Wednesday, January 27

10 Things I'm Loving

I just read a post from one of my favorite bloggers listing 10 things that were making her smile, and it was so positive. Even though I love Facebook for keeping track of my friends and family, it feels like most of what I see is negativity... especially given the election cycle happening around us. I loved that burst of happiness and positivity in my blog feed today, so I thought I'd pass it on!

(1) Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
I just started reading it this weekend, and even though I'm not very far into it yet, I really love it. She starts off the book basically being like, "Look, I'm not perfect in any single way, especially in my feminism. I'm trying my best and I will always try my best, but it's actually a really bad thing to hold everyone up to some unreachable feminist ideal, because it just sets us up for failure." She has this authenticity and genuine-ness to her writing that I wish I could emulate.

(2) "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys
It just came on my shuffle. Thank you, sweet Lord.

(3) Double-Coconut Oil Chocolate
I make coconut oil chocolate all the time, but this time, I added actual coconut to it. It is a REVELATION. I made it two different ways, and I can't figure out which way is cooler: The "chunks" of the coconut (SO CRUNCHY) or the jewels (easy to hold and eat, still lots of crunch on the inside). I used a jewel ice mold from Modcloth to make the shapes, and J has a coffee bean-shaped ice mold that I'm going to try next time!

(4) Really good workouts
I had a really fabulous workout this morning. I've done a 5K before, but I wouldn't call myself a runner - I mean, I'm pretty terrible at running, but it's something I want and need to work on. My heart rate is a bit high (screw you, genetics), and aerobic exercise is a really good preventative measure for keeping myself healthy long-term. I made a goal this year to run 8 miles at one time, so it feels really good to make progress like I did today!

(5) My schedule this semester
I had a rough last semester: I was working half days and then going to school the other half, and it was really hard to focus on either because I was always being pulled two different ways. This semester feels completely different (maybe because it's my last one and I can see the end in sight? Who knows!). I work full days on Tuesday and Thursday while still getting home at a decent hour, I have ONE class on Wednesdays and Fridays (*heart eyes*), and I actually really enjoy all of my classes this semester! On top of all of that, I think J and I are getting a lot better about forming (good) habits and making time for each other given our sometimes-hectic schedules.

(6) Functional Compromises
J and I have bought new hangers *three* times since he moved to New Hampshire. I swear, we never buy new clothes, but with Christmas and finally doing laundry, we're about 10 hangers short again. It's madness! I want to buy more, but I decided this morning that it's high time for me to do an annual sweep of my closet and purge it. We all tend to wear the same clothes over and over again, leaving that shirt in the back that you're just sure that you'll need for that perfect outfit one day. Ha! Time to go through my stuff and free up a few hangers!

(7) Really good selfies
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of the selfie. Listen - if you do or like something that makes you feel fabulous and doesn't hurt anyone, I am 100% in favor of it! So much of our society and advertising is based off making us feel inadequate, and I think selfies are a great way of proclaiming your own fabulousness to the world. If you feel beautiful and powerful and cool, awesome! I hate the idea that we (especially as women) are supposed to be demure and hate ourselves and our bodies and faces and write off compliments: "Oh my gosh, no - I look so bad today!" Screw that - if you feel amazing, own it!

(8) My outfit today
You can't see it and I don't have a picture to add, but it's pretty great: My fav black running leggings, my "In Memory of When I Cared" t-shirt, and a slouchy black cardigan my mom insists is mine (I don't think it is, but it's super comfortable and flattering and hell, I'll agree if I get to keep it). I have a meeting with a client later today, so I'll have to change eventually - but for now, I'm wearing what I want!

