February isn’t typically my favorite month since it involves cold weather and being single. BUT, I’m making 2015 my year so I’m trying to be more grateful and appreciate the little things. Here is my list of five favorite things from this month.
Friends on Netflix. I’ve seen them all a million times, but I. CAN’T. STOP. WATCHING.
Thin Mints. I would like to thank the Girl Scouts of America for the additional 80 pounds I have gained this month.
Wild. This movie was such a game changer for me. No matter how bad it gets, I can always take a hike and find myself.
Wanderlust. Yes, I gave it a mixed review, but it is fueling my fire to explore.
Nebraska. I realize I’m only a year late on this film, but it is so incredibly heartwarming and unexpectedly hilarious.
Clearly this month involved a lot of couch/T.V. life, but I promise that’s not all I do!
The wise Notorious B.I.G. once said, “mo money, mo problems”. I want to believe this to be true, but since I’ve never been in the “mo money” category, I can’t be sure. Discussing money is seen as a faux pas, but I don’t really consider myself “pas” so I’m totally discussing it now.
I chose a creative field and with that usually comes a smaller paycheck. I understand that I did not get a graduate degree, slave over calculus exams in undergrad, or even learn a manual trade, but I worked my ass off to get where I am today. I barely had a social life in college (which my 20/20 hind sight tells me is entirely my doing). And now I still work more than most people our age whose desk jobs allow them to catch up on Netflix or Facebook, yet I am always the one who is struggling the most financially.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enough to cover my living expenses and to have somewhat of a social life, but I do have to make sacrifices. Despite my measly financial assets, I do enjoy being in a creative position. Though I struggle to live comfortably and keep up with my more financially endowed friends, I like knowing that I have the ability to explore my creativity and push myself in ways I didn’t know were possible.
I also hate that I am very much aware of my financial status. I know that life is worth so much more than what you have in your bank account. I have learned that a night in with friends is so much more fun and meaningful than throwing money away by downing overpriced drinks at a bar. I’ve also learned to exercise outdoors, make more meals at home, and survive without as many clothes. These are valuable lessons that I would not appreciate as much if I was making more money immediately out of college. I need to remind myself that this is what these years are for.
I know one day I will look back on this time and laugh because I will be more comfortable in my financial standing, but until then it is a daily struggle to decide if I can actually afford what I am about to swipe my credit card for or how I can make more money on the side. I know I am more fortunate than some so I need to appreciate all that I have and make the most of it. One day it will all be worth it and who knows, maybe Biggie was right and I will look back on my struggling mid-twenties self and miss that girl.
The biggest night in fashion, the Oscars, is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited. It was a night of nudes and classic black and white for me (with the exception of Anna Kendrick). Without further ado, here are my picks for best dressed.
And my absolute favorite:
Congrats to J.K. Simmons, Patricia Arquette, Emmanuel Lubezki, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, and Birdman for all of the well deserved wins!!
Next up in our artist profile series is one of Kelly’s favorite artists and another from our wonderful hometown of Greenville, SC, Janina Tukarski Ellis. Ellis’ impressionistic paintings are soft and beautiful with a mostly muted color palette. These soft paintings have an ethereal effect despite the normalcy of her subjects (city street corners, crowds of people, etc.). She captures the essence of the landscape in and around Greenville and the larger cities she’s lived in as well. Ellis’ work makes you appreciate the beauty in everyday life. See the rest of her portfolio here or if you live in the Greenville (or Nashville!) area be sure to stop by one of her galleries.
For February our book club selected Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents. I had a love/hate relationship with this book for several reasons, the first being that I am jealous of this lifestyle. It is extremely romantic to be nonmaterialistic, uninhibited, and to travel the world. But as an adult living paycheck to paycheck and using a credit card as a means until the next paycheck comes along, world travel isn’t exactly an option for me. World travelers would respond to this by saying you work odd jobs between trips to save up the money, but what about leases, careers, student loans, and credit card debt? I have been extremely fortunate to go on several trips, but all were only 2-3 weeks long because that’s all I can afford/work allows us to take off. Maybe it will all work out one day, but in the mean time I will keep reading books like this to feed my insatiable hunger for travel.
My second is the amount of lovers Elizabeth encountered on the road. As as single woman I can definitely appreciate picking up men as you travel (it is much easier abroad than it is at home!), but my issue is with the duplicity behind every relationship. It seems as though just before her latest boy was flying across the world to see her, she would seek out another to have sex with. Again, it is not my place to judge, but it doesn’t seem fair that one could have their cake and eat it this much without ever getting caught in the act. I’m obviously jealous since I’ve never had this issue, but I still wouldn’t want my significant other to do that to me. And no, this isn’t an anti-femisist double standard, this is about commitment in general.
