Monday, July 22, 2013

Breather and a Break: See You After the Bar Exam

My life has become overwhelmed by bar studying - which should have happened much sooner. I'm trying to spend every possible moment cramming useless things into my brain, so much so that things like cleaning my apartment, going to the gym, or getting a few extra hours of sleep are indulgences I feel guilty spending time on - blogging has definitely taken a back seat. I'm going to go radio silent until after July 31st. But to get me through till are some things I'm going to do once I'm free! 

1. The cafe I've been studying at, Tryst, is adorable. It would be perfect for a day of relaxed reading. NOT studying. I'm going to take a book there, and just relax. 

2. Trip to Seattle and Portland! I foresee lots of hiking, brewery tours, and wine tasting. 

3. Get these. Bar-is-over present to myself. Mine are on their last few miles. 

4. Go camping! Read this by a lake. 

5. Cook dinner for my boyfriend, who has basically been taking care of me for the past month - cooking, cleaning, and dealing with my type A histrionics. I'm thinking this

6. Catch up with all the people whose calls I haven't been able to answer, and whose emails I've been horrible about responding to. (sorry :/)

7. Deep clean my apartment, including organizing my closet. There will be castaways if anyone needs some clothes I've probably worn once. 

8. Make this.

9. Take the pup on long walks. Apologize profusely about the recent level of neglect. 

10. Sleep in. 

For the next week I'll be studying like a mad woman, telling myself to breathe, and trying to stay sane. In the end, hopefully I pass. If not, well I wont have to worry about that until results come out in November - one step at a time my friends. See you all on the flip side! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Date Detox: Free Movie Night!

This past Friday night boyfriend and I decided to save some money and go to a free outdoor movie. DC's Golden Triangle has a great outdoor movie program at the The Heurich House Museum in the garden. It was surprisingly small and intimate, and the movie, A Philidephia Story, was fantastic. Katherine Hepburn was hilarious, and Cary Grant - le sigh. 

I put together a picnic and a pitcher of Pimm's, and we headed over for a fun and free night. 

I highly recommend heading over for the next movie. They have one left because of a rain date. Some Like it Hot will play July 28th at sunset! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Splurge v. Steal Throwdown: Tinted Moisturizer

Studying calls, so I'll make this short and sweet. Tinted moisturizer is my favorite in the summer. Your skin gets a little color, so you don't need as much coverage. I've been using Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer for years now, but I thought I'd try something else a bit less expensive: 




The Lowdown: 

Laura Mercier: I'm just going to say it: this stuff is awesome. You only need to use a little, so even though it's price tag is hefty, it can last you several months. It is light, but still offers great coverage. It's the only make-up I generally use in the summer, along with a little pressed powder. available at Sephora.

Bonus Points: Simple to use, no mess. 

Negatives: $43.00 a tube is just a bit cray cray. Let's be honest. 

Garnier: This will give you coverage, but more than I'd expect from a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream. You should be able to see your summer freckles through this stuff, but if you use even a tad too much, it's way too much. However, if applied with a very light hand it does make for a good summer make-up. Available at any local drug store or online at Target.

Bonus points: $11.99. Long lasting. 

Negatives: You'll need to be very careful not to use too much. 

And the winner is: 

Garnier! It is not as good a product, but with a little patience and experimenting, you'll learn the right amount to use for your skin, you'll also save $31.00. The difference isn't enough to justify the cost. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mental Detox: Wednesday Worries

Warning: Personal Rant Below 

Decisions have been an issue for me lately. Not just big decisions, but small choices that your average person could make without expending one ounce of mental energy. For example: 

Do you want pasta for dinner? What kind of cheese in your sandwich? Red wine or white? Do you want to run or cycle? Which pajamas should I wear tonight? Do I want coffee or tea? Olive oil or canola? Walk through Dupont Circle or down 21st? Run the dishwasher now or later? Do I want to watch the Bachelorette or catch up on Pretty Little Liars? 

