Tuesday, March 20, 2018

My Spring Shopping Essentials

Happy first day of Spring! Sadly, it's not feeling too much like spring here - we're still dealing with 30 degree weather. But that's not stopping me from bringing out some of my favorite spring pieces. Below, I'm sharing my twelve fashion essentials everyone needs for springtime.

1. A striped jumpsuit that's perfect for a night out.
2. Espadrille sneakers that are simple, but cute.
3. Embroidered jeans to add extra detail to any outfit.
4. A pastel crossbody bag for a pop of color.
5. A floral blouse to celebrate spring blooms.
6. A classic jean jacket for those cooler nights.
7. A striped midi dress that easily goes from day to night.
8. Pastel tassel earrings for the "wow" factor.
9. A pair of sunglasses for those bright days.
10. A gingham top for a trendy look.
11. A gold-accented watch for some arm candy.
12. A set of stackable bracelets to pair with your watch.

Even more variety below!













Happy first day of Spring!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Trusting in God's Plan for my Future

"Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There's not a day ahead You have not seen
So let all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less."

If you've been reading my blog for a little while, you know that I've been in limbo with my job and where I want to start building my life. Back in June, I started a 3-month HR internship at my current company. It was continually extended a month at a time, until January. The team that I was working with thought I'd be offered a full-time role during that month, since I had been in talks about it since December. However, that wasn't the case. I was, instead, offered a 3-month contract.

Before I started my internship, I had been thinking about going back to California. I moved to Illinois at the end of 2015 and felt like I had given it my best shot. Then, this internship opportunity came up. I'd always wanted to work for this company, so it was something I couldn't pass up. Then, when my contract was offered, I started thinking about California again.

I took this as a sign from God. If, a year later, I was still thinking about California, maybe I was supposed to go back there. God had provided me a job that would keep me employed, while also giving me time to search for a job back in the Bay. I began applying to companies throughout the Bay Area in hopes something would happen before the end of my contract. And something did.

I started interviewing for a company in San Francisco, all the way up to the VP of HR. I had my fourth interview on Wednesday and then, on Monday, out of no where, my company offered me a full time job. I was completely caught off guard.

Why now God? What am I supposed to choose? I had so many questions swirling around my head. Rather than be really excited about the role, I was lost. I just wanted a clear direction. And to confuse things even more - when I told my sister, she said she had been praying for me the night before about God creating a clear path for me, and then I was offered this role.

The next week felt like a rollercoaster of emotions. I'm not someone who gets stressed, but oh boy was I stressed. I've never thought so hard about a job. Do I choose the one that is a level up in a city I've been in for 9 months or do I choose the job in a city I've been wanting to go back to?

There was a lot riding on these two roles for me. This would be where I would begin building my life. Where I'd hopefully meet my future husband. Where I'd fully embrace putting down roots. I was sick of being in limbo and only knowing what was going to happen at a couple months' time. I wanted a set plan and I so desperately didn't want to make the wrong choice.

Then, on Sunday night, the night before I had to tell my company my decision, I had a conversation with my mom. I woke up Monday morning feeling secure in my decision to stay with my current company.

Choosing the best path when given two equally exciting ones is hard. Listening to God and trying to decipher the direction He wants your life to go is hard. Trusting in God's plan is hard. He finds interesting ways to test our faith in Him. I was put in a position that, albeit happy, was one I never thought I'd be in. I assumed I'd be offered one job and it would be a clear answer as to where God wanted me. But it wasn't that simple.

Today, I officially begin my new role and I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

My Love Language

While I was in California, my friends and I decided to take the Five Love Languages quiz. I thought it'd be fun to share my results on the blog today.

What is the Five Love Languages? Simply put, the Five Love Languages is a book and quiz that measures how you give and receive love. There are five primary ways that each person communicates love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

My Scores (out of 12):
Quality Time = 11
Words of Affirmation = 8
Receiving Gifts = 7
Acts of Service = 2
Physical Touch = 2

My Primary Love Language is Quality Time. This means that I communicate love with undivided attention. To show your love and care for me, I need people to show that they're there for me. Spending uninterrupted time talking with someone or doing activities together deepens my connection to others. Sharing time is key to building a lasting relationship with me.

Why this fits: I love spending time with people. Throughout high school and into my adult life, I've always loved hosting gatherings. Being surrounded by people and building relationships through deep conversation or a shared event is something I thrive on.