Despite my quandaries with the book, it really was a fabulous read, and my issues clearly stem from jealousy. After reading I immediately starting planning my next trip to…Australia! Here’s hoping that one day I can forget about leases, loans, and debt to travel the world, meet it’s men, and live/get paid to tell the tale. 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned how much I love Beyonce. Just kidding, I only post about her all the time and ask myself “what would Beyonce do?” on the reg. Well ladies and gents (who am I kidding, no gents read my blog!), Bey has done it again with another beautiful video, Yours and Mine. I know I’m a little behind on this, but to be fair, its release was overshadowed by 7/11.
This video is an artistic depiction of Beyonce’s outlook on life. It is interesting because celebrities never get this vulnerable; quite the opposite in fact. She does it in a way that makes the viewer empathize with her views on fame even though I’ve never even come close to experiencing her level of fame. She describes the transient nature of life and the importance of being your best self. She puts topics such as finding love, marriage, motherhood, feminism, and self respect into simple, poetic terms that I can’t believe this girl isn’t running the world single handedly yet.
I have to remind my self daily that “Beyonce wasn’t built in a day” and there’s still time for me to be her when I grow up.
I’m not a huge Valentine’s person and my favorite way to spend the night is with a nice home cooked meal, a good bottle of wine and some chocolate. Any excuse for those things it’s fine by me!
One of my favorite recipes is spaghetti and meatballs. It is a relatively simple meal to prepare, especially since the meatballs can be made in advance, but it always goes down well. The dish is perfect for Valentine’s day ever since Lady and the Tramp made it the most romantic eating scene in any Disney movie…
For the meatballs:
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cups fresh white bread crumbs (about 3 slices, crusts removed)
1 tablespoon mixed herbs (or fresh parsley if you have it)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 cloves garlic minced
1 egg, beaten
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
1 (14-ounce) can pureed tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can chopped or diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon mixed herbs (or fresh parsley if you have it)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. To make the meatballs, add beef, bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, onion powder, egg, and 1/4 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl. Combine very lightly with a wooden spoon. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on an baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil for a minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. While the sauce is cooking make spaghetti. Serve the spaghetti with a generous helping of sauce and meatballs with some freshly grated parmesan on top. Also goes well with some nice garlic bread and the rest of your wine.
With Valentine’s Day looming, I thought it would be a great time to evaluate the state of my “unmentionables” and subsequently realize the reason why I am not in a relationship…yikes! (I can’t believe I just admitted that on the Internet.) This process led me to compile my favorite lacy, delicate, and therefore completely nonfunctional undergarments.
I know most people roll their eyes at the idea of making a card themselves, but I look forward to it every holiday. It is a relatively easy task that shows you are willing to go above and beyond to let someone know how much they mean to you. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours cutting hearts out of doilies or that you have to have a significant other (trust me, I would never make Valentines if this was the case) to send a little sentiment. I, for one, do it thank my friends incessantly for listening to my insane/cringeworthy dating stories and/or crying all year long.
This year, I kept things simple with a few collage like pieces made from scraps of paper I’ve been hoarding for years, don’t worry, totally normal. I also used the opportunity to work on my “hand lettering” skills (that’s the fancy term for doodling).
Spend a few hours getting crafty one evening to let your friends, parents, (or if you’re cooler than me, your boyfriend) know how much they mean to you. I promise it goes a long way!
P.S. I’m so ashamed of my terrible photography! I promise one day I will master the art of capturing bright, white, and airy photographs.
My next design crush in my Artist Profile series is Alexandra Nelson of ali makes things. I’ve been admiring this girl’s work for just a few months, but I’ve already lost count of the number of times her work has made me laugh, cry, or make me feel more at peace with myself. It’s not often that I have such a strong connection with an artist on what feels like a very personal level. This is starting to sound creepy, but what I mean is if I were to meet Ali in real life, I think we’d get along famously.
She makes me realize that all my time spent doodling can finally be put to good use. I feel inspired by her creativity on a daily basis and would love to one day be able to subscribe to her beautiful Mail! campaign. (Money don’t grow on trees people). You can sign up month to month or up to a year’s subscription where you receive pieces of themed illustrations/designs delivered directly to your doorstep. What an awesome idea and who wouldn’t be excited to receive something like this?See more of her beautiful work below and be sure to follow her on Instagram for daily inspiration and hand lettering goodness.
Oh and Ali in the unlikely event you are reading this, let’s be best friends.