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Puppy Love: 12 Must-Haves to Puppy-Proof Your Place

October 5, 2015

puppy proofing your place | midwestlovefestKero was a happy accident. Though I’ve been around–and helped raise–dogs my whole life, it’s a totally different situation a) caring for a puppy in the city, b) caring for a puppy in an apartment and c) loading up on all the supplies you need, sans parents.

puppy proofing your placeSo while I knew the little things I might need (or need to do), I didn’t really have much of anything when he came home with me. Luckily, I did a quick Petco run, spoke to my mom (the unofficial dog expert in my life) and now have my bases covered.

Of course, as I’ve learned from having Kero, everyone has a different way of disciplining, training and caring for their dogs. So take my recommendations with a grain of salt and always do what you feel is best. However, these are a few tactics that have worked for Kero and for the 7 dogs my parents have owned since I’ve been born, so…. #justsayin.

puppy proofing your placeWithout further ado, here’s what I recommend as a mini starter kit to brining home your new four-legged friend:

  1. tummy-friendly chews: I don’t recommend giving your pooch a bone to chew on until they are at least 6 months or older. However, while Kero is teething, I’ve found these vet-approved, teeth cleaning chews to be a godsend.
  2. treats: Of course you’re going to need to reward your pup when they go to the bathroom outside (and not on your hardwood floors), or lure them into the crate when it’s time for you to run errands. Just make sure to watch how they react to the treats, and try not to give them too many, since a puppy’s stomach can be extra sensitive.
  3. poop bags: In the city, there’s no way around it — you’re going to have to scoop that poop. I love these biodegradable Earth Rated poop bags because if you’re going to be throwing away poop two or more times a day, it’s important that you’re not just adding more to the landfill.
  4. kong: I’m OBSESSED with these toys. If you have a teething pup, again, these are incredible. I have one in a large size and a small size, and I fill them with peanut butter and/or a few bits of dog food and then freeze it in the freezer so it lasts longer. Keeps Kero occupied for 30-45 minutes.
  5. bitter apple: Your pup is going to get into things they shouldn’t. For example, Kero loves pulling on his leash or biting on the edge of the fabric couch. Spray a bit of bitter apple on it, and they’ll leave it be.
  6. foot/water bowls: This almost goes without saying, but they’re so cute I thought I’d include them. Many people prefer the standard metallic bowls because of their durability (which I agree with), but I couldn’t resist these dog paws ones.
  7. non-ammonia disinfectant: Apparently ammonia mimics the scent of dog urine, so if you clean up an accident with ammonia-based disinfectant or cleaner, chances are your pup will smell it later and pee in the exact same spot. I’d recommend a “greener” cleaner like the above Seventh Generation.
  8. dog shampoo: Especially if you adopt, your little one might smell a bit. Kero smells all the time because I SWEAR he gets into everything (or eats everything) outside. Puppy-safe shampoo is a must.
  9. [not pictured] puppy crate: It’s important to crate train your pup at an early age. Don’t just leave them to run amok in your bathroom, scratching at doors or getting into things they shouldn’t. Oddly, the safest place for your dog (and your home) is in the crate.
  10. [bonus] stuffed toy: Kero is obsessed with his skunk squeaky toy (pictured above). I got it on sale–which I highly recommend, because they will destroy it.
  11. [bonus] rags: Accidents, blankets for them to lay on, whatever. Head to a Goodwill or second hand store and pick up a few used towels. Paper towels won’t cut it. You’ll need some rugs.
  12. [bonus] puppy bed: I got Kero a puppy bed and he took to it right away. Dogs love having their own little spot to go to. Just, again, make sure not to dole out a ton of money on this right off the bat. They will end up destroying it during puppyhood.

Weekend Relaxing Sesh Ed. 2

October 4, 2015

weekend relaxing | sesh 2

Here we are again. Sunday. How did you come so quickly, Sunday!? And a Sunday in October, nonetheless. I spent most of the entire the morning in bed, finishing Mindy Kaling’s new book. Perfect day for it too with the overcast weather. But now it’s time to take Kero for a long walk, plan and grocery shop for the week, get through my Bloglovin’ and paint a little (all while cheering on my Packers, of course). In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a few of my recent finds from the past week:


  • As someone who’s looking to “mature” and/or simplify her beauty routine, I love this article about the nighttime routines of beauty editors.
  • You have to take this test now. I did. Even though I kill essentially all my plants (anyone know how to revive succulents?).
  • Late to this, but obsessed with Amy S so I’m digging this interview.
  • Really great life hack on how to avoid procrastination.


