The holiday season is my FAVORITE time of year! I’m just in an overall amazing mood. There’s decorations everywhere, Christmas music is always playing and the best Starbucks holidays drinks are out. Yum! I also love cozy winter gear. What I love most, though, are the HALLMARK CHANNEL CHRISTMAS MOVIES!
I may be outing myself as a huge loser BUT I can’t even count the amount of hours I spend watching these romantic Christmas movies starring the best C-list celebs! I know not everyone has cable so I have put together a list of Netflix movies that are similar to the ones you can catch on Hallmark:
12 Dates of Christmas
Amy Smart and Mark-Paul Gosselaar
This is another Groundhog’s Day/Christmas Everyday type movie and while this theme is a bit overdone, I still LOVED it! Also, Zach Morris is in it! That makes this an instant classic!
Karissa Lee Staples and Brant Daugherty
Do you miss the extremely attractive Noel Khan from Pretty Little Liars? You can reunite with him for about 90 mins without all of the evil plots and decapitation. (Gross, I know but that’s how he exited PLL.) I promise he survives in this one!
A Christmas Kiss
Elisabeth Röhm and Brendan Fehr
A stranger kisses you under a mistletoe located in an elevator you just walked in. Hmm, sounds creepy but they somehow made it look enticing.
Haylie Duff and Nicholas Gonzalez
Listen, Haylie’s acting is not the best but who doesn’t love a corny movie starring one of the gorgeous Duff sisters?
A Dogwalker’s Christmas Tale
Jonathan Bennett andLexi Giovagnoli
Grool…Drool, whatevs! It’s not October 3rd but, you can catch Jonathan Bennett in with some furry friends and romance. The best combo!
A Christmas Prince
Rose McIver andBen Lamb
Royalty is all the rage right now with the newly engaged Meghan Markle and Prince Harry plastering the covers of every mag. Continue that theme with this adorable flick!
A Christmas Kiss II
Elisabeth Harnois and Adam Mayfield
If you loved A Christmas Kiss, watch the (completely unrelated) sequel! That mistletoe in the elevator is making more love connections than eHarmony. Jonathan Bennett also plays the super cool best friend in this one. Looks like he’s found himself a life after Mean Girls!
Samaire Armstrong andMatthew Lawrence
An O.C. alum AND a Lawrence brother? Psh, my inner teenage girl is melting! I’m sold on this one already!
These are super cheesy and way too predictable but that’s just the way I like them! Now, get started ASAP! January will be here before you know it!
For most writers, me included, writing is a release. It’s our art. We do it because it’s our talent and it makes us feel a certain way when we do it. In addition to that, though, here’s a few other reasons why I write:
I write because I have experienced things in my life and I like to share those stories for people who can relate. I like to offer solutions and a different point of view for those seeking insight. I want to inspire millennial women to speak up for themselves, recognize their worth and demand the respect they deserve.
I write because America elected a president who’s inexperienced, disrespectful and unwilling to see beyond his own disturbed mind. I want to show the uninformed Americans that he preys on by spreading “fake news” and encouraging rage, hate and prejudice that they made a mistake and it’s time to correct it.
I write because I know how to score a good bargain and I want to share that information. I want people to save a little cash and still look great. I want people to know to walk to the back of the store, check the clearance first and if they don’t find something with a red tag that they love, then they should work their way up to full price. Duh! 🙂
I write because I want people to know it is possible to care about pop culture and politics. It is realistic to have a passion for both.
I write because I want moms to know that it’s okay if they’re not perfect, it’s okay that they may lose it every now and then and that it’s okay to throw their hair in a messy top knot and handle business in a pair of leggings. #LikeABoss
I write because I want people to know about the shows I watch, the influencers I love and the music that gets me going. They may just love it too.
I could probably write a whole book about the reasons why I write but I’ll stop here. You guys get the point, I’m sure. Writing is something to celebrate and whether writing is your profession, your art to share with the world in your free time or something you do for yourself in a private journal, today is your day! Happy National Writing Day!