I've been having so much trouble making any decisions that, to anyone outside my head, I'm acting very strangely. Yesterday when deciding how to get to 18th street to drop of a bar assignment I was so indecisive that I ended up walking about a mile farther than I needed to. I'll consistently drink half a cup of coffee, then change my mind and make tea. I started to go for a run this morning, only to get a mile out, turn around and head to the gym to do a spinning class. I'm in the middle of 4 (count them) books right now. Deciding which one to read at bedtime is epic. The only decision I feel I made correctly this week was the Bachelorette. Doesn't Desiree realize that her contestants all might be closeted gays? I mean, I'm cool with whoever you want to do-si-do with, but that girl must be blind. 

Anyway. My point is that small choices have started to take over my brain. I've been recognizing, more and more, that this is because - for now- I feel I have very little control over the bigger course of my life. The bar, as big of a pain as it is, is sort of a grace period, where everyone understands that I'm allowed to be an unemployed money-suck, but what happens if I'm still not employed in September? October? I could go on. Lets face it - the economy still sucks. There are a ton of jobs in DC that I'm perfectly qualified for here, but for every job there is someone else also perfectly qualified who knows somebody that I don't. (I know, I know - NETWORK! I am! Less than I was before studying, but I still eek out a coffee or happy hour now and then, I have one this afternoon, leave me alone I'M NETWORKING). 

The point is...all this studying, all the school with no job in sight, it's a free-fall. I am not a free-fall type of gal. I am the epitome of a type-A control freak cleans the counters three times a day type of gal. I can out-worry anyone here, that I guarantee you. However, I am driving myself ever-so-slightly more insane with every job application I fill out or cover letter I write. The attitude of "no one is even going to read this" isn't helping me. It isn't helping anyone.  I have to trust that my hard work (and winning personality - of course) are going to get me there in the end. For now, I just need to focus on taking one day at a time. Slow it down, study my ass off, and stop worrying. I'm a lucky girl - I have a wonderful support system of people that won't let me fall too far. I knew I needed to get out of the midwest, so I opted to move to a new and more competitive place where I have far fewer connections. My heart was in policy and advocacy, in finding a job I could feel good about doing. That means I'll have to work that much harder to forge a career for myself. I have a feeling that it will all be worth it; I just have to trust. 

It's really okay if - just for a little while - I don't know whether I want swiss or provolone on my sandwich. If I can't decide between red and white wine, I do love a dry rose. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

To Gym or Not to Gym?: Outdoor Workout Tips

It is sweltering in DC. The temperature itself is bad, high 80's to mid 90's, but mostly the issue is the humidity. DC is built on a swamp - moving around outside right now is like slow motion swimming through liquid goo. It's gross. I generally don't need a gym membership in the winter. Being from Michigan, I'm pretty used to the cold, snow, and ice. I bundle up in good warm gear and get myself outside, but heat kills me. 

As soon as it gets upwards of 75, running outside becomes a struggle. Summer here means a gym membership. That means dropping cash. I got a great deal at Washington Sports Club this summer, with two months free, but I've had to pay for July (if you do join a gym make sure you are taking advantage of every possible promotion). I'm debating whether or not to keep the membership next month, because I've been working on ways to beat the heat and save the cash. Here are some tips I've found helpful; please share any you have with me! 

Tips For Working Out in the Outdoor Heat:

1. Get out early. It's easy to say, and harder to do. I like to set my alarm 45 minutes before I go and wake up with a cup of coffee and the news. The coffee will give you energy, and the extra time will loosen your joints before you head out. Set out clothes the night before and get dressed first thing. Evening is always nice for a run, but it can be harder to force yourself to get out the door after a long day at work. 

2. Hydrate before your workout. This is easiest if you stay hydrated generally. I like to keep a big glass of water by my bed to drink first thing when I wake up. Keep a water bottle with you at work. Drink up. 

3. Take water on your workout. This helps so much in the heat. I use a water belt for long workouts, or for short workouts I'll simply carry a water bottle. I'll also toss it over my head if I get too hot. 

4. Electrolytes. Preferably during and after your workout, but at least after. When you run outside and sweat a lot, you are losing vital nutrients, especially sodium. Putting only plain water back in your system can lead to dizziness and a host of other nasty things. I personally don't love Gatorade, it's full of sugar and calories I just don't need. Nuun is a great alternative. It puts all the good stuff back in your body without any unnecessary refined sugar. Simply drop a tablet in 16 ounces of water (I prefer the grape or lemon tea flavor). 