(9) Support before the New Hampshire Primary
I'm completely at an impasse between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and I don't know what to do. I took one of those quizzes about who you side with more, and I was 99% with Bernie and 96% with Hillary - not a big enough difference that I feel sure about a choice. I love Bernie's policies, but I personally love Hillary because she's a childhood hero of mine. Also, I know Martin O'Malley exists and he is fine but not for me. The struggle is real. Anyway, I've been really grateful recently because even though almost everyone I know has already decided, and seems to have really strong opinions on the two candidates, I feel like no one has pressured me or shamed me for not choosing yet. Instead, I've been given really good information, which I deeply appreciate!

(10) The X-Files is back!
This is pretty self-explanatory. I'm actually only caught up to the end of the 6th season (so I'm definitely not caught up to this new season), but I loved the first two episodes of the new season! Can't wait to see where this goes. Also, Gillian Anderson is a goddess.

Happy Wednesday, friends! :)

Saturday, January 23

My Last First Week of School

Hello, friends! Please excuse the little break I took from blogging over the past few days. I intended to write a post about my first day of school, but real life took over. I regret nothing. :)

Since we had Monday off for MLK Day, my first day of school wasn't until Tuesday. Lucky for me, Monday was also... my 26th birthday! I feel no different than I did at age 25, though I definitely think I've grown a lot emotionally and mentally. J took the best care of me all day - we relaxed, slept in (even though my original plan was to wake up early and go to the gym - you win some, you lose some), had some breakfast, ordered nachos from our fav Mexican restaurant in town (Hermanos "Betty and Shirl's" nachos are incredible), and ate them while we watched movies all day! It was super relaxing and what I really needed before starting my last semester of law school!

Can we take a second and recognize that I will be an actual lawyer in May?! This is insane to me. My professors keep telling us that we're totally ready, and it's not like I don't have confidence in myself. I've done well in school and gotten great feedback at all my jobs... But it feels like law school simultaneously went by so fast and also lasted forever, haha. It's so strange to think I'll be a practicing attorney in four months. What?!

But back on topic... My first week back was actually really great! I think it's going to be a really practical, fun semester. I'm only taking three classes, but I'm working for credit at a medical malpractice law firm in Manchester, the city over from Concord. 
  • I work at the firm full time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is nice because I have full days to get stuff done instead of starting and stopping projects on half days. Plus, the two attorneys I work for are actual angels, and I love the staff! Everyone has made me feel so welcome. While I worked at a "Med Mal" firm before law school, I wasn't actually doing any legal work (technically), so this is really my first experience doing it. So far, I'm still madly in love with employment law, but I like doing this work a lot more than I expected to!
  • On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have a class called "Federal Courts," which I thought was more about how to practice in the federal court system, but it turns out is also like Con Law on steroids. I was really worried that I couldn't keep up since I am not into the "philosophy" of law, but today's make-up class was SO fabulous and interesting, and I think I'm really going to love this class if I work really hard to keep up! :)
  • On Monday nights, I'm taking "Legal Practice Management," which was a class I added right before school started. It's basically about how to start up and manage a firm - not something I necessarily would have chosen for myself in a regular semester, but it worked really well with my schedule and I thought it would be cool to learn more practical skills before I jump out into the job market. It turns out this class is fabulous - it's a great group of only fifteen people, and we're doing a lot of simulated, interactive learning, which is totally my forte!
  • Lastly, I'm taking my final course in the Daniel Webster Scholar program! It's kind of a catch-all, making sure that we're really client-focused and -ready by the time we graduate in May. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I think it will be kind of like Federal Courts - if I really apply myself, I think the class is going to be a lot of fun and very useful! I'm excited to hone my client interviewing skills over the next few weeks.

That's basically been my whole week! Totally great, especially for law school. I've still been working out pretty regularly, though I admittedly haven't gone for a few days in a row. The apartment's a mess, which I'm hopefully getting to this weekend while I have some down time. Everything's going well in my world, if not a little chaotic. :)

Wednesday, January 13

Life Lately {vol. 54}

The absolute joy of knowing your finals are *thiiis* close to being over? PRICELESS.