My Secondary Love Language is Words of Affirmation. This means that I love to hear the reasons behind an "I love you." Unsolicited compliments can mean the world to me, while insults aren't easily forgotten.

Why this fits: One of my favorite things to receive are handwritten cards. In my last relationship, we would always write each other letters on special anniversaries or dates. It was exactly what I needed to feel the love from him. The same goes for friends. Hearing the reason behind their love for me fills me with happiness.

My (other) Secondary Love Language is Receiving Gifts. This doesn't mean that I love the things, but rather the thought that goes into them. A gift or gesture that shows me that you know me and listen shows me that I'm cared for. Gifts are heartfelt symbols of someone's love and affection.

Why this fits: I love to give gifts. Coming up with the perfect little something for someone, whether on a birthday or just because I'm thinking of them, is something I truly enjoy. It would make sense, then, that I appreciate when others put in that kind of effort for me.

My two minor Love Languages are Acts of Service and Physical Touch. This means that I don't feel love through people helping me with things or giving me hugs or thoughtful touches.

Why this fits: I'm not going to lie to you, I'm a control freak. I don't particularly like it when people do things for me. Don't get me wrong, when someone makes me dinner or helps me in little ways, I appreciate it, but it's not something I need often. The same goes for personal touch. For instance, I'll hug my friends hello, but I don't want to sit too close to them on the couch.

Interested in learning what your Love Language is? Take the quiz here!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Influential Women in My Life

Throughout my life, I've had the blessing of being surrounded by some really incredible women. Women who have loved me, encouraged me, and shown me what true femininity looks like. Today, in honor of International Women's Day, I'm sharing five of those women with you.

My sister has been through a lot in her short 24 years; more than many experience in a lifetime. Most people would crumble, but she's become the strongest version of herself. In the past year, she's fully come into her own. She knows what she wants and goes after it. She laughs constantly and finds joy in so many places. She's always striving to be better, whether through healthy meal creations, counseling, or getting involved in her church. She's one of the biggest influences in my life. I always want to be a good older sister, mentor, friend, confidant, and role model for her.

You know how some people are just meant to be moms? That's mine. It says a lot when all of your friends, from each place you've lived, love your mom. And for good reason. She is always willing to open her home up for others, something that I hope to carry on when I have my own place. She cares deeply for all those in her life. From my dad to my sister and me; from her friends to her family. Regardless of what's going on in her own life, she always makes time for others, making sure they feel loved and special. She has such a servant heart, always looking for ways to better the lives of those around her.

My Aunt Lorri is one of my biggest spiritual influences. Difficult experiences have occurred in her life, but she's never lost sight of the One who saved her. She's bold in her faith. She isn't afraid to challenge God when things aren't going the way she expected, but always sees His grace prevail. She's told me stories of times where she's just dropped to her knees and cried out to God - that is the kind of faith that inspires others. Her soul is filled with the love of Christ, which she uses to show love to others in her everyday life.

Some of my fondest memories are shared with my Grandma; from sitting on her floor, drinking tea and talking about Grandpa (whom I never met), to all those nights I stayed over at her place. She was always so interested in my life, making sure that she was caught up on all aspects. She was goofy, spontaneous, strong, and confident. She was a survivor. For the past decade, my grandma has suffered from quickly-progressing Alzheimer's. I've seen the person I knew change into one that's hard to recognize. Every once in a while, though, I catch a glimpse of the her I grew up with. I see her smile, her dance, her joke, and I'm reminded of all of those memories that I'm so fond of.

My gammy was the epitome of class and sophistication. She carried herself in a way that people noticed. She commanded respect, but in a way that was so subtle. Sometimes, though, you'd catch her making an inappropriate joke. That giggle that came with it was one of my favorite things about her. She's always inspired me both in the way I carry myself and in my creativity. Even as she aged, she never lost sight of her poise and grace. She passed away two years ago, but continues to serve as an everlasting role model. Even from above, she's influencing my life.

Happy International Women's Day everyone!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

My February Recap & March To Dos

My oh my, February was busy - but in the best way. I turned 26, saw friends every weekend, and took a trip back to California. With March officially beginning, I know I'm looking at a less hectic month; and I'm kind of glad. See below for what I have going on this month!

Start "Mission Get Back Into Shape" by eating healthier and working out.
This has effectively moved to March.

Start my new job as a Talent Engagement Specialist.
I have officially been a TES for one month!

