to tell me, “Wait until one of you leaves their socks on their floor. Or you get in fight over who is going to do the dishes, or the laundry, or what you’re going to watch on Netflix.” 

These things seemed preposterous to me. And “preposterous” is not a word I use in every day life – but that’s how crazy it seemed that my friends thought Kyle and I would actually argue over something as stupid as “why are your socks on the floor?”. Granted – up until we moved in together, neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before… but we had both lived with humans before, and I’d never once seen someone get mad over a sock. 

“It’s going to be fine,” I said. 1) because I was moving in with my best friend, and how could that not be fine?, and 2) because who gets mad over a sock?

“We don’t even fight.” I said. “Like, seriously. We NEVER fight.” 

And we didn’t. I couldn’t “imagine” our first fight, but I always assumed it would be over something big. It would have to be, right? We never argued over anything, so it was hard to imagine us arguing at all. I’d assumed it would be over something that would really dig down deep and assault my character, or my family, or my well-being or something.

Our first fight was about a rug. 

Like, the large pieces of carpet that people put on the wood floors of their living room? Yea, those things. We argued about a piece of carpet. Our first argument EVER – after spending nearly a year together and getting on our high horses that we know how to compromise and communicate and “we never fight, like ever”. One stupid rug and it was all out the window.  

When my friends heard this story – they all decided to put on their therapist-hats and insist that “It wasn’t really about the rug, was it?” Like there was some hidden meaning behind the rug. Like the rug is supposed to be a symbol for something.

It’s not. This story has zero symbolism. One minute we’re fine, and the next we’re standing in the middle of a furniture store arguing about the color of a rug. That’s it.

(Well, okay. To be fair – that’s not really “it”, we weren’t really “fine” the minute before. We were cranky because we’d been in that store for over an hour already looking for “just the right shade of off-white” rug. “Not too white, but not too off-white? You know? Just, like, a cream color?”) 

Whatever. It took me three weeks to make a commitment on which color “accent” throw-pillows I should buy from Target. Do you really think I’m going to get all willy-nilly picking out a $600+ rug??

“What about this one?” Kyle would ask, pointing out rugs that were patterned with tones of whites and.. other random colors. To be honest – I don’t remember what they all looked like. I just knew they weren’t… well… 

Ugh. I hate being one of these women who says, “that’s not exactly what I’m looking for”, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. They didn’t match the pillows in our living room. They had weird textures or patterns. They weren’t the vision of a simple, classic white rug that I had in my head. 

I know. I hate women like me too. This is probably why Kyle hasn’t proposed yet, because he doesn’t want to see me end up on Bridezillas. 

“What about this one?” he pointed to a different one, and I was like “Ehhhh……”

“What’s wrong with it?” he asked. “It’s cream.”

“Is it…?” I asked. Which is apparently my way of pretending to consider it. By asking my boyfriend to defend his choice/vision/knowledge of colors. “It looks sort of… brown.” I said. “Don’t you think it looks brown? Maybe it’s the lighting.”

“You think it’s brown?”

“I mean, kind of. It just looks… I don’t know. It almost looks dirty, don’t you think?”

“How can you think that’s brown?” He asked. “It’s cream. It’s not brown.” 

“I know it’s cream. But it looks like a brownish-cream.”

“No, it doesn’t.” 

“Stand over here and look at it.” I suggested, pulling him toward my side of the rug. I don’t know why I thought this would make a difference. But, you know. Maybe the lighting is different on his side? “Do you see it?” I asked. “See how it looks dirty?” He looked at the rug, and then back at me, and then the rug, and then me. 

“What are you TALKING about?” He finally asked.

“You really don’t see that?” 

“See what?” Holy crap. “Jenn, this rug isn’t brown. It’s cream.”

“I’m not SAYING it’s brown. I’m saying it has brown TONES.”  

Ugh.

Eventually a sales associate noticed us wandering around this jungle of not-quite-cream-colored rugs and must have heard us bickering. “What are you looking for?” She asked. 

“A rug,” Kyle said. Meanwhile I was like – “But we’re looking for more of a cream colored rug? But not TOO cream. You know how cream colors can have that, like, brown tint or, like, more of a white tint? We need one with more of a white tint. But not TOO white. We don’t want a white rug, we want a cream rug. But, like, the right shade of cream? It needs to go with our couch.” 