My husband has been telling me amazing things about Brewnuts, a Cleveland donut company started by married couple, Shelley and John Pippen. They have only done pop-up shops for the past few years but they now have their own trendy and cute donut bar on the corner of 65th and Detroit in the up and coming neighborhood of Cleveland’s Gordon Square.Brewnuts has only been open a couple of weeks and my husband has already paid them three or four visits. I finally tagged a long with him last Friday. Donuts are my favorite food so I knew I was going to love this place but it exceeded my expectations.
Because of their growing popularity, they can sell out pretty fast before they’re able to replenish. Cleveland was, clearly, more than ready for them to open up shop. I suggest following them on Instagram so you can track their stock before going. They are really good about reporting when they sell out and what time they’ll have more. It was late in the evening when we went so chocolate frosted (with sprinkles), strawberry frosted (with sprinkles) and Fruity Pebbles were all we had to choose from. I went with Fruity Pebbles, of course, and I was NOT disappointed. It was addicting. If I had not eaten dinner right before we arrived, I could have easily eaten two or three of them! Don’t judge me! Like I said, donuts are my favorite food.
Brewnuts is also a bar, giving us the option to order beer or coffee along with their delicious donuts. I am really into the fall season so I also ordered a Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy, although, I was really tempted to order coffee because they brew Phoenix Coffee there. Phoenix is another Cleveland business and it also happens to be my favorite coffee ever!
The space itself is so cute! I’ve been eyeing their awesome, neon pink signs since before they opened. I have got to get more photos there! The inside is fun with cool seating. There are tall and short tables and a comfy couch. It reminds me of a vintage soda shop with a modern spin.They also have some artwork by Glen Infante, owner of Ilthy, yet another Cleveland based business. (Cleveland sounds awesome now that I think about it.) A lot of his pieces include a combination of pop culture and pink frosted donuts so, it’s definitely perfect for Brewnuts.
Even their bathroom is cute! So much pink!
I loved it so much that my husband and I woke up bright and early Sunday morning so we could arrive right at 8:00am when they opened. Since we got there so early, we had more of a variety to choose from. I got that coffee I wanted and scored a pumpkin cheesecake filled donut. My husband ordered his favorite, chocolate frosted. SO GOOD!
I highly recommend hitting up Brewnuts as soon as possible. The service is wonderful, the beer is cold, the coffee is hot and the donuts are to die for! I will say that they are more expensive than your average donut shop but they’re just simply NOT you’re average donut shop. You get what you pay for in this case, I promise you!
Here’s a mini look into our experience Friday night.
Celebrities have been quite outspoken about their negative feelings toward President Donald Trump. The defense of Trump sympathizers is to respond by drawing attention to things these celebrities have done and said. They point out roles they’ve played or materials they’ve written.
Ben Shapiro’s response to Stephen King’s tweet is the example that stands out in my mind, although, I have seen similar comments countless times.
Now, while I completely agree with Ben that this scene is disturbing and horrific but comparing a horror fiction writer to the leader of the free world is apples to oranges. I also took King’s tweet sarcastically. His mention of a “severely fucked-up mind,” to me, is like he’s also poking fun at himself by referencing the type of mind you’d have to channel to write books like his. I think this went way over Ben’s head. Comparing the man who wrote a fictitious book about a psychotic clown who preys on children to the man who represents the United States of America to the entire world is just asinine.