Go on a weekend ski trip with friends (and learn to ski).
I fell a few times, but it was amazing! You can read about it here.

Celebrate turning 26.
Celebrated with friends and a 26 Things at 26 list.

Test my artistic skills at Paint Nite.
This is how I celebrated my birthday - painting and drinking wine with friends.

Host a Galentine's Day sleepover.
What a blast! You can read all about our festivities here.

Spend time with friends while visiting California.
Spending almost 2 weeks in California was a dream.

Visit my endocrinologist while in San Francisco.
We determined a new strategy to combat my illness.

See a movie in theaters at least once.
It wasn't a new movie, but I did attend a Little Mermaid sing-along.

Start a bullet journal.
I never ordered one! Still planning on it, though.

Accept one of two full-time job offers.

Attend downtown Naperville's Spring Fashion Show.

Celebrate my mom's and Bethany's birthday.

Celebrate the women in my life on International Women's Day.

Begin sorting my things into: keep, donate, trash, garage sale.

Celebrate a friend and her baby boy at her baby shower.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in style.

Start working out twice a week.

Move my sister's fiancé into his new apartment.

Enjoy the weather as we move from winter into spring.

Happy March everyone!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Trip Recap: Back to the Bay

For the past two weeks, I've been back in the Bay Area of California. I hadn't been back in almost a year and a half, so having the opportunity to be there as long as I did was great. I not only saw friends from high school and college, but experienced working in San Francisco for my company. My complete itinerary, along with some photos, are below.


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16: San Francisco + Morgan Hill
Morning: Spend time on Pier 1 in San Francisco.
Afternoon + Evening: Drive to Morgan Hill to visit my high school friend, Kiley, her husband, Daniel, and their adorable boy, Oliver.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17: Morgan Hill + Sacramento
Morning: Eat breakfast with Kiley's family.
Afternoon: Drive to Sacramento.
Evening: Go to Iron Horse Tavern for dinner with Clara, Marie, and Alaa. (I had a mac and cheese sampler that was so tasty!) After, go to Biergarten for drinks.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18: Sacramento
Morning: Go for brunch at Crepeville.
Afternoon: Go on an Ikea and Target trip with Clara.
 Evening: Take the 5 Love Languages quiz with Clara and her girlfriend, Jamie. (Later in March, I'll share my findings with you!)

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19: Sacramento
Morning: Eat Emma's homemade breakfast (waffles, whipped cream, and bacon galore!)
Afternoon: Play indoor glow-in-the-dark mini putt at Monster Mini Golf. (I came in second!) Eat lunch at Mimi's Cafe.

TUEADAY, FEBRUARY 20: San Francisco + Alameda
Morning + Afternoon: Work from my company's San Francisco office.
Evening: Drive to Alameda to have dinner at Bluefin Sushi Thai (a combo Japanese-Thai restaurant) with my high school friend, Katherine.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21: San Francisco + Emeryville
Morning + Afternoon: Continue to work out of my company's San Francisco office.
Evening: Drive to Emeryville for a going away party (and enjoy the hot tub).

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22: San Francisco
Morning + Afternoon: Continue to work out of my company's San Francisco office.
Evening: Have a cozy night in with Marie.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23: Marin + Mountain View + San Francisco
Morning: Drive to Marin for my endocrinologist appointment. (Despite moving to Chicago, I kept my specialist in California as he knows my case really well.)
Afternoon: Explore downtown Mountain View with Clara.
Evening: Eat dinner at Emmy's Spaghetti Shack.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24: San Francisco
Morning: Eat brunch at Cafe Seventy8.
Afternoon: Ride Ford GoBikes into the Castro District. Go to a Little Mermaid sing-along at the Castro Theatre. (We got crowns, glow-sticks, and bubbles to use throughout the movie and poppers to set off during the wedding!) Explore the Castro, eat at Hot Cookie, shop at Cliff's Variety, and get pour-overs at Philz Coffee.
Evening: Meet Emma at Patxi's Pizza for dinner. Have ice cream at Salt & Straw.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25: San Francisco
Morning: Drink coffee outside and have breakfast.
Afternoon: Climb a million stairs and hills for a beautiful view of the city.
Evening: Go to dinner at Urban Putt with Marie's boyfriend, Chris, and friends.

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26: San Francisco
Morning + Afternoon: Work from my company's San Francisco office (and finally meet my manager in person!).
Evening: Spend my last night relaxing with Marie.

I had the absolute best time being back in the Bay!