“What color is your couch?” She asked. 

“Gray.” We both responded. (And of course I had to add, “But like, a dark gray? Not like a regular gray… you know?” I don’t know why I felt this was important. I wasn’t trying to get her to sell me a couch. But maybe if she understood the depth of gray that was the color of our couch – I could get her on my side for the whole “cream, not brown” debate.) 

“Well, this rug would go well in any room.” She said, referencing the dirty looking rug we were arguing about.

OF COURSE she said that. At first it caught me off guard – like I was expecting her to say, “Oh, no, this is not the rug for you. This one looks dirty and gross. Maybe you should check another furniture store!” Yea, right.

“My girlfriend thinks it looks brown.” Kyle told her. I don’t think he rolled his eyes – but I’m pretty sure he wanted to. 

“Oh, this isn’t brown.” She assured me. “You could put this next to your gray couch, and I’m sure it would look fine.” 

Oh sure, I thought. Take his side. 

“I don’t know.” I told her. “It’s just not what I’m looking for.” Did Kyle really not see the brown tint? Did he not think we could find a better rug? DID I EVEN KNOW HIM AT ALL? 

“Jenn, we need a rug.” He said. “What’s wrong with this one?” 

Well, for one, it’s brown. 

The woman who had come over to help was slowly starting to slink away. “Why don’t you both take some time to think it over?” she suggested. 

So that’s what we did. We parted ways (in the store). I went pouting in one direction, and he went storming off in another. (Okay, so I don’t remember if he necessarily ‘stormed off’ – but he definitely walked away thinking, “My girlfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘brown’ looks like.” He wouldn’t tell you he was thinking that, but I’m sure he was. Because I was thinking, “My boyfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘cream’ looks like.”) 

After pouting around the store for a few more minutes, we finally stumbled onto another rug. (Well, okay, I stumbled onto it and dragged Kyle over and he agreed – in his pouty, pissed off, ‘this is taking too long and I’m hungry’ voice – “Yea, I like this one. Let’s buy it and get out of here.” 

 So that’s what we did. 

Alright – so maybe the ending is a little anti-climactic, but the point of this story wasn’t about the rug. 

Travel Diary: Las Vegas, NV.

I would love to be the kind of blogger who can start off a travel diary by saying, “Earlier this year, I booked a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas!” and make it sound totally normal. Like I’m the whimsical kind of girl who does this sort of thing all the time. “It was completely spur of the moment, tickets were cheap, and I thought – hey, why not! Let’s go to Vegas!”

 “Hey, why not! Let’s go to Vegas!” is not something I’ve ever said in my entire life. I was whimsical for like, twenty minutes. The twenty minutes that it took for some woman on the phone to convince me that Vegas was all the rage. “Oh, you haven’t been to Vegas?!” She asked in a tone that suggested ‘eeeeeveryone’s been to Vegas!’. But, like, in a nice way? I don’t know. It was weird.

The woman calling me worked for the hotel chain that I frequently use when traveling for business trips (therefore they assumed that I would have the money to, like, travel). “Now is a GREAT time to come out to Las Vegas.” She said – (as if she would have called me to say, ‘You know, now is not such a great time’) – “We just opened up a BRAND NEW hotel on the strip. It’s a FIVE STAR resort situated next to Miracle Mile – so you can go SHOPPING” – because that’s how I pick my vacation spots? “or you can lay out by the POOL…” appealing to her audience here “with a DRINK…” – all things I could easily do at home, fo’ free. “And don’t forget about the CASINOS!” She added. “Maybe you could win some MONEY! Wouldn’t that be fun?!” ‘Wouldn’t that be fun?’ – like I’m really going to say, ‘no – winning money? Geez, that sounds awful.’

“I’m not much of a gambler,” I told her. “Thanks for the offer, but I don’t think now is a good time.”

The end. Hang up. I studied Communications, I work in SALES management, I am a MASTER of persuasive strategy (I mean, not really, but I took a class on it once in college). I knew what this woman was doing. Trying to convince me to stay at her fancy hotel so that I could go SHOPPING and have a DRINK by the POOL. Please. She called the wrong loyalty program member.