I have also seen mention of people who adore Hugh Hefner but don’t particularly like President Trump. Yes, Hugh Hefner created a men’s magazine that sexualized women. Yes, he’s had multiple young girlfriends at one time. Hugh Hefner, though, does not make decisions on behalf of the United States of America. Hugh is not the face and the voice of the U.S. Agreeably, Hugh Hefner would have had no place in politics. He was in the entertainment business and people adore him for his place in that particular industry. He is an entertainment icon. What most may not know is, he’s actually a veteran. He was in the Army from 1944 to 1946. While he didn’t spend much time in the military, he voluntarily joined before being honorably discharged. Which is more than we can say about President Trump who avoided the draft. Yes, I just threw a little shade. 😎
Now I’m going to tell you why I am so passionate about these apples to oranges comparisons. Celebrities do not make decisions about our healthcare. Stephen King’s books have zero impact on women’s reproductive rights. Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle has no impact on LGBTQ rights, although he was an advocate for the cause. Neither of them were or ever will be in charge of making decisions about immigration, armed forces, civil rights, the national budget and foreign affairs. The list could go on an on. We’re going to be much more strict on who we have in the oval office than we are on who’s books sit on the shelves of our bookstores and who’s lives we celebrate when they pass.
This comparison makes sense if we’re comparing celebrities to Donald Trump, the reality star, but once he swore in as the President of the United States, actually once he decided to run for office, he was no longer just an entertainer. He is our leader and he needs to represent us with class. He has yet to do so and I hope we continue to hold him accountable for his words and actions until he either changes or is removed from office.
After opening up my WordPress account for my blog last year, my second action was to create an Instagram account separate from my personal. I started following publications like Cosmopolitan, Elle, Pop Sugar, Marie Claire, etc. I also followed my favorite stores like Forever 21, J Crew, Windsor, and Target, of course. Because of these selections, Instagram suggested I follow certain bloggers, YouTubers and models. This is how I became familiar with most of the influencers I have highlighted in this post. They are all amazing, affordably stylish (which is key for me when looking for inspo) and they each have different qualities that inspire me.
Get to know my favorite Instagram influencers.
Audrie started in 2014 just sharing her personal style on Instagram which has since gained popularity, having over 91k followers. This reach then carried over to her YouTube channel, with over 62k subscribers and over two million views. Her husband, Raleigh Wilson, doubles as her photographer and videographer (same, girl)! Content they’ve created together has been featured by brands like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, Converse, Google and many editorial sites.
Now that you have her Insta backstory, what I love about Aurdrie are her positive vibes and California style. I’ve only visited California once when I was really little but I have always gravitated toward Cali fashion and vibes. I love her fluid, floral and back detailed looks. You can find her in affordable outfits by Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, pacsun and many other attainable brands if you’re on a budget. She also is a good example for me as I am not very comfortable in front of the camera and you’ll see that a lot of her photos picture her looking away from the camera. This helps me see how I can provide content on my Instagram and blogs without staring right into the lens.
She also mentioned in a Q & A video that her biggest pet peeve is when people try to manipulate other people, which is also my biggest pet peeve! I watch her videos a lot because I eventually want to expand to YouTube and again, she’s a great example to learn from.
I’ve known about Alba for a few years. I think my friend Annarica sent me her Instagram account to influence me to rock my natural curls. I have yet to make a permanent crossover to the curly lifestyle but Alba makes it look tempting. She is closer to my age and is also living the married mommy life. She promotes healthy lifestyles using “organic beauty and non-toxic everything,” as she states in her Insta bio. From diet, exercise, skin and hair, Alba has us covered!
Alba has over 907k YouTube subscribers and over 371k Instagram followers. You’ll often see her partnering up with brands like Shea Moisture. If you’re looking to revamp your products and routines in a more natural and healthy direction, start with Alba.
What’s unique about New Darlings is that they are a husband and wife blogging duo. Robert and Christina married in 2013 and began their joint blog in 2015 to share their newlywed lives in their new home of Phoenix, Arizona. They are both originally from New York. With 403k Instagram followers, the couple shares their style, home decor and travel experiences. Their looks are very J Crew and Madewell, which I love, and Christina can be seen almost always with a top knot, which I love even more! Being a newlywed, myself, it’s refreshing to see influencers that represent the fun side of marriage.
Alexis is both a wife and mom, like me, so it’s definitely nice to have someone like her to relate to. Her blog, Alternative Indigo, started much like Audrie’s by just simply sharing her amazing, personal style on Instagram and grew much larger into a Fashion and Lifestyle Journal. With over 103k followers, Alexis shares her everyday style and personal stories. She even beautifully documented her birthing story on YouTube and Instgram this past summer.
