New Year’s Resolutions That Don’t Involve Losing Weight

Call Home More Often
I am not someone who misses people. Maybe my dog from time to time but even he slips my mind most of the time. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget it’s normal to check in on people. I’m one of those people who believes relationships can stay the same even without daily communication. Maintaining relationships with high school friends through text is definitely not my strong suit but even worse, calling home almost never happens. I am an only child and my hard working mom is home alone with the dog for almost a year now. It’s time I become an adult and learn to pick up the phone. How often do you call home?

Leave Work On Time
This is a big one. Our generation has shown a significant increase in the importance work has in our lives. I have experienced extreme work overload on behalf of pressure from management but mainly from myself. Yes, work is important. It is what puts food in our mouth and it takes up the majority of our time which is why it is so hard to disassociate work from life. Working is not your life, but a part of it. Learning to maintain a challenging work environment and a fulfilling life after 5pm will be this year’s challenge. Try to stay organized and prioritize important deadlines so you don’t feel obligated to work overtime allowing you to tend to hobbies and extracurriculars.

Stop Buying Cheap Alcohol
Face it, we are not in college anymore. sigh The days of buying the cheapest handle of vodka should be over. Traveler’s Club Vodka, this is directed towards you – and also peach Xclusive (dry heaves). I live a block away from a Trader Joe’s Wine store which has sales on bottles of wine as low as $3! Yeah, that’s an amazing deal but realistically, how good is that wine going to taste? Frat parties are a thing of the past so let’s leave binging on cheap beers there too. Try to make your alcohol purchases meaningful. Stock up your bar cart with spirits you can easily incorporate into multiple cocktails but are a great staple on their own as well. Although the point is to elevate your palette, don’t feel the need to spend ridiculous $$. Here are a few cost-efficient, high-quality spirits to fill your cart with – Espolon Tequila Blanco, Ketel One Cucumber & Mint, Maker’s Mark Whiskey

Finish Your Beauty Products Before Buying New Ones
I am 100% guilty of the mentality that more is better. We waste so much money on buying the new it cream or the new it dry shampoo. The industry tricks us into thinking we need newer, better all the time by repackaging, releasing limited edition products or adding free gifts with your purchase. As a hoarder, I understand the appeal of fully stocked drawers of beauty products only tested once or twice. I recently threw out hundreds of dollars worth of makeup and skincare I have accumulated throughout the last three years of internships and jobs because everything had expired. I have been using the same eyeshadow and contour palettes for almost two years now and repurchase the same liquid eyeliner every time it runs dry, so why do I need all that other sh*t? 2019 will be a year of minimalistic beauty habits.

Start Caring About the Environment
Piggybacking off the last resolution, 2019 should be the year you really take a good look around. Instead of adding to the problem, become a solution. I never really thought it was important to recycle or support green initiatives until I moved to the city and saw everyone doing their part. And not in that, “I am giving food to the homeless so I can post about it on Facebook or make a YouTube video about it” way. Every time I go to the grocery store I see people with reusable bags. More and more I am seeing people bring their own reusable travel mugs to Starbucks and the list goes on. Small actions like these may seem like they do nothing but as a whole, we are helping the environment one reusable bag at a time. Just under 25% of plastic is recycled a year. In order to contribute to the solution, my goal for this year is to begin using metal straws (as I drink absolutely everything through a plastic straw). What can you do or have been doing to become part of the solution? Share tips with me so I can incorporate into my lifestyle too!

I Had No Friends – So I Turned To A Dating App

Roughly six months ago, I finally took the plunge and followed my dreams across the river and moved to New York City. Although I have been working in the city almost three years now, my group of friends (acquaintances) was almost non-existance. High School friends either stayed local or moved cross country and between 10 hour work days and two-hour commutes, time certainly didn’t permit for extensive friend search parties. Everyone I met was always a one-night bar crawl type of friend who loves to text back “we should hang out again soon!” never to make concrete plans. Well, I have had enough and desperate times call for desperate measures.

On October 22nd, I joined Bumble BFF. You may be more familiar with Bumble as a dating app where women make the first move – a concept I was never really behind but luckily I’ve been in a loving relationship for four years now and don’t have to worry about openers, or so I thought. The whole idea of choosing your friends feels a bit deranged. When looking for suitable partners, of course, it’s easy to choose based on looks. I know I like brown hair and won’t settle for someone with poor dental hygiene but would that matter in a friend? I wouldn’t be kissing my friend so who cares if her teeth aren’t perfectly straight or white, right?