“You don’t have to use it right now!” She said. “You can use it anytime. Six months, a year – It doesn’t matter!”

“I don’t have time for a vacation.”

“You’re saying you won’t have the time in a YEAR?”

 “I’m… busy.” 

Probably.   

Look – I’m not saying Vegas was at the BOTTOM of my bucket list, because it genuinely is some place that I’ve always wanted to see at least once –  but, like, not spontaneously because some strange woman on the phone acts like she wants to go shopping with me. “You know, we’ve got a lot of great stuff going on this year,” she said. “A lot of great shows. Criss Angel is in town, Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil…”

Cirque du Soleil. She was trying to sell me Vegas on Cirque du Soleil. Not that it isn’t a great show, I’m sure it is… it’s just… I don’t know. I don’t think that people go to Vegas JUST to see Cirque du Soleil. 

“Britney Spears.” She said. She might have been grasping at straws, but whatever. “She’s still in town. Do you like Britney Spears?”

I bought a shirt once just because I saw Britney Spears wearing it in a Kohl’s advertisement. True story.

And I didn’t even really LIKE the shirt.  

Granted, I was like fifteen at the time, but still. Here we are, over ten years later, and all it takes to get to me book a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas is twenty minutes and the mention of Britney Spears’ name. Sold.

Reality set in later. Not too much later – about thirty minutes after I hung up the phone. What did I just do? VEGAS? Someone called me from a random number asking me if I wanted to go to VEGAS and I gave them my credit card information? If that clown in the movie “IT” told me that Britney Spears was down there hiding in the sewer, I’d probably just crawl on down there.

This is how people get their identities stolen.

Correction – this is how STUPID people get their identities stolen. Regular people just get them stolen from a sneaky scanner at a gas pump or something.

I did not get my identity stolen. But as a general public service announcement – don’t be stupid. If someone calls you from a random number, don’t give them your credit card information. K? K.

Anyway, the anxious, cautious part of me who can’t plan a trip without first making a Pinterest board began to panic about thirty minutes later. Assuming I didn’t get my identity stolen – I can’t just go to VEGAS…? BY MYSELF? What am I supposed to do out there? Just wander around searching for Britney Spears? So I called my mom, canceled my credit card, and spent the next three months trying to get out of it.

I told them I couldn’t go, I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t have the time. I wanted my money back. Please and thank you.

I tried to get out of it. For THREE MONTHS I tried to get out of it.

But they wouldn’t let me out of it. They told me I could cancel the trip, but I wouldn’t get my money back. So I called my boyfriend and said, “Heeeey, wanna go to Vegas?” And he was like, “sure, why not”.

 (It turns out, of the two of us, he is the more whimsical one. Who knew.)

My Blogging Goals | November 2017

There are two kinds of bloggers out there: the kind who have goals and a media kit – and the other kind, the kind who have to Google “what is a media kit?” when someone reaches out to them for a sponsored post and — well, actually, first they have to head on over to the blogging forum and ask, “Hey guys, how do I handle a sponsored post? So-and-so is reaching out to me and I don’t know what to do”, and someone says, “send them your media kit”. 

I still don’t really understand what a media kit is. But that’s okay, because it sounds a little more “professional” than what I am currently set up for. 

Around the middle of October, I was playing around with this new blogger site that I found called Canva (game changer, by the way) that allows you to make graphics and banners and all of the professional-looking-images that you see the professional-looking-bloggers have. 

I got really excited. I felt like I’d stumbled into “the big secret” that all of the professional bloggers already know. I found a fancy graphic site that is going to CHANGE EVERYTHING. 

“I’m going to be SO PROFESSIONAL,” I told my boyfriend. “My blog is going to BLOW. UP.” 

Yea. Those are the words that I used. “BLOW. UP”. Like I’m a 1940’s detective working on the “How to be a professional blogger” mystery. We’re about to blow this case WIIIIDE OPEN. 

“Okay,” he said. Because – really – what else are you supposed to say that? 

But I had big ideas. BIG ideas. “I’m going to plan out my posts for the month,” I told him. What a concept, right?  Actually planning out your blog posts. I bet no one has ever thought of that before. “And pictures!” I said. “I need to take more pictures! Will you help me take more pictures?!”