J's sister, Jillian, got us some of the BEST Christmas presents this year! So grateful for how well she knows him (which is obvious - they're siblings) and me. :)

I flew into Iowa right after finals! J flew to Arizona the same day and I missed him, but I was so happy to have some time alone with my family!

Chase, Dad and I ended up going to Exile Brewery while we were in town. Their parm-truffle fries are TO-DIE for, but (of course) Chase told us later that they were "alright." Dude, if you didn't like them, you should have let me eat more! ;) I am powerless against them!

Chase and I got to have a brother-sister date, so we went out to eat at the Cheesecake Factory and then saw the new Star Wars movie! You don't need me to tell you it was fabulous.

Before we left Iowa, we had Christmas with my dad's side of the family! My little cousins are my WORLD. Actually perfect people.

I swear, every time I get off a plane, I develop some sort of sinus/cold problem.

J and I ended up getting a new setting for my engagement ring. I miss the old ring a lot (it had to get busted up to get the diamond out), but it was just impossible to find a wedding band to match it because of the two-tone colors and the shape. We decided it would just be easier to get a new setting, so I picked one out in Iowa while I visited and they shipped it to us in Hilton Head! The new setting is a plain, rose-gold, which will match the wedding band I picked out!

My dad's birthday is in December, so my mom made him this gorgeous cake from scratch! Isn't that cake stand stunning too?!

It always amazes me how gorgeous and wild my parent's home is.

My family's dog, Kichon, is such a sweetheart!

J's birthday is just a few days after my dad's, and also happens to be Christmas Eve! I think he was dreading the big two-six, but hopefully we gave him a good celebration. :)

I made bank in my stocking on Christmas! *heart eyes*

I also got new workout clothes for Christmas, and thankfully my family let me tag along with them to their local gym! It felt so good to be in a gym again!

My parents got J and I these ADORABLE felt mushrooms - I never knew I needed them, but now I can't imagine not having them! Aren't they perfectly ridiculous and precious?!

J got me the first three seasons of Ally McBeal for Christmas! I'm already almost on the third season (don't judge me - I love this stupid show, haha).

I was so pumped that we got to go to my favorite breakfast place on the island a few times! My current breakfast obsession is eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and the way they make it is perfect! I wish I had some right now, haha.

We didn't do too much for New Years Eve, but I did get cheap-ish champagne and raspberries! More importantly, I got to hang out with my family. Chase and I played Game of Thrones Risk (courtesy of J) and watched "The Imitation Game."

Exhibit A: Game of Thrones Risk! After an hour and a half, we really hadn't gotten very far, so we ended up negotiating a truce. I gave Chase two dragons to guard the Wall, and we married off Catelyn Stark and Barristan Selmy.

I made my family homemade salsa! It was a little hot for them, so we added more tomato paste than I regularly would have - but then again, I normally live with a guy who grew up in Arizona, so most of what I make is pretty spicy!

My mom and I stopped by Walgreens, and something seemed to be missing out of this nativity set...

I only went to the beach two or three times once J left. It was beautiful, but actually very cold. On Christmas, it was almost 80 degrees out (hot, even for Hilton Head), but afterwards the temperature dropped to the 50's and then 30's! The beach was extremely windy and bitterly cold.

My parents' neighbors invited us over for drinks one night, and I fell in love with their dog! Also, how beautiful is my mom in the background?! Uber babe!

Even though I missed my family, it was so nice to be back home! I missed my cats and J.

When I got back, one of the first things I wanted to do was organize our "spare" closet, where we kept all of J's t-shirts and workout clothes. I bought these boxes on sale from Target for $5.99 each, which I thought was a great deal! It looks so much better (and more organized)!

Kendra sent me these early birthday gifts! :D I really needed a ring holder, and I'm so excited to try this chocolate! She's so sweet to me.

The minute I got home, I couldn't help taking a million cat pictures, but you can understand why when they're so cute all the time!