Before I began exercising my thumbs, a profile upgrade was in order. Anxiety washed over me. Women are far more judgmental than men so the pictures I choose really have to tell a story. Do I emphasize my love of frozen margaritas or do I underline the importance of culture? Disclaimer: throughout my time on the app, I adjusted my photos and bio multiple times. Here’s my current profile.

I opted for pictures that showed my interest in fashion.. and alcohol since I can never pass up a good cocktail. I also connected my Instagram for easy stalking and Spotify for music comparability. While I love all music, a girl who can get down to Korean rap as much as Migos is okay in my book.

Now for the swiping. I blindly began skimming through girls in my area. I set my preferences of age for 23-28 since I’d love to find girls my age because, well, relatability? I quickly realized a common thread among the majority of the profiles – brunch, wine, soulcycle, and the Bachelor. No hate towards any of those but how can I pick between 10 profiles who are basically the same person. I knew I had to dive deeper, find meaning in their pictures, harness my inner Nicholas Cage in National Treasure.

Profiles with solely bikini pics and snapchat filter edited photos i.e. puppy ears were a quick swipe left. That is not my personality and I know we wouldn’t mesh well in person. I tended to always swipe right on profiles with careers similar to mine since we would have common ground to talk about. In terms of looks, I have to say my choices surprised me. 80% of my matches looked exactly like me. Who knew I loved myself so much? But it’s true – who better to get along with than yourself? That doesn’t mean every girl was a 5’11 blonde-haired, blue-eyed polish girl but a majority of the time they were Caucasian, with natural-looking makeup, trendy clothing with a well thought out bio.

In the beginning, my matches were quite frequent because I spent a good deal of time on the app. Unfortunately, the more matches I had, the worse the conversations were. Let’s be honest, it’s awkward finding friends through an app, there’s no doubt about that, but what’s even more awkward is trying to pick up a girl to hang out with you.. on an app. What do you even say, hi? How original. Every conversation would start the same – “hey, hi, how are you, great, where are you from, how long have you been in the city, where do you live, cool” – like clockwork.

Eventually, I got fed up with one-liners and struggling to think of openers to catch the other person’s attention so I changed my bio to be direct and it worked! Girls started messaging me their numbers and we made plans to meet up before even sharing any information about ourselves. This is what worked, this method made me two new friends.

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Date One: Victoria

We went to the Polynesian, a bar I had been DYING to go to. These “dates” were the perfect excuse to try out new bars and restaurants that had been on my radar. Disclaimer: drinks at this place are very overpriced but definitely delicious! Victoria works at Conde Nast so we definitely had things to talk about work-wise. The conversation was great but I wasn’t sure we would ever hang out again. Before parting ways, we made indefinite plans to hang out again but I thought of it as a polite goodbye rather than a genuine attempt at friendship. Roughly two weeks went by with no communication until I received a text asking to hang out again. I was definitely caught off guard and nicely surprised. Since then, we have hung out twice and even text every now and then. 

Date Two: Mallory

Mallory and I really hit it off. We went to Fonda which was cozy and quaint, almost romantic which made us laugh. She too works in public relations so our work experiences were extremely similar giving us a great topic to start out with. We ended up chatting for hours about work, music, hobbies, family, relationships and just about everything. For the first time, I felt as though I found someone I could truly see myself becoming close with. When ordering drinks, we even ordered the same thing without consulting each other – Love me a spicy margarita sister! She even offered to pay for half my uber ride since my apartment was a bit away from the restaurant. I would have never expected that from friends I’ve had for years, let alone someone I met three hours prior. Before parting ways, we made concrete plans to hang out again – and sure enough, we did! 

What I learned: Making friends is hard. Really hard. Just like dating, it may take a few people for you to find someone you really get along with. I was naive to think friends would simply find me. Life isn’t a scripted movie and as much as we’d like to think best friends just happen, sometimes they don’t. In fact, for most people they don’t. I was ashamed for not having many friends and decided to do something about it. My initial perception of the app was that it would be filled with girls who are a bit shy and maybe struggle to fit in but I was completely wrong. There are people just like you looking for friends either because they moved or their friends moved or they simply don’t have the time to put themselves out there. The internet is a beautiful thing. Put yourself out there because only good can come out of it.

Trust me.

Fall Trends for Cheap 2018

As you know, we’re always on a budget here, so all the below pieces are from Nastygal.com where there’s always a 50% off sale. Not only do I have your #ootd game in mind, but I’m thinking of your wallet too.