UGGGGHHHH. I bet that’s what he was thinking – “Sure. Let’s spend a Saturday afternoon  taking pictures of you in front of different buildings pretending to ‘look away’ while you yell at me that you ‘feel fat’. That sounds swell.” 

He didn’t say that, of course. Because he loves me and supports all of my weird hobbies.

So he agreed – and by agreed, I mean he said, “Uh.. suuure. We can do that. I guess.” which totally counts as agreeing, and we got down to business.

And by “got down to business” – I mean, I threw a giant pile of clothes into a laundry basket and said, “OKAY! LET’S GO! GET YOUR CAMERA!” and he was like, “Where are we going?” And I was like, “I DON’T KNOW. WHEREVER THERE ARE CUTE BRICK WALLS?”

That’s me, as a location scout – “wherever there are cute brick walls.”

10 things you don’t need in your closet.

My parents sent me a stun gun as part of a care package in college.

I figured I should open with that, so that when I say, “I found my stun gun in a shoe box in the back of my closet over the weekend” – ya’ll don’t think I’m the kind of girl who A) knows where to buy a stun gun, and B) keeps it in a shoe box in the back of her closet. Nestled next to a scarf and a pair of high heels. Because that’s where it was. Who knows why. Who packed THAT box when I was moving?

Me. I packed it. I packed all of my boxes. And when I ran across that stun gun, I was probably like, “Well, I don’t have a box marked ‘Weapons’ …. sooo let’s just put it in this shoe box. That should be fine.”

That makes about as much sense as me having a stun gun in the first place.

My parents sent it to me when I was a freshman in college as a… present? Warning? I don’t even know. (They aren’t crazy. They just, care. A lot.) I opened it in the lobby of our dorm building, assuming this was going to be… I don’t know, something normal. Like, a Tupperware container full of brownies. Or a sweatshirt. Or extra pens. Like I said, my parents aren’t crazy. They’d sent me presents before. But this was the first time they’d decided to send me a stun gun.

I didn’t even know what to do with it. I was afraid to touch it. I mean, it was in a box. And I don’t think it had batteries in it. But still. The box said, “high voltage”. Is that really something I should be carrying around in my purse? This little weapon of electricity? What if I shock someone on accident? What if I shock myself? Can I die from this?

“If you hold it up to someone for longer than seven seconds, it can stop their heart.” That’s what my mom said. After I called her to confirm that she did, in fact, mean to send me a stun gun. Part of me thought that this might have been an accident. A weird and unlikely accident, but still. My mother is the kind of mother who collects Tupperware and sent me boxes of mini-muffins in college. I didn’t know murder weapons were on her radar. Let alone that she knew where to buy one.

“Your dad bought it on eBay.” She said. Apparently you can buy them on eBay.

“What am I supposed to do with it?” I asked her. Maybe she thought if this college thing didn’t work out, I could be a gangster. Or a thug. Or someone who works the midnight shift at McDonalds.

“Carry it,” she said. “In your purse. Especially when you’re walking across campus at night.” Ohhh that’s what this was about. I had a night class that forced me to walk home in the evenings two nights a week. After the sun went down. Moms aren’t big fans of their daughters walking alone at night.

I didn’t carry it. I thought it was scary. I imagined scenarios where I would somehow electroshock myself on accident and fall to the ground twitching. I mean, it couldn’t DO anything unless someone pushed the button. BUT STILL. If anyone’s stun gun could accidentally shock them, from inside their purse, without pushing any buttons, I didn’t want it to be mine. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW.

I didn’t see the stun gun again until last Christmas. (It lived out my college experience on a dark shelf in the back of my closet. Despite my mother asking – really casually, by the way – “Have you used your stun gun yet?”… like I’d forget to tell her if I tased someone on my way to class.)  It showed up in a bag – another one that my mother sent back with me to Chicago – shortly after Christmas. I guess she thought I could scare off a thug with a neck tattoo if I ever found myself in a rough neighborhood? I don’t know.

Regardless, I was inspired to write this post about “10 things you don’t need in your closet”. (There is no good transition here. I don’t want to be cheesy and say something like, “Realizing how much space my stun gun was taking up in my closet made me think about how much other space I could free up!”…. what space? It was in a shoe box, it was fine. But I already had the idea for this post, and the stun gun thing seemed like a funny anecdote.)