  • A Speidi doc? Yeah, why not.
  • Love isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
  • Crazy that this is a disease.
  • This Free People blogger makes me want to step up my video/editing skills.
  • Demi lookin’ beautiful and being open.
  • Dogs are so awesome.


  • This is genius!
  • Has anyone ever tried this? I really want to, but am hesitant because of the $.
  • Ohmygosh, WANT.

Puppy Love: Meet Kero

September 29, 2015

Puppy Love | Meet Kero FINALLY being a dog owner, I’m so excited to start these “Puppy Love” posts and give you all the updates + info on living with a little four-legged friend.

In case I never mentioned it, I grew up with dogs. As in, I was born into a home where we had three dogs: Tashie, Yukon and Bandit. Then, after those dogs passed away, my parents added two other dogs to our pack: Keeko and Teddy (at age 12, I saved and contributed $100 to Teddy, so everyone calls Teddy “my dog,” though, at 13 years old, I couldn’t uproot him from my family home and bring him here). And now, my parents have three dogs again: Teddy, Marco and Sanibel (pictured below with Kero). Basically, I’m used to the chaos. So, it’s been weird to be in such a quiet household.

Puppy Love | Meet KeroI’ve been wanting to adopt for a LONG time. Like, since I had my apartment in college. But, clearer heads prevailed and I never wanted to adopt a dog when I had an unstable environment or financial situation.

But then, a few weeks ago, I went on a little “just for fun” trip to PAWS with my friend Katie, and…I came home with Kero.


After National Dog Day, I started seriously considering adopting a best friend. As I mentioned last week and the week before, I’ve been going through a rough patch and really needed something to take a bit of the stress away. Even though puppies do add stress to your life, dogs are actually scientifically shown to help reduce stress. And so, it’s with that logic, that I moved forward!

Puppy Love | Meet KeroWe visited one other place before PAWS, which was a total train wreck and I can’t even get into it. But let’s just say, the place–and the people who ran it–made me feel uncomfortable. Gut check! So we moved on.

When we got to PAWS, I was excited to play with some puppies (any chance to play with dogs in the city, I’ll take). We walked up to the first little area and it was swarming with puppies. So, I picked one out (Minverva) and we went into a room to play with her. She was a sweetheart, but shy…and walked to my friend Katie first. I thought she might be it, but wasn’t sure if it was just the cuteness, if I was pushing it or if it was a real gut feeling. So I waited, and went back to the next glass area…and there was Mr. Wuff.

I hated the name. Who the eff is naming these little dogs? Seriously? Can that be my new job because these dogs names are insanely terrible. ANYWAY. They put him in the room with us and he immediately ran up to me and fell into my lap. He had an enthusiastic and bold personality, was curious and, though he’s a terrier mix, he looked like a german shepherd to me (one of my favorite breeds). Basically, he seemed perfect. And beyond that, he felt like family.

But I waited.

I browsed around the rest of PAWS before playing with him again and then…I made the decision to adopt him.

Puppy Love | Meet Kero Puppy Love | Meet KeroAs we’re about to run through paperwork, however, I stopped. I didn’t want to make this giant decision if I felt pressured by anyone else–friends, family or PAWS volunteers. So, I went home and thought about it logically. I asked Ryan what he thought. I spoke to my mom and texted Katie. I ran through the numbers. But ultimately, I decided that if I returned–five hours later–and he was still there, it was meant to be.

Well, he was. Which meant, it was. Mr. Wuff went home with me that day.

Next up, his name. Because “Mr. Wuff” had to go ASAP.

So it took me a week to name him because, maybe it’s the writer in me, but I put A LOT of thought into the name of a pet.

So “Mr. Wuff” hailed from somewhere in the South, where there were a higher volume of kill shelters. He was a street dog (this is also why, for the first week of owning him, he would only go to the bathroom in the street–a practice that terrified my neighbors, who thought we were definitely going to get hit by a car at some point), but made his way to Chicago and then, after a week, he came home with me, and then visited my parents’ place in Wisconsin a week after that. Basically, he’s only a few weeks old and he’s already seen half the U.S..