I don’t follow many models because I like to follow models who’s body types are similar to mine as it’s pointless, in my opinion, to see clothes on a different body type. I just really get my hopes up when I’m inspired by look that doesn’t fit my figure, which is a smaller waist with larger hips, thighs and bottom. I’m not identical to Sofia’s modelesque bod, 24″ waist and 36″ hips, but she does have that slim thick look that is closer to mine. I’ve seen Sofia’s work while shopping online with two of my favorite stores, Forever 21 and Windsor, and I see that she is now modeling for Fashion Nova and Kylie Comestics. I don’t shop Fashion Nova or Kylie’s line but they are huge brands right now so Sofia’s modeling career is clearly on the up and up! Sofia is signed to both Freedom Models LA and Next Miami. She has over one million followers on Instagram, making her one of the more popular influencers on my list.
Sarah is my hair guru! I’ve always straightened my hair with only a flat iron. I never thought I’d be able to blow dry my own hair. Sarah proved me wrong with her blow dry tutorial that has saved my life! My hair is voluminous, healthy and growing much faster because of this new routine and frequent trims.
Sarah is a hairstylist with over 7 years experience. She started doing hair tutorials on Instagram just for fun in 2015. These tutorials blew up so much, with over three million followers on Instagram and 437k followers on YouTube, she was able to quit her job and make a career for herself on social media. Jealous!
If you don’t already, follow one, some or all of these amazing accounts on Insta and/or YouTube, I have hyperlinked their accounts throughout this blog!
Not sure how September is going where you’re at but here in Cleveland, it’s cool and breezy in the morning and a little warmer in the afternoon. I am loving it because, like any other basic, I’m OBSESSED with autumn! Summer is too hot, winter is too cold and who doesn’t love pumpkin everything, the color changing leaves and prime-time television premiers? The real struggle is, what should we wear? This weird, in between thing Mother Nature puts us through can be confusing but I’m here to offer a little advice on transitioning from summer to autumn!
Wear tights under your dresses and throw on a blazer, sweater or jacket
I love opaque tights. They’re thick, warm and more durable so they’ll last a while. My absolute favorite tights are from J Crew but here, I am wearing Forever 21 tights. They are just as good for a fraction of the cost.
Blazers, leather or denim jackets and boyfriend cardigans are easy to throw over a dress you’ve been rocking all summer to get you in the groove for fall.
Bring out your boots
Short booties are awesome transition pieces as they won’t make your legs hot and you can wear them with your summer dresses, skirts and cropped pants
Scarves on scarves
Throwing on a scarf immediately makes you look more “fall”. This is such an easy and affordable way to look equipped for a breezy day.
Start transitioning your nail polish from bright to dark
Leave your pinks and yellows in August and say hello to maroons, dark greens and oranges and maybe even black, if you’re like me! I LOVE black polish!
Weave in earth tone pieces
Just like your nails, ditch some of your neon and pastel tops and bring out your black, brown, tan and other earth tone tees, tanks and bodysuits. You can pair these with darker denim, baggier boyfriend jeans or leggings.
Pair your fluid summer pants or skirts with a sweater
Unpack your sweaters and rock them with your long, fluid summer bottoms. It’s different, comfy and creates a whole new look without having to spend money on shopping.
Transitioning to fall can be super easy with a little creativity! Happy Fall, Y’all!
Starting a new career is so exciting. We apply to countless job postings in effort to move forward, we finally land an interview which could lead to second or even third interviews and then, if we’re lucky, get the call that we have been selected! Awesome, right? While it is a truly awesome thing, it can be very scary to move on.