Shopping for Fall trends!

If I had to define my personal style, I would call it: “Target Women’s Section”. Do you know what I mean? When you see a woman walking down the street and think to yourself, “She totally bought that at Target”.  

Yea, that’s me. I’m the woman. 2/3 of my closet is made up of the women’s section from the store. “Target clothes” are a style. Maybe it’s just because I shop there so often. I can’t walk into that store without looking at the clothes. I mean, they’re RIGHT THERE. In the front of the store. As soon as you walk in. 

Notice how the men’s section is always squeezed into a back corner? Not the women’s section. Oh, no. Let’s put that right next to the entrance, so that all of the women who think they’re only coming in here for groceries and toilet paper will walk by and say, “You know, it doesn’t hurt to LOOK at the clothes…” 

Men don’t get it. I’ve dragged my boyfriend in there when he was looking for a new button-down and said, “At least LOOK at the clothes”, thinking he would surely find SOMETHING. It’s Target. He took a quick lap through the graphic tees and plaid button-downs and said, “Yeeeea I don’t see anything I want, let’s go.” 

Seriously. Like he was in Walmart or something. 

Target’s men’s section is about 1/3 the size of the women’s section and usually blends into the shoe aisle. The women’s section, on the other hand, takes up an entire wall of the store and preys on weak women like myself who believe that a new $19 sweater is going to fix her entire life. 

Having a bad day? Go to Target. Feeling fat? Go to Target, buy some mid-rise jeans. Unmotivated to go to work on Monday? Buy a new pencil skirt, or some new shoes – or both! Hey, why not, it’s Target! For $80, you’ve got yourself a brand new outfit!

It’s a trap. It’s totally a trap. Who knows, maybe it’s a sickness – thinking that a new sweater is going to fix everything. Or that if I buy some new $15 fuzzy sweatpants, even though I have an entire drawer of fuzzy sweatpants at home, I’ll feel better about staying in and cleaning the house that evening. 

And the slippers. Don’t even get me started on the slippers. These fuzzy-wuzzy, cozy shoes meant to be worn in the house – even though I don’t wear shoes in the house and have said multiple times that slippers make my feet “too hot” (they don’t sweat, my toes just need to breathe, ya know?)… but put me in front of the robe and sweatpants and pajama aisle on a cold, Fall day and suddenly… “Those slippers are SO cute! I want those. Oh, they’re only $13? AND they have little fuzzy balls on the toes?! Adorable! I should buy those.” 

I have three pairs of slippers. That I never wear. But I just haaaaad to buy. Because they had little fuzzy balls on the toes. If that’s not a good enough reason to spend $13, then I don’t know what is. 

I mean, maybe to buy food. But, you know. 

Spanx. They aren’t just for Moms.

I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen. 

I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know.  You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain. 

“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?” 

I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”

Sometimes I worry that if I give someone a hug, they’ll be able to tell. Like they’ll feel it under my clothes and be like, “HEY WHAT’S THAT?” or worse – “Wow! Your core is ROCK SOLID! Have you been doing Pilates? Let’s see that six-pack!” 

Again. That would require me to lift up my dress. And the highlight of that story would be, “Someone asked me to lift up my dress in order to show them my super rock-hard abs. It was weird.” 

But what if they can FEEL it, I think. What if someone has their arms around me and feels the top of the Spanx? Or that little rod-stick thing that goes down the sides of some of them like a legit corset? I mean, I’m wearing this super tight dress. Surely they can FEEL that stuff.

In all of my years of hugging people – all of the people, including ones who are wearing tight clothes – I have never once embraced someone long enough to literally FEEL THEM UP. I have never tried to rub my hands along someone’s side while hugging them, unless I was, like, DATING that person. Because otherwise it’s super inappropriate – and the highlight of THAT story would be, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me. It was super inappropriate.” — not, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me and THEY COULD TELL I WAS WEARING A GIRDLE. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING.” 

The “What’s in my bag” post.

My first bag came from Aeropostale. And I didn’t call it a “bag”, I called it a purse. Because I was ten, and believed everything my mom told me – bags are used to carry groceries, purses are used to carry all of your little trinkets and treasures that you can’t leave home without.