Animal print by far, has taken over the fashion scene this fall. I have never really been a fan of leopard print because I felt it looked cheap. But my new found adventurous fashion self has come to truly appreciate the trend and incorporate it into everyday wear (see my latest post on realisation par skirt dupes). And while leopard print is hot on the scene, you don’t have to wear it head to toe. Let’s be mindful of how we style our spots. And let’s not forget, leopard is not the only animal print out there. The highly disregarded, and my personal favorite, the snake skin is also a great option when trying to achieve this trend. I have pieced together a few chic (and affordable) options for you to play with this fall including leopard, snake and dalmatian!

Riley Leopard Tee $15, Let’s Snake Up Jacket $40, On The Spot Dalmatian Jeans $25

Another trend I have been noticing at just about every store is the use of primary colors. The reds, blues and yellows really take me back to the finger painting days. Primary colors make me think of basics but these bold hues can really make an outfit pop. Try finding pieces with texture or added details like buttons to elevate the look and really make it a stand out piece.

I’m Busy Cord Blazer Dress $45, Take The Fall Knit Cardigan $18, In Re-Corduroy Time Longline Jacket $40

Finally, I saved the best for last. My all-time favorite article of clothing, the trouser. I like to think my style is best defined as “business casual meets street” which most often means I’m wearing a pair of cool trousers and sneakers. And i’m not just talking about any trouser, but of course, the tapered leg trouser. The ultimate article of clothing that’s flattering on almost every body type. Whether we’re talking paperbag waist, high waisted or as I like to call them, slouchy crotch, they are the must-have pant in everyone’s wardrobe.

Get In Linen Paperbag Pant $30, Come Round My Way Polka Dot Pant $25, Strike a Corduroy Pant $25

Leave me a comment and let me know which trend you like the most and which you’ll be adding to your fall wardrobe.

xo

Realisation Par Leopard Print Skirt Dupes

Scrolling through Instagram I have seen the same skirt pop up countless times. It seems as though every fashion blogger owns the same leopard print satin midi skirt – which I desperately want. The cut is flattering on every body type and while it is an animal print, it’s not so “in your face” as you would imagine. With some digging (not much tbh) I found the original seller to be a brand called, Realisation Par. Their philosophy revolves around creating unique individual pieces rather than collections, something I feel is a little bit out of the norm for a higher end designer. Alexandra Spencer and Teale Talbot wanted to create special items missing from your everyday wardrobe – and I am definitely missing this skirt from mine. But at a price point of $180, I don’t have it in me – or my bank account to buy the original Naomi – Wild Things. If you are anything like me and struggle with justifying spending that much cash money on a skirt, here are a few options to save you the $$ but not the look.

 

Zaful $18.49 – Showpo $42.95 – Boohoo $18.00 – Nastygal $20.00 – Shein $14.00 – Princess Polly $50.34 – Zara $49.90

Iceland: Where to Go and What to Do

IMG_8461We chose to stay in an airbnb about 40 minutes from Reykjavik and 20 minutes from the Blue Lagoon. I was immediately drawn to this airbnb in the listing because of its cozy cabin charm and rustic Icelandic decor. Our host met us on the first day to show us where everything was and explain how to use the hot water etc. He was truly such a nice man and he even stocked the fridge with some bread, cheese and tomatoes so we had something to eat before we were able to go food shopping. The house was a cozy two bedroom with a kitchen, bathroom and the living room had a flat screen tv with netflix and hulu for us to watch. It was nice to live in the more rural area of Iceland rather than in a hotel in town. I would definitely recommend looking into an airbnb somewhere along the beach like we did.IMG_8473IMG_8470

On our first day, we wanted to stay close to home and chose to explore what our local town had to offer. We drove to a supermarket and picked up some essentials (bread, bananas and nutella) among other things.. Then we took our map and explored southern Iceland where we found two amazing light houses, a beautiful cliff over looking the water and a small geyser. The geyser ended up being one of my highlights of the trip because of the multiple rainbows I saw. I even saw a rainbow form a complete circle. One of the craziest and most beautiful sites I ever witnessed. All through our trip, I can honestly say I saw at least two rainbows every single day and from the picture below, you can get a sense of how vivid they all were.