Puppy Love | Meet Kero

Puppy Love | Meet KeroHe’s also insanely observant. He watches TV. He’s aware of music playing. Sometimes, I’ll catch him just watching the door or the fridge…or me (which is pretty terrifying, when you don’t know where your dog is and you turn around and he’s watching you).

So, I named him Kero after Jack Keroauc, the author of On the Road. It was unique, two syllables (perfect for dog names) and seemed relevant to his personality.

Puppy Love | Meet KeroHe’s a spoiled little angel, but not so spoiled that he won’t be well trained. And so far, so good on that front.

He’s nearly all potty trained, decently crate trained, knows that the door = going outside to go to the bathroom, knows how to sit and is a general sweetheart in that he can adapt to my moods (if I need to sleep, he sleeps, etc.).

The best way I can say it is exactly what my gut told me when I “met” Kero: he’s family. And I really believe in trusting your gut like that.

I can’t wait to continue sharing little tidbits as he grows!


Edition One: Weekend Relaxing Sesh

September 27, 2015

sunday sesh pt 1So, I wanted to kind of change it up here. I have so many awesome things I find from scouring the Internet all week–more than just great articles–I figured this would be a much more fun, weekly post. Let me know what you think, or if you have anything I should be reading/watching/adding to my shopping cart.


  • Gotta start the week off with that Free People horoscope situation (I also like Refinery29).
  • Just another reason I need to really hop on that H20 train.
  • This reads like a dystopian novel.
  • Boost your metabolism all day.
  • The reading monster has FINALLY bitten me again, and I am on the warpath. Need to read all of these. Can’t wait to do my own recap at the end of the month. Anything good you guys are reading recently?
  • 20 extra ways to de-stress.
  • Great ways to motivate yourself to work out.
  • Love reading about writers like this woman. Not necessarily what I’d do, but super interesting to read nonetheless.
  • Beauty Queen fitness advice.
  • I totally remember doing this in middle school…high school? Either way, my adult-self my give it a try.
  • Such an important thing to know, but something no one discusses.
  • Wonderfully insightful interview.
  • Another inspirational Bohemian Boss Babe.
  • Kind of obsessed with these 23 life lessons.
  • Loving Joy the Baker for introducing me to: 9 books that will keep you reading, surviving mercury in retrograde and this situation (which I am definitely training Kero for).
  • Great read on how to figure out what to wear to work.
  • Thank you Cupcakes & Cashmere for helping me figure out what to watch with my new Amazon Prime account.
  • “I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you’re suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way.” –Lovely Advice from Lena Dunham


  • Loving on this interview with this VS superstar.
  • Can’t wait till Broad City is back. But for now, this will have to do.
  • Super excited about this interview and this lady’s new book. Need to finish my other 10,000 books so I can run out and grab it!
  • Made me smile. A lot.
  • One bad ass woman.
  • This #truth makes me feel better about seeing ladies all decked out in Nike on the weekend.


  • I need this necklace. Also would make an awesome Christmas gift. It’s never too early to start saving + planning!
  • I’ve become obsessed with the idea of having a reading chair. Def cannot afford one right now, but that’s what Pinterest boards are for! Especially loving this and this.
  • Want them all.
  • Need all of these products.
  • Yeah, I might “invest” in this light.

(LONG) Getting A Bit Personal (Plus a Whole30 Update)

September 22, 2015

Personal + Whole30 UpdateThere is just something about diets I’m not cut out for. Some sort of “F*ck you” mentality I have that when I’m told I shouldn’t do something, or can’t eat something, I want to eat it that much more. I doubt this is an uncommon feeling, but nevertheless, I always realize how much I miss my freedom when a diet takes it from me.

But this post is about a bit more than my struggle to resist Trader Joe’s puffs and Jenni’s ice cream.