I mean, she didn’t put it EXACTLY like that. My mom wouldn’t call her used Kleenex and traveling pill case a “treasure” per say, but you know what I mean. It’s a purse. She kept her wallet and her tissues and her breath mints and her receipts and her tiny, little traveling pharmacy of Advil and allergy pills in a “purse”. 

So – my first PURSE came from Aeropostale. It was – hands down – the smallest purse I’ve ever owned. It may have actually been the smallest purse, ever. To exist. This would have been around the year 2001 when “the small purse trend” was in… I think? I don’t know, I was ten. Maybe it was just “in” for ten year olds, because ten years old didn’t have a bunch of stuff to lug around in 2001. All I needed was a place to keep my twelve dollars in cash and… like, that’s it. What else do you need when you’re ten? A pager?

It’s not like I had keys to worry about, because I was always with an adult who had to carry around the keys. I didn’t need a cell phone, because I was ten and it was 2001. I am now part of the generation that sees a ten year old with an iPhone 8 and says, “Well back in MY day, we didn’t have cell phones when we were ten” – as if we grew up Little House on the Prairie style and were all forced to churn our own butter and read by candlelight. We might as well have grown up on the Oregon Trail (which most of us did, as a computer game).

I don’t know why I remember this purse. Maybe because I carried it around for so long. In hindsight, it looked like a children’s purse (which is fine, because I was a child – even though I thought I was a lady. A little ten year old lady). It was tan colored with an embroidered butterfly in the center and a skinny brown strap that was – PROBABLY? – supposed to go over your shoulder? I mean, I don’t know. This tiny, little “purse” went over my shoulder and was so small it basically just hung out right there under my armpit. So it was basically a wristlet that wasn’t a wristlet. It was an armpit-let.

But up until that moment, I had always thought to myself, “Why would anyone carry a PURSE? That’s so dumb. Then you have to CARRY IT AROUND. Why don’t women just carry their money in their pockets like men do? What is so hard about that?” 

Because then we don’t have any place to keep our trinkets and our treasures and our used Kleenex, Little Jenn. That’s why.

Fashion bloggers always do a post about “What’s in my bag” – and it is usually called “What’s in my bag”. Like we’re expecting them to say they’ve been carrying around a sword in there.

I don’t know what the fascination is with these posts, but I fall for it every time. When my favorite beauty blogger does a “What’s in my bag” post, I read it. And I mean, I read it with the expectation that they’re going to say something other than “my phone”, “my keys”, maybe some some headache medicine? I instantly assume – before even reading it – that there will be SOMETHING in there that is going to change my life. Something that’s going to make me say, “That’s such a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that?!”

Fall fashion trends (that you probably already have in your closet!)

I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, “Do not fall in love with a man who doesn’t make you feel like the most awesome, incredible, baddest bitch on the block.”… those of course weren’t his exact words, but the sentiment was the same. You know what else can make you feel that way? A leather jacket. 

Seriously. I can be wearing sweatpants, and still feel like a stylish badass biker babe if I’ve got a leather jacket on. (I have never been on a bike – and by “bike”, I  of course mean motorcycle – so I don’t know what that really feels like, but this is the only way I can know how to describe it.) It’s like magic. While sweatpants in public say, “I can’t get my life together”, a leather jacket says, “This is OBVIOUSLY a style choice. And if you don’t get it, then you’re not as cool as I am.” 

I mean, don’t go out there wearing a leather jacket and sweatpants, you’ll look ridiculous. I’m just saying. If you want to feel like a badass, buy a leather jacket. I have five. Because I feel the frequent urge to badass it up in my everyday life. 

The problem is that I can’t wear ANY of them while it’s still 85 degrees outside. I’ve considered it – because, in my mind September = Fall, and Fall = Leather jacket time – but I’d rather not sweat off all my make-up and die of heatstroke. It sounds like a terrible way to go. 

But it’s almost OCTOBER. I mean, come on. While everyone else is hanging on to these last few *surprise* weeks of summer, I can’t wait to bundle up in scarves and the three new pairs of boots that I just bought. (Pro tip: if you really want to feel like a badass, put on a pair of boots with a leather jacket. Something about it makes me feel like I could really kick some bad guy booty. I mean, it would probably actually be harder – since I wouldn’t be able to run as fast in the boots, and the jacket would give me less range of motion – but you know what I mean.) 