IMG_8459IMG_8458IMG_8467(1)Besides the many many rainbows I saw, the animals were maybe my favorite part. I love farm animals, always have. It may stem from my farming culture back in Poland, but every time I saw sheep or horses, I nearly lost my mind. The animals were all very friendly and for the most part did not run away. One time though, we did spot sheep that seemed a bit confrontational but they were only protecting their young. We came at a great time because we got to see so many babies! Sheep, horses, cows, you name it. Safe to say I had more than one photo shoot on the side of the road with various animals. Here is one of my favorite shots. IMG_8457On our second day, we went to the Blue Lagoon. I had my reservations about the lagoon because it seemed to be the number one tourist attraction and from my experience, the more touristy, the worse. But to my surprise, the lagoon was just the opposite. The lagoon was not crowded and the facility was very well kept and clean. Some of the staff could be a bit nicer but when working with tourists, I understand it can get frustrating. We ended up staying at the lagoon for 3 hours which flew by! The comfort package (the cheapest package) comes with admission, a drink in the lagoon and a silica mask. I heard one of the employees telling another tourist to put conditioner in their hair before entering the pool but I chose not to do so. BIG MISTAKE. My hair turned hard as a rock and drier than hay. I had terrible hair for majority of our trip no matter how many times I washed it and how many bottles of conditioner I used. So, my advice, drown your hair in conditioner before going into the lagoon. Your hair will thank you.

IMG_8468IMG_8472The next day we planned an all day trip to three more widely popular attractions; Skogafoss, the airplane and the Black Sand Beach. The drive down to these locations was about three hours but once we got there, all three were within a half hour drive of each other. Skogafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland and is widely photographed on the internet. The waterfall is surrounded by beautiful grassy mountains with hundreds of sheep frolicking in flower fields. Our of our six day stay, this day was without a doubt the sunniest and warmest. Not the best day to wear my thick nordic sweater. To get to the top you have to climb about 300 steps. In that heat, my back was drenched. If I learned anything from our trip to Skogafoss, it was to always layer. IMG_8455IMG_8466(1)Our second stop was the famous plain wreckage. From pictures online, it looked as if the plane was just off the shore but boy were we wrong. To get to the plane its a two hour round-trip walk on a harsh gravel path. We managed to walk to the trail in only two hours but the sign at the beginning says it’s four hours round trip. If you have long legs like us, you can definitely cut the time down but do be careful because the trail is extremely rocky. That being said, the plane itself was very cool and totally worth the walk. Because it takes a while for people to get to the plane, there were very few people there at a time which made it easy to take pictures. IMG_8465(1)IMG_8464(1)Our last stop of the day was the Black Sand Beach. The name is slightly deceiving because there was no sand. The “sand” was more like tiny black pebbles mixed in with bigger smooth looking stones. By this time, the wind had picked up making the beach weather a bit harsh. Definitely not bikini appropriate but then again, I don’t think anyone expects to wear a bikini there. The beach also has these amazing rock formations that you can climb, perfect for a photo-opp. Overall, the beach was very serene and almost romantic if it weren’t for all the screaming children running around. IMG_8454My third favorite part about Iceland were the flower fields. Everywhere you went, you could see these purple and sometimes blue flowers. They grew in fields and in small bunches on the side of the road and even on rocky mountain tops like this one. One afternoon we went for a hike not expecting anything to find the most beautiful field of flowers growing at the very top. There must have been miles and miles of these flowers. IMG_8460Now here is a little secret I want to share with you. All across Iceland you can find “secret” hot springs that mainly locals know about but somehow word of a few of them has gotten out. We took a swim in this one nestled between two volcanoes. In order to get to it, you have to drive to hidden valley and hike 20 minutes. The water was filled with moss and the bottom of the pool was so slimey you could barely walk but the temperature was nice and the surroundings simply took your breath away. The little building featured has rooms where you can change in and out of your baithing suit but I recommend keeping your belongings somewhere you can keep an eye on them rather than in the rooms. If you want more information on how to get to this secret hot spring, let me know!IMG_8463(1)IMG_8462(1)Finally, I will leave you with my thoughts on our visit to Reykjavik. Let me preface that I have been to European cities many times so I am familiar with this kind of city feel. We chose to spend one day in the city for that reason. And while the city had its charm, any more than a day seemed like a waste. The restaurants were extremely expensive and the alcohol cost even more. We did however, want to try some traditional Iceland food so we chose to splurge on a meal and stopped into the Icelandic Barrin for some meat soup. The smell was a little off putting but the overall taste was good. Keep in mind the meat in the stew is lamb. A few other places we visited were Braud & Co which is known for their cinnamon rolls. We bought two and I am still day dreaming about them. We also visited the Whale museum and stopped into the Chuck Norris Cafe to see what it was. We saw the famous church and the whale statue and of course, browsed all the gift shops. Overall, we had fun in Reykjavik but we preferred seeing the natural beauty of the island rather than spending time shopping. IMG_8471IMG_8469My takeaways from our Icelandic adventure were that no material objects can make you feel the way a mountain can. While we are not “outdorsey” people, there is something about standing in a valley looking up at a beautiful sunset that makes you want to be. If you are thinking about traveling to Iceland but are on the fence because of price, I think you should really go. I have memories to last a lifetime.