Also, our Christmas tree was hella dead. Like, if you touched it, every pine needle would fall off. J was kind enough to take it down to the road, and I was kind enough to vacuum everywhere the pine needles fell on their way out, haha. I miss having the tree already! I loved how bright and festive and happy it made the living room look.

J blew a tire on his way home from work a few days ago, so I drove down and helped him (aka, I held the flashlight and gave advice based on what I had googled). He actually made the whole process look really easy, though I'm sure it's not, haha.

Hello friends! I'm still on break from school and simultaneously loving/hating all this free time! I start class on Tuesday, so until then, I'll be cleaning the apartment, prepping for class, and doing some legal research. It's a thrilling life, I know!

I thought that I would love all this time off - after all I had to complete a portfolio before class started, as well as do a little tiny thing like... apply to the New Hampshire Bar! I'm happy to say both are completed and turned in, but now I have the weird sensation of having time on my hands. What is this new sensation?! It's become weirdly difficult to find motivation, and all I really want to do is sit in my warm bed and watch Ally McBeal until I die.

I've also been stressing about moving to Denver. I'm a planner by nature (but especially since I started law school), so I want to get everything planned and done now even though I can't. I want to find us an apartment to live in during the summer, I want to find a job so I can work at least part time this summer while I study for the bar exam, I want J to find a job he loves, I want to set up interviews for when we visit in February... There's a lot I'd like to do, and it's hard for me to let go and understand that there's only so much I can do right now. I kept finding apartments online that looked nice, but then had terrible reviews. I was losing faith of ever finding one that we could afford and that was nice enough.

Thankfully, J lives in the present, and talked me down from this future-thinking ledge last night. He reminded me that I can't feel guilty about things I cannot control, and that I need to be here sometimes, not off six-months from now in my head. I was (and am) very thankful for him last night. I need those reminders sometimes, just like he needs me to make him think further down the road than this week. In that sense, we're very different people, but I think we need the other to keep us balanced. And to make things better, I actually found a few apartments this morning that look very doable (I know, I know - I'm not living in the present, but hey, at least I'm productive)! ;)

Friday, January 8

Top Lifestyle Posts from 2015

One of the top posts of 2015 was on my goals recap! I really like reflecting on my goals and how I did, and I'm honored people care enough about my goals to read as well. Kind of embarrassing, actually, given how poorly you could argue I did this year, but it is what it is!

Another one of my top posts was my review of the Fitbit! I was so excited to finally get a Fitbit, and I was even more excited to review it. It's been super helpful and motivational for me these past few months.

J moved in (finally), and it was really fun to write about how the apartment has changed since he moved in! I can't say how much fun it was to have the apartment to ourselves and really make it our own. It's changed a lot since this post, but it's still fun to look back!

My Stitch Fix posts have also been super popular this year! They really came through for me this year, which I'm thrilled about - I had basically given up on them as a service, but I absolutely love the work clothes I got from them this year.

 This was my only other Stitch Fix I got this year, and I also reviewed my first Fabletics purchase. I got one shirt from the Fix, and at the time, I loved my Fabletics outfit. I bought one or two more outfits from Fabletics, but haven't bought from them since. Eventually, I found the materials were really cheap and really weren't worth paying what I was for them.

This post on how to budget simply was really popular this year, and I wasn't really surprised! I think a lot of people my age haven't been taught how to - I sure wasn't. I got a lot of my information on how to budget from the Internet, because I was never taught practical skills in high school or college, haha. I think a lot of people are also embarrassed about not knowing these practical things, and therefore don't ask, which is why I think the post was so popular - it was a non-judgmental way for people to learn a simple skill! :)

Monday, January 4

Top Wedding Posts from 2015

One of my most popular posts from 2015 was on making boxes for my bridesmaids! I really wanted to ask them in a personalized way and to give them little gifts to thank them for being in my life. I really wish I could have given them in person, because I definitely had mini alcohols for each of my girls that (it turns out) can't be sent through the mail!