This is when I get excited for Fall. It’s not the Pumpkin Spice whatever’s, or the football games every weekend, or the bonfires, or Halloween – it’s the clothes. Honestly. When I see the mannequins in Macy’s wearing scarves and plaid shirts and fuzzy sweaters and cardigans, it makes me feel relieved. My wardrobe options are about to triple. Everything’s going to be okay. My fashion identity is really coming together.

Department stores and fashion designers will try to trick you into believing they’re designing these hot new things. You have to keep up with the trends. You have to buy the sweaters with the holes cut out of the shoulders (I have yet to purchase one of these). You have to buy the sweaters with only ONE shoulder. (No thanks, I have yet to find some place where I could actually wear this.) You have to buy the hot new color for FALL. (The hot new color is purple. It’s the same every year. I read this once in a magazine years ago – “PURPLE is THE color for Fall this year!”and legitimately believed that I needed to buy a bunch of purple things. Ya know, so that people would think I was “in”. It took me a few years to realize this is the same every year. They probably use the same article every year. Purple is just a Fall color.) 

The majority of Fall fashion is the same every year. The basics don’t change much. And heavy duty clothes like sweaters and jeans usually hold up longer than those light-weight t-shirts you bought at the beginning of summer. So when you’re putting together your Fall outfits in a few weeks, remember the basics and you shouldn’t need to run out and go shopping.

How to Instagram like a fashion blogger.

Oh, Instagram. It took me forever to figure out that it wasn’t Facebook.  I mean, I obviously KNEW the difference – but you know what I mean. If someone Friend requests me on Facebook without annnnny sort of mutual connections (“Did we at least go to high school together? Grow up in the same town? Are you a friend of my mom’s?”), I immediately feel violated. “How did they FIND me?” I think. Like I just caught them with a telescope peeping through my bedroom window. (Sometimes even if there is a mutual connection, I think to myself: “Why are they adding me? Do I KNOW them? Did we meet once and I forgot?”) But Instagram? Haha. That’s totally fine. Follow me. Ask your friends to follow me. Encourage random strangers to follow me. FOLLOW ME. I NEED MORE FOLLOWERS.

If you’re a fashion blogger, you’re probably already on the ‘gram, and you probably already have more followers than I do. Right now I’m trying to break 300.

Not 300k. Not 300 million — (haha, does ANYONE have 300 million?) I have 300 followers. Well – actually, no I don’t, I’m trying to GET 300 followers. I’ve been batting around 287-295 all summer.  I don’t know if I can even call myself a ‘blogger’ at this point, even people who set their accounts to private and only follow friends and family have more followers than I do. When I hit 300, I should buy balloons and throw myself a party. You know, like the real bloggers do after they’ve hit substantial numbers.

Fashion bloggers consider Instagram to be a faucet of their business. They have a fashion blog on the Internet – they post pictures of themselves wearing a bunch of different outfits, what better way to advertise that than Insta? It probably helps them to get a ton of new followers. I say “probably” because they have thousands, and I have – ALMOST – 300. But I also don’t post as many #ootds. Mostly because my “photographer” is my boyfriend and it is a special occasion when I can get him to take a picture of me. I purposely try to look extra fashion-y when we go out, so that I can pull him aside as we’re leaving a restaurant and say “Hey, can I be weird for a second? Will you take a picture of me looking out into traffic?” And he says “Ugh.” and then gives me two minutes to be weird, because he loves me.

I’ve tried to subtly hint that I’d like to spend a few hours one day taking pictures “around town” (a few months ago we moved to a picturesque little suburb town about 30 minutes outside of Chicago that reminds me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls). “Our town is so cute!”, I say. “There are so many places where I want to take cute blog pictures!” But the idea of spending 2 or 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon just taking pictures of myself to put on the Internet…? It’s still a little… I don’t know, it makes me feel a little weird. It’s kind of like Senior pictures all over again… but not really. Because I’m not doing anything super momentous that should be documented. I’m just killing a Saturday afternoon because I want to show everyone that I know how pick out my own clothes.