Early in the year, as some of my posts might’ve hinted at, I was under a lot of stress. I was depressed in my old job–as in, it was difficult to muster the energy to get out of bed every day–and I was desperately seeking a new job. Of course, everyone I interviewed liked me, but (as happens) I was never the right fit. Or, it was never the right time. And that consistent rejection in itself can be defeating. Until, of course, I found my current position. Now, I’m seriously grateful none of those other jobs worked out because I really love this one SO much! Just shows you everything happens for a reason even if, at the time, you were miserable. Anyway. Weird side note, ha.

Personal + Whole30 UpdateOkay, so around the time I started this job, we also moved. Just what I needed. More stress. And shortly after boxes were unpacked and furniture was delivered and built, another event bombed my life and I’ve been dealing with the fallout ever since.

See, I’m a fairly organized person. I pride myself on always staying on top of my goals, tasks and…finances. But, as happens when you’re going through major, stressful life changes at the same time, things can fall apart. Quickly. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel very blessed for my life as a whole. I have a great apartment, I’m healthy, I have food on the table and a job I love. I was also able to adopt Kero, which, I understood would be an added expense, but would also help relieve some of the tension and stress I was dealing with (which, it did!). So…in a way it made sense? Ha.

Personal + Whole30 UpdateHowever–I’m about to get real–it has become difficult to make a dent in killing off my credit card debt. Not like I’m drowning in debt by any means, but coming from someone who pays off her credit card EVERY SINGLE MONTH, this background debt is causing me ripples of anxiety.

And what’s the one way you pay off debt? Keep expenses low and/or make more money.

I started the Whole30 around a week after I got Kero and I’m super glad I did. After dealing with such a terrible personal issue, my weight fluctuated–I lost a few pounds in the beginning and then gained it all back (I’m assuming only by the look of my body since I don’t believe in weighing myself), and the Whole30 has helped stabilize the terrible, lazy eating habits I was sliding back into. It also worked out well having all my meals planned out, since I’ve been getting home late and eating dinner around 8 or 9pm recently. And, of course, I enjoyed doing it with my friends. Honestly, that was a big part of it. Doing it alone isn’t as interesting and there’s not as much accountability.

Personal + Whole30 UpdateThe only thing is, the Whole30 can be expensive. I say it that way because I think it depends on a lot of factors. But even the Whole30 admits that it’s an investment in your health; a smart investment that avoids far more complicated health issues down the road. But really, any sort of dietary restriction can become expensive (especially one that is meat-based, since meat can go bad so quickly) because it limits what you have access to. And how sad is it in the United States that so many products are laced with sugar or unnecessary additives that it makes it next to impossible to eat clean? But I guess that’s a rant for a different day.


This past Saturday I attended one of my best friend’s bachelorette party in Milwaukee. This event kind of slipped my mind when I committed to the Whole30, but I figured I would just fall off the boat for the one day and then get back in on Sunday. However, the more I thought about that, the more uncomfortable I was with the idea. I’m afraid that, even though my goal isn’t necessarily to discover hidden food allergies or lose weight, I’d like to clear out my system in the most accurate, beneficial way possible. I mean it’s 30 days! Meaning, even a day of sugar or alcohol intake is going to mess up the healthy foundation I’ve worked hard at building.

I also got a text message from Mint last week, which really freaked me out, about my whole financial situation. Again, nothing insanely terrible, but at this point everything financial gives me a bit of anxiety. And while I’ve canceled my gym membership (the dog’s keeping me busy anyway, and over the winter I’ll probably start Kayla again!), started budgeting basically my whole life and try not to eat out or even go out too much, everything adds up. No matter what. And, while I’m not spending an exorbitant amount on food with the Whole30, it has made it difficult use free meals work meals or use protein-laden grains like quinoa to fill me up. I have to rely on meats and veggies–meats especially being the costly staple–where as quinoa + a bit of cheese + lots of veggies would be a far cheaper, but still filling, relatively healthy alternative.

Personal + Whole30 UpdateI’m not talking s*it on the Whole30. I really have enjoyed it for the most part–I’ve felt lighter; like I’m taking care of my body–but I’m not really sure if I would do it again. Honestly, at this point in my life, I’m actually relatively happy with my relationship with food.

