Monday, January 26

Review: Club W

I tried out Club W through Influenster, where I got my first purchase of three wines for $25! Wine? For a discount? YES MA'AM.

I think the ultimate idea behind Club W is so cool - you pick out wines, based on your taste profile, and they're shipped to you in special packaging to keep them safe. I chose a pino gris and two sauvignon blancs, and was excited to try out the flavors described! Usually I drink wine at home after dinner, but Club W reminded me that wine pairs with a lot of things (revolutionary, I know), which inspired me to pair the wines with foods like cheese and apples!

My favorite of the three wines was the pino gris - the Porter & Plot. It was essentially perfect - crisp, clean, light, floral, fruity - everything I'd ever want in a wine! I still kept the bottle, partially because it's so beautiful and partially so I don't forget what the wine's called!

When I was deciding whether or not to get another package from Club W (this time without the discount), I thought for a long time about what I liked about the service. What I decided was that I get the same, cheap wines at the grocery store each time I go because they're tasty and I know it's a safe bet... But what I love about Club W is the excitement of trying out new things! They're all wines I've never tried before but come recommended and described so that I'm confident that I'll at least enjoy the wines. Plus, the wines aren't just local, and a lot of them are organic or sustainable, from ethical sources!

Ultimately, I decided not to purchase again. I decided to make an effort to go out and buy wines around town that I haven't tried before. It's cheaper, and has the same appeal that Club W had for me. If I had more of a disposable income, I may have stayed with Club W. Additionally, they recommend you send the wine to your place of work, since you need to sign for the wine. I was lucky enough to be home when the shipment came in, but if I hadn't, it might have been a real hassle to get.

I still think it's a great service, but maybe one better suited for people who have a full-time job and more disposable income than I do! As for me, I'll stick with wine from the grocery or liquor store.

If you're still interested in Club W, here's a link to try it out:

Sunday, January 11

Driving Travel Tips!

I love taking long driving trips! I love the time alone (or with someone you can stand for long periods of time) in the car. I love having time to think and time to listen to music. It's soothing as well as being stressful at times, but sometimes it just feels good to get the hell out of your house for a while, haha.

Sometimes, it just makes more sense to fly. Depending on how many people are flying and if you have pets, a ticket can be anywhere from $150 to $900. If it's just you and you want to get there fast, flying's probably the way to go. But things get a little more complicated when you have a few people, and even more complicated when you have pets that need to be transported. Ultimately, driving with J and two cats is cheaper for me than flying, even counting getting a hotel for the night.

One thing I really enjoy about driving - and that is worth more to me - is that I am in charge of the trip. I am in charge of when I leave. I don't have to wait for late staff. I am in charge of the temperature of the air conditioning and can make the car as comfortable as I'd like. I don't have to sit in a tube of farts a zillion feet up into the air, haha. I can choose when we stop or when we take a break. I really, really like being in charge of my own "fate," if you will.

Here are a few tips I've learned from driving long distances:

1) Buy food beforehand.

I can't tell you how much you'll appreciate this once you've been in the car for a few hours. Don't stop at a gas station and eat terrible food just because you're tired and hungry - you'll pay too much and you'll waste time you could be getting to your destination sooner! Buying food beforehand helps you to make better and healthier choices. I like having a variety of foods in the car - some salty, some sweet, some crunchy, etc. And as much as I love stopping for coffee (and it IS necessary sometimes), it's also nice to prepare yourself with caffeine in the car to begin with!

I also bought two huge plastic bottles of water before I left Concord instead of buying a bunch of water bottles or buying water on the way - they were $1 each, and we never ran out of water! I filled up my reusable camelback throughout the trips, stayed hydrated, and spent $2 on water for four days in the car.

2) Fill up on gas when your gas meter's halfway down (and avoid New Jersey).

This is something I learned from J on our first road trip, and it's been such a useful tool! In my world, it seems like you should fill up on gas at the last possible moment, but when you're driving long distances, that's a really terrible idea. That's basically begging the universe to screw you over. Filling up when you're at the halfway point assures that at some point before you run out of gas, you'll for sure find a station. Also, avoid New Jersey. I mean, for a whole heap of reasons, but you can't self-serve in NJ, which means you have to wait in a line to have someone else do what you're fully capable of doing yourself. It's awkward and easily avoidable. Fill up over the border if you must, but avoid NJ.

3) Pack an overnight bag separate from your big suitcase.

When you have a huge suitcase in the back of your car, it can be a huge hassle to lug it in and out of the car, especially just for the night. Instead, packing a small overnight bag with your toiletries and a change of clothes is a huge lifesaver! It's easy to take in and out, and it'll fit pretty easy in the back of the car. 

4) Two is better than one.

I've driven by myself for an entire two-day trip as well as half of my trip down to Hilton Head this past December before I picked up J the next day! And both times, I did okay. It's kind of nice to have alone time, but it's a lot safer and more fun to have another person in the car with you.