I posted a series about finding my wedding dress, which was insanely popular. I quickly realized that my readers really, really liked hearing about wedding stuff. I don't blame you, because I like it too. :) They were super fun to write. My first post was on my initial thoughts when dress shopping and my experiences dress shopping in Boston.

My second post in the wedding dress series was about actually finding "the dress." It was totally unexpected, but so exciting! I still pine for it, and I'm not exaggerating. I wish I had it now so that I could wear it around the house. :) 

My last (and third) post in the series was 6 tips for dress shopping. I read a lot of tips beforehand, but these were the ones I really took to heart and used myself. Bringing snacks was a must, because it is physically and emotionally exhausting! I was also really shocked by how much other people's opinions were hard to ignore. At the last place we looked in Boston, my mom and grandma loved this lace dress on me (not the one shown above), but I felt literally nothing. It was so hard to explain why this dress - which was technically perfect and looked amazing on me - just wasn't the one. I felt like I was letting people down! In reality, I wasn't. They wanted the best for me, which wasn't that dress.

In April, I posted about 8 wedding things I'd been loving! Since my wedding Pinterest board is private, it was fun to show off some of the things I'd been thinking about. It ended up being really popular, which again, after realizing how popular all my wedding posts were, wasn't totally unexpected. It's funny to see how my tastes or ideas have changed since then!

It's honestly really hard to write about J and I's wedding - I'm never sure how much to share. It's not just because of privacy, but because if I share everything that we're planning, then I think the wedding itself won't be as exciting for our guests! I like having surprises planned, and I want people to be totally awed! If everyone knows what we've planned, then no surprises. Boo!

At the same time, I really love writing about it. It's fun. We're finally at the point where we've got the big stuff taken care of and I'm constantly being asked about our plans, so it feels silly not to write about it. Plus, writing about finding a wedding dress was basically the most fun I had writing this year! 

It's so funny, because I was so stressed out about being a bride at first. Now, it feels like the most natural thing in the world, because over the past year, I've really let go about what I think I'm supposed to do/think/feel, and just let J and I figure stuff out! There are no wrong answers, and that's been super freeing for me. :)

Sunday, January 3

Top Law School Posts from 2015

This was by far my most popular post of 2015 - as of today, it has over 1200 views thanks to Pinterest! It turns out Evidence is hard, and I can't tell you how happy I am that people thought these flow charts were as useful as I found them!

 I wrote about law school and insecurity in March, and it's one of the posts I've gotten the best feedback on. It's really easy to feel like you don't belong or that everyone's smarter than you in law school, so it was really nice to write about (and remind myself) that we're all here for a reason, and that we can and will get through this!

I wrote about my 2L year of law school, which was infinitely better than my 1L year. Big surprise there, right? ;) I actually had fun, got the best grades I'd ever gotten, and took classes that were simulations instead of just using case books.

One of my favorite things I wrote this year was about things not to do in law school. I go to school with a lot of chill classmates, but that's not the norm. To be frank, the majority of people in law school are insufferable, but you can keep from being insufferable by not doing a bunch of judgmental, annoying things. Something to note. ;)

When I started "Girl Named Fiddy" and let go of "Nonsensical Me," one of the things I really wanted to write about was my journey to applying to law schools and writing about my experiences in law school. I really wished I could have read about before coming, and there's not much out there unless it's a horror story or a story about a law student from Harvard. 

I wanted other people to google "law school" and read stories about real life in law school. I wanted them to know my honest thoughts about my experiences, which is one of the reasons I was so proud to write my "recap" of my 1L year. It was not a positive experience. I really, really struggled, and I wanted anyone else struggling to know they weren't alone and we could get through this.

It's weird to think I'll have to stop writing about law school in five months, but I won't pretend I'll miss it. All I want to do is graduate and start working! I want to help people, not be stuck in a lecture... But I can make it for five more months. :)

Happy 2016!