After doing half of this Whole30 (ha), I realized how diets can really change how we view the food we consume. Once I made the decision to go off it, I felt guilty consuming foods that weren’t on the Whole30 plan. And that was only after a few days! Kind of reminds me of what the Balanced Blonde went through when she had to completely give up her vegan lifestyle to improve her mental and physical health. Clearly, my situation is no where near as lengthy or intense as her’s, but it’s a story worth noting. I just believe every diet and every food is different for everyone. And I’m SO about “everything within reason.” However, I currently need the flexibility to come up with less expensive, yet still healthy, meal and snack options, instead of only being restricted to a particular, slightly higher end diet.

I know, I know. I’m almost half way done! In a way, my heart honestly breaks because I’m proud of how far I’ve come (shut up! For me, two weeks is a long time!). I mean, I’m SO terrible at resisting temptation, but the other day, I resisted both free chips AND a cookie! Major progress. But, what I’m learning, is even these next 2 weeks matter financially. If I can continue to cut expenses back and make a little bit more, I’ll be free and clear a lot faster than if I continue to go over my food budget.

I hope you can forgive me. If this blog is anything, I want it to be a very accurate portrayal of the modern girl. Not some model-esque situation. I’m super weird, yet super normal. And sometimes that means throwing in the towel when more important priorities rise to the top.

If you’ve read this far, you have a far better attention span than I do, but I really appreciate you reading and thank you for supporting me in my topsy turvy life.


Weekend Reading: Week of Sept. 20

September 20, 2015


Deep breath. This week ushers in a much slower time for me, and I am so grateful for that.

The past few weeks–puppy or no puppy–have been so go! Go! Go! I feel like I haven’t had time to sit down and just relax. Basically, this week is that time. Minus the basic appointments and responsibilities that have become my every day, I finally don’t have any one-off appointments or time-consuming travels. That also means I will *hopefully* be able to return to my 3x/week posting on here! Woohoo!

Pray for me, ha.

Anyway, here are a few things to cozy up to this Sunday morning:

  • Interesting and awesomely irreverent behind-the-scenes look at #NYFW.
  • Wonderful read on intuitive eating.
  • Love this idea. Makes me like H&M more too.
  • Interesting panel discussion with a few laid back beauty mega-bloggers.
  • Definitely trying this natural teeth whitening trick.
  • I oddly feel like I could get down with this fall cleanse.
  • A few takeaway knowledge nuggets from one of my favorite #GirlBosses.
  • Obsessed with podcasts recently and might just download a few more of these.
  • Funny ad on a not-so-funny situation (and by that, I mean the website, not the hackers).
  • Need to try all these DIY masks.

Whole30: Week One Recap

September 15, 2015

Whole30: Week One Recap

Well guys, I did it! I made it through one week of the Whole30. Just 3 weeks to go!

Honestly, it wasn’t that terrible. Days 1-5 were pretty easy breezy. End of day 5 I started craving donuts and cereal and pizza–all the naughty things. I also started not to feel too well, something that continued through day 6. By here I am — day 7. And oddly, I didn’t have my regular breakfast. In fact, I’m not too hungry at all.

The great thing about all of this? One day of food prep takes care of most of the week. Which has been extra nice since I’ve been so insanely busy, it’s great to just come home to a healthy already-made meal.

Here’s what I made for my first week of the Whole30 (I didn’t really stray too far from this):

BREAKFAST: 2 eggs fried in ghee with a slice or two of prosciutto

SNACKS (which, I suppose, aren’t technically allowed on the Whole30, but with my stomach issues – it’s better if I eat throughout the day instead of confining it to a half hour): banana with raw almond butter, Larabars (apple pie or cashew cookie), protein balls (recipe to come!), or a Macintosh apple with raw almond butter.

LUNCH: Homemade chicken soup (recipe to come!)

DINNER: This cauliflower + coconut shrimp situation.

IF STILL HUNGRY: unsweetened applesauce or a protein ball

The only bummer about this consistent of a diet is that by the end of week one, I was pretty excited to mix things up. I’ll plan on sharing that newest meal “plan” next week. Till then, continue to wish me luck (the pull toward iced lattes is very strong)!


weekend reading

September 14, 2015


If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this, but I adopted a puppy (formal post to come!). And while I’m happy I FINALLY made the jump to adopting, it has made my life pretty darn hectic, to say the least. So, while today’s been super productive in other areas of my life (meal planning, blog photoshoot, long walks in the park…with the pup) it’s also hard to squeeze everything I need to get done into one day. That said, this post is coming a bit late. But better late than never, right?