Leif is a whiny cat, and by myself, I couldn't control or comfort him in the car without taking my eyes off the road. Once J joined me the next day, he took on that roll and the trip was so much easier! It was also easier to stay alert because I had another person in the car to talk to. Moreso, if I needed to sleep or have J take over driving for a while, I could have.


I'm so glad to be back in Concord and out of the car, haha. It felt so good to sleep in my own bed last night, and it felt even better to have J here with me. I already miss my family terribly, but it's easier leaving knowing that I'll see them all over my "Winter" break in late February!

Have you ever driven long distances or gone on a road trip? How did you keep costs down? Do you have any additional tips?

Monday, January 5

The Most Popular Posts of 2014

Check out the most popular posts on Girl Named Fiddy this year!

Number 10: 

Number 9: 

Number 8: 

Number 7: 

Number 6:

Number 5:

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:

Number 1:

Before this post, I didn't know for sure which were the most popular posts of the year. To be honest, I'm really surprised by which ones were! I knew that I tended to get more hits with outfit posts or Stitch Fix posts, but I didn't expect them to be in the top 10. I especially didn't expect my most popular post of the year to be my tour of my Des Moines apartment this summer, haha. It was one of those posts that I thought would be fun to do, but I definitely didn't think it was that great of a post - especially compared to others!

I think my post about my 1L year of law school is the most useful and honest post I've ever done about law school, so I expected that to be a lot higher in the rankings. I also expected my post about wedding anxiety to be higher, as well as a few of my posts including lists or thoughts about law school. 

It just goes to show that just because you like something, it doesn't necessarily mean your readers do too, haha. Clearly my readership is interested in fashion and outfit posts! And thankfully, I like them too - they're just not my absolute favorite thing to write about.

What were you surprised about my top 10? Were you not surprised? What posts do you like to read the most?

Sunday, January 4

2014 in Review

New Year, more Peking Buffet // Margs at Chili's with J // Got my portrait taken by Stacia for her Feminist Photography Project
Birthday celebrations with friends in Concord // Happy Valentine's Day!
Beautiful memories with my family in Hilton Head

I loved having J visit Concord this spring // I hated having J leave // Brightened up my red!
My bowling team won best attitude // B-Wile and I kicked ass as Scotland in the Beer Olympics // Abby and I looked pretty good for the Barrister's Ball!
Mom came and visited Concord // Erica and I went to El Rodeo several times for date night

I gave blood for the first time // End of the year party at Hilary's // Studying for finals
Clean room, happy cat? // Got back to Iowa City and immediately got Hy Vee Chinese // Reading Game of Thrones in an IC coffee shop
Oyama sushi with J // Macy (RIP) // The view from my Des Moines apartment

So nice to spend time with J again // I got to Liz several times this summer // Mom received an award for being a badass and I got to meet Reka Basu
Go W/ The Flow Yoga with Liz & Macy // I met Maggie and found a bosom friend // A Dong's with J is the best kind of A Dong's
I got to see Chris and meet his lovely gf at Fong's // J and I got engaged // I got to see my favorite high school friends

Went fishing with J and my grandparents // Cuddles with my boys in IC // Animorphs on Netflix
J and I driving with the cats to Concord // Abby, Andrew, J and I headed to Ikea for the first time // My Ikea purchases
I had coffee with an amazing woman who also mediates // Erica came with me to a bridal show // I had an interview for a job with Legal Aid this summer

My cousin Brandee got married this fall and it was great to see all my loved ones // Daenerys for Halloween // Chase and I in Vegas
J and I enjoyed Vegas too // Drove to Hilton Head this winter to pick up J and see my family // I love my people
Christmas Eve feasting // Lots of love time for me and J // Grandma and Kichon on NYE

2014 was such an amazing year! I spent it with great friends, got to spend tons of time with my family, got a lot closer to my law school friends, and got to spend the summer in Des Moines (my favorite place besides London). 

This summer, I learned law, got over my fear of men on the city streets (seriously though), and joined an amazing yoga/barre studio. I got engaged to my best friend in the entire world in the presence of my family. I met inspirational lawyers, got super close to my DWS group, and learned a lot about technique and negotiation. 

I watched my cousin get married to a really great guy. I got to see and hear from J a lot more than last year, and went to Vegas for the first time! I lived with both of my cats, and drove through New York City on my way down for Christmas and NYE!

Being in law school, I can't really say that my year has been "easy" by any means, but it's been fun. I've had a great group of people around me and I'm so grateful for all that I've learned this year. It's definitely been a year of growth - I've really worked on not caring about other people's opinions, and relying instead on my own. I've worked hard to prove to myself that I can be tough while also being fair and nice, and I'm so impressed with what I've accomplished this year. And now I can't wait for 2015 and what it brings! :)

Happy 2015, everyone! I hope your 2014 was as great as mine. :)