For me, I had been working at my first Public Relations job for a little over four years. This company was the first in the industry to give me a chance. I am grateful for them. The perks were superb; my co-workers were awesome, I was close to my manager, I got free garage parking in downtown Cleveland, the culture was great, we got free soda, I had nearly 30 days in PTO and the holiday parties were raging! I could probably go on and on about what I left behind but I had learned all I could from the position and capped out at a senior title. I also wanted to go into the nonprofit sector and have a career with more purpose. It was time to go. I luckily landed a Donor Relations position at a local nonprofit that helps people in the community get access to physical and mental healthcare, career coaching and much more. This is the direction I wanted my career to go.
With all that being said, transitioning is hard and I want to give a few tips, speaking from experience, on starting a new job:
Your last paycheck at your previous job will be mailed
This is severely inconvenient but it is standard. Your last paycheck is mailed and could take up to seven days to arrive. This means that you will receive your pay later than usual and will need to either save up money to cover any bills due within that time or just to have money in your pocket. Also keep in mind that there may be a delay in your paycheck at your new job, depending on what point in the pay period you were hired. Having a little cushion in this time will be crucial to your financial well-being.
“In case of doubt, overdress…” until you learn the dress code
My previous job sent me information with my offer letter about the dress code so I was well informed. My current job sent over a handbook and I searched the large document for the dress code policy and found nothing. I dressed business casual on my first day based on what I observed at my interview, to be safe. I learned that day, in orientation, that there wasn’t an official dress code. We were to dress according to department. My department never wears jeans but they don’t wear suits either so, my observation was correct. Pay attention to the people around you and always remember to dress for the position you want. Clothes aren’t everything but they do represent you. You may look a little overdressed at times but that’s not a bad thing. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”- Oscar Wilde
Bring pens, notebooks, highlighters, a coffee mug, eating utensils and a water cup. Unless told, you don’t know what supplies are available for you. My current job has disposable coffee cups and actually provided us with a company logo water tumbler but I was at least prepared. I also don’t want to be wasteful by using the disposable cups. Having your own mug is eco friendly, y’all! You’ll definitely need to take notes so always have a notebook and pen. I’m a highlighter junkie so I always make sure I have those as well. Being prepared takes away a lot of the first day jitters. Trust me, you’ll feel much more organized.
Arrive ready to learn
Whether you’re entering a new career, like myself, or staying in the same realm, there’s always something to learn. Don’t cut corners on the note taking and take in as much as possible without overwhelming yourself. Remember that it’s okay to ask questions.
Get a lot of rest
With all that learning, you’re going to need your rest. At least for the first couple weeks, turn in early. Tell your friends you have to skip happy hour because you need sleep and can’t afford the hangover! You may become overwhelmed and will need this rest to recharge. Celebrate your first couple weeks at your new job in a couple of Fridays once you have your duties down packed!
Bring your lunch or research restaurants nearby in advance
I like to pack my lunch. If you go this route, pack your lunch in a bag with an ice pack. You don’t know the refrigerator situation until you get there. If this is a new area you’re working in and want to go out for lunch, google some lunch spots in advance so you’re not wasting your lunch hour hunting for something you like.
Observe and/or ask about the rules
If you’re sent a handbook by Human Resources, read it and learn it. Most of your questions about pay periods, rules, regulations and standard operating procedures will be in there. This will avoid you asking the questions and looking like you didn’t read what they gave you. Ask your co-workers or observe what they’re doing when it comes to having your cellphone out, eating at your desk, internet browsing and all of those other little things I’m sure you’re all wondering that may not be listed in the handbook. I’m always afraid to ask those questions so I tend to observe and follow the veterans’ lead on these things.
Look at this as a fresh start
Remember when a new semester would start and we’d say to ourselves, “I’m going to be awesome this semester?” We’d make promises to ourselves, no procrastinating, all A’s, Dean’s List, no partying,” and then we’d eventually fall off the wagon? Go into your new job with this exact attitude and actually execute! This isn’t school, it’s your well-being. It’s how you’ll continue your career, make a name for yourself in the industry and how you’ll take care of your household. Do everything to the best of your ability and use this to accelerate your career.