5. Sunscreen. I end up with a runner's tan every summer. I don't mind a little extra color, but I don't want to damage my skin. Use a good quality sport sunscreen - one that's sweat-proof. Be careful of spray sunscreen, make sure you're rubbing it in if you do choose to use it. I got a nasty burn this past weekend because I missed some spots with a spray sunscreen. 

6. Clouds are your friend. Workouts in the sun are great, when it's 70 out. When it gets really hot, the sun makes it feel that much hotter. I find that I can handle higher temperatures when its cloudy. It's a nice bonus if it starts to sprinkle or rain. 

7. If you can, exercise near water. You live in Chicago? Use the Lake Trail. DC? I like Rock Creek Park along the Potomac. Water means a breeze. Take advantage. 

8. Take it slow. I slow down my pace in the outdoor heat. I usually run about a 8:30 to 9 minute mile. In the heat I slow down to what feels natural. It lets me finish the same distance I'd do in cooler weather without overheating.  

9. Wear appropriate gear for the weather. Sweat wicking workout clothes will keep you cooler, cotton will trap sweat and make you hotter. I personally prefer a sports bra and shorts, but if you don't feel comfortable, get yourself some sweat wicking tanks. Target carries some for reasonable prices. 

1o. Carry a credit card or cash with you. If you do get too hot you can always stop for water or a sports drink. It also gives you the option of calling a cab or taking public transportation home. Also know that shops are generally happy to give you water. I've definitely stumbled into a Starbucks dripping sweat more than once. 

11. Know your limits. If you are really suffering, STOP! Don't give yourself heat stroke! If you can't run 3 miles on a treadmill, it's probably not a good idea to start with a 5K run in 90 degree heat. 

Do you guys have any good tips for avoiding a gym fee? I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

When Is Spending Worth Your While?: Watches

Every six months or so I go through my wardrobe and make a salvation army run (after my sisters have rummaged through things of course). I find myself consistently getting rid of the same types of things. A dress or top that I bought impulsively, something I just "needed." Lately, I've been trying to be more responsible, to recognize the things in my closet or jewelry box I'll wear over and over again. Top on my list? Watches. A good watch - one you'll put on everyday - is worth the investment. 

Here are a few of my favorites: 

Available from Kate Spade 

Available from Daniel Wellington 

Available at Piperlime 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fourth of July Necessity: Sangria!

Sangria is always welcome at a barbecue. It's a nice reprieve from beer, and refreshing in the heat. Be a hero at your Fourth of July BBQ with one of these great recipes. 

Note: Sangria is also great because you don't need a pricey wine to make it. Go with the less expensive wine; you're going to fancy it up with fruit/juice etc. No need to splurge! 

White Peach Sangria (I might nix the schnapps), I'd use this vinho verde.  

Citrus and Basil Sangria via What's Gaby Cooking. This one might be a little more involved but it looks delicious! 

Blackberry Sangria. Looks easy and delicious! 

Let me know if you try one of these! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Meet Jacques, The Deep Tea Diver

Its a downpour in the Distict today. I braved the weather to let Riley do her business in the great outdoors, and grab some almond milk from the market across the street. I was outside for a total of twenty seconds and I'm soaked. (So is the couch/ living room rug because I cannot train the dog not to jump/roll on everything before I get a chance to dry her off). I'm fine with the weather. I have to be inside studying anyway, so it may as well rain. Cliche incoming . . . Misery loves company. 

Wanna know what else I love? My new tea infuser. When you're trying to save money you have to appreciate the little things. So meet Jaques, the deep tea diver

Cute. Yes? Loose leaf tea is actually a better bargain than the sachets you'll get at a grocery store. Also, it tastes much better. You'll just need an infuser. You can buy Jacques at the link above or one of these other cute ideas: 

I like this, but I'm legitimately terrified of sharks. 

For Beatles fans: Yellow Submarine. 

There are many more options out there, find one you like!