Okay, okay. Enough of the excuses. Let’s post this, er, post:

  • Loving this breakdown of organic vs. natural vs. chemical-free beauty products.
  • Also, appreciating these Etsy beauty finds.
  • This post is perfection, as I continue to update my apartment with furniture pieces.
  • Need to download all these apps ASAP.
  • Still not sure how I feel about horoscopes, but I love the ritual of reading them every Sunday. Sometimes they bum me out, but other times they give me a boost of confidence for the week. Does anyone else read horoscopes? What sites do you use? I only ever look at Free People or Refinery29.
  • It’s funny because I never do much on Halloween night, but I love the idea of it + decorating for it. Also, why this idea gives me little excited butterflies.
  • SO excited Like Knows Like is back with this new mini documentary.
  • If you haven’t heard of Man Repeller or her new podcast “Oh Boy,” I suggest you go download it ASAP. New episodes are available every Tueday, and tomorrow will only be episode#4. Gah! I’m TOTALLY obsessed.
  • I think these are Whole30 approved…which makes me want to eat them, like, now. Ohmygosh, so good.
  • Career / office goals.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!


16 Things to Do When You’re Broke As A Joke

September 3, 2015

IMG_0071Maybe it’s something about being 25, but I am all about the finances right now. I just want to get rid of that consumer debt, start automatically pulling money into my savings, invest and pay off student loans. I also want to be available to afford the shiny things in life (if you know me, you know my dream care is an all black Range Rover), which–to me–means starting to save right now, while securing multiple sources of incomes.

Of course, I already work a 9-5, freelance and write for on the side, but the best way to save money is to cut back on your day-to-day expenses (it’s so hard to say goodbye to Goddess and the Grocer’s wildflower honey teal latte though!).

But when you’re trying to save money, or if you’re broke as a joke, it can be difficult to cut back, while still not cutting out people or entertainment from your life. And for that, I offer these simple alternatives:

  1. At-Home Spa Treatment: Whether you still have some leftover LUSH clay mask or you need to make a face mask out of banana and avocado, slather the goodness on, whip out your nail polish and start painting your toes. Go the extra mile with a bubble bath (if you have bubbles, otherwise it’s good to soak in coconut oil too!), a candle or Spotify and a good book.
  2. Book Haul: Visit your library and stock up on everything you ever wanted to read. Challenge yourself though. Don’t just stick to the same old nonfiction or sci-fi. Grab books that make you uncomfortable or teach you something new. Look out for bookclubs too and see if you can’t meet some likeminded book nerds.
  3. Join a Blogger Collective (or Group): If you’re a blogger, joining a local blogger community is a great way to build your blog (and also your potential business), while getting great discounts on free food, exercise classes and other such goodies. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other bloggers in your area (networking!). Of course, if you’re not a blogger, take a look-see around your neighborhood to see what other shenanigans you can join. For example, if you live where I live (Lakeview/Lincoln Park area), there’s a coffee shop that hosts evening talks on everything from saving you money to eating healthy.
  4. Start a Blog: If you don’t have a blog, start one! It’s a great way to share ideas and have a creative outlet. Don’t like sharing your ideas with the world? Whip out a notebook (they can even be the 99 cent ones from Walmart; there are so many back-to-school specials, you’re sure to find one relatively cheap!) and start journaling away. Who knows, could lead to something.
  5. Dinner with the Besties: Grab your gals and invite them over for dinner. Chances are, you have quite a lot of food just hanging around that can easily be made into a dinner for 2-4 (quinoa goes far, my friends). They can even grab a bottle of wine, throw in a DVD or put on Netflix and boom! [Adult] girls night.
  6. Social Media Reach Out: You’d be amazed who would meet up with you if you just reached out to them and asked. Not only does this strengthen your network, it also provides you with new connections and someone to hang out and get to know either over a cheap cup of coffee or donut, or just a walk in the park. Just shoot them an email, a direct message, a tweet, a snap…whatever your method! Give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?
  7. Practice Your Look: Want to mix up your look, but have no monies? Youtube is an excellent source of makeup and hair tutorials. Just sit back, watch and practice, and head back to school or work looking like a new you.
  8. Workout: As Kayla has proven, you don’t need a gym to workout. Yes, you can purchase a program, but there’s also Youtube or or just simply running or walking down the sidewalk or through a park.
  9. List of “Have Nots”: We all have it. That forever-getting-longer list of things we attempt to start and never finish. The online classes we still belong to, but never even got through section one. Whatever it is, start writing down ALL the things you have yet to accomplish and want to. See which ones you can put energy into.
  10. Yoga/Meditation: Though this is sort of like working out, it’s more working out for your mind. Meditation has been proven to literally rewrite your brain. So if you’re feeling especially stressed, download Breathe (it’s free!) and start practicing.
  11. Volunteer: Another great way to combine your passions with meeting like-minded people. No, it’s not a club or shopping downtown. But, you’re doing a good thing, meeting good people and making the world an overall better place. Think that has a higher sense of gratification than any pair of jeans every can (though, they do get pretty close).
  12. Learn a New Skill: If you’re looking to advance your career in any way–which you should be if you’re still in the workforce–check out Youtube or a variety of other free sources to learn new skills related to your job or career path. Not only can learning a new skill be time-consuming and challenging (in the best way), it can also make you stand out among other applicants the next time you want to switch up your job.
  13. Build Your Instagram Following: This is kind of a silly one, but Instagram is HUGE right now. If you’re lying around, watching TV and deliriously bored, try just scrolling through Instagram, commenting and liking any photo or profile that stands out to you. Meanwhile, try taking a creative eye to all your photos–setting a specific look and feel, really trying to get the best photo possible, no matter how silly you look in public. Do these things consistently, and see your followers slowly build (mini accomplishments!).
  14. DIY Coffee Dates: I’m obsessed with hanging out at coffee shops or meeting up with friends (obviously), but when you’re on a budget, coffee outings should be one of the first things to cut down on or cut out completely because those $5 suckers add up FAST. Instead of hanging out at a coffee shop, make your own tea or coffee concotion at home (there are plenty of recipes and how-tos), while fashioning out a cozy nook to give you better coffee shop vibes. Invite friends over to chat and flip through old magazines or whatever else, while sipping a matcha green tea latte, and boom. Coffee date, at home (or on the go, if you want to walk around your neighborhood!).
  15. Bake for Your Friends: Another great way money can fall out of your pocket? Lunches and desserts while you’re out. Rather than be tempted by co-workers to escape the work place and hunt for food among the $15 entree meals and $5 cupcakes, bring a lunch and bake up your own beautiful cupcakes to pass around at work. Bonus: your boss will love you even more.
  16. Keep Track of Your Fave Shows: This is a bit silly, but I literally write in my planner when a show is on. It’s like a little event at the end of my day that I can get excited about.

Anything you guys do to keep entertained while keeping your money in a good place? Please share! Options are a good thing.


ladies and gentleman, I’m back!

September 1, 2015

IMG_0012Hello there my lovely friends. Gosh, it’s good to be back here. I’ve missed it a lot.

So, funny thing how my last post promised I would be consistent again visa vi this blog. It’s almost like I put that out into the Universe and then the Universe decided to remind me who’s really boss (no one). Needless to say, nitty gritty details aside (for now, at least), I took a bit of a siesta from blogging, but now I’m back!

Do you love my new logo? Depending on how long you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve changed my logo, um, quite a few times to say the least.

I’m not going to BS you–I love design, art and being creative. I change my logo frequently because I have some sort of weird design perfectionism and I’m always trying to get it just right. For now, I’m super happy with it, but only time will tell.

So what have I been up to? Well aside from the day to day, a lot! But that’s why I’m back here. I feel like I have tons to share and am so super excited to try and take this blog to the next level. I even attended the Create + Cultivate Conference about a month ago to get more inspired and get back in gear.

So what are you all up to this week? I know Labor Day is coming up and I am SO insanely excited to go home to my family for a relaxing, extended weekend. What are you all up to? If you’re new to my site, please drop a comment or send me an email by the way, especially if you’re living in Chicago. I want to hear what you’re all doing!

Also, if you didn’t already know, feel free to check me out on most all of the social media things: instagram x facebook x pinterest x twitter x snapchat.

Talk soon!