Thursday, May 22, 2014

favorites: nail polish

I started painting my nails a few years ago, and basically never stopped. I kind of feel naked without it now. I'm pretty particular about colors (because um... I'm particular about everything in life) and have grown to rotate through a few of my favorites. They all happen to be Essie; I prefer other brand's formulas, actually, but I love Essie's colors.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

summer race calendar

Now that more than a month has passed since the half marathon and I've worked out... twice (?!) in that time, I've been feeling the urge to start training for something again. Since I'd been mostly immobile since finishing my PhD a year prior, the half was definitely a good motivator to get me moving again but it was also frustrating to feel so slow, both because I was getting used to running on hills and also because I hadn't run in so long (duh). Now, I want to focus on shorter distances but getting faster. I'm especially pumped to focus on my running, but I'd love to quicken my swimming pace too. (My biking is probably the only triathlon sport that I'm not horrifyingly slow on.)

Here are the races I'm looking at for this summer:

Basically, I'm setting myself up to cut a lot of time off of my Olympic tri PR at the end of summer, by doing a at least one shorter tri and some 5Ks. I'd also love to beat my 5K PR - I've done so few 5Ks that I think I could beat my PR pretty easily, but I'd love to totally smash it.

Friday, May 16, 2014


listening to... Be Okay by Oh Honey. Pretty cheesy but super catchy pop folk music.

shopping for... I feel like this is such a boring adult thing to do, but I want to buy a camera. Like, not a smartphone with a camera, a real camera. Probably a fairly simple point-and-shoot, but I have no idea where to start... any recommendations?

laughing... at Pretty Little Mean Girls. Two of my true loves, combined into one.

Also, this.

thinking...I feel a constant tug between wanting to be present and not glued to my phone, and wanting to fill every idle moment with something productive ( browsing Insta productive?). I've been trying lately to unglue myself from my phone more often in attempts to me more mindful.

adopting...  a new mantra.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

recent buys

shorts | jacket | pumps | eye cream | dress | sandals | blouse | pants

When I first instated my shopping budget in January, I spread it out between just a few more quality pieces. Lately, gearing up for spring has made me more shop-y and I've been taking advantage of tons of spring deals and coupons to stretch my budget more and stock up. A few of my favorite recent purchases:

  • How many pairs of pleather shorts does a girl need? Apparently I need at least three - I love the sporty shape, the surprisingly good material and the super low price of these H&M ones.
  • BB Dakota makes my favorite faux leather jackets and I just added this olive green one to my collection using all of my Gap rewards - now it's on sale!
  • I debated white pumps for a while because they're so 80s, but I decided to embrace it with these Express ones. I look forward to wearing them with neons and pastels.
  • My mom visited me for mother's day and I tried out her Peter Thomas Roth products. I'm pretty skeptical and judge-y of skin care products, but seriously they had INSTANT results. I just bought the eye cream (almost 40% off on Amazon, too).
  • I love me a good t-shirt dress, and bought two colors of this super comfortable, soft Target version. There are a ton of colors online and it's possible I'll buy even more.
  • I'm totally on the ankle-strap sandals bandwagon and wanted to find a more casual version to wear everyday. I love these Target ones - they're pretty comfortable and look more high-end than they are.
  • Another obsession: lace tees. But weirdly, I had several but no pure white ones, until I bought this Express one for 40% off.
  • I bought a couple pairs of the Old Navy skinny boyfriend khakis last year and loved them so much I bought two more this year (the olive and white). They're really soft, comfortable, and a slightly dressier alternative to jeans.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

may goals

April showers bring May... showers, if you're living in Oregon. And it also brings another month ripe for new goals!

First, how did April go?
  • Complete half marathon. I like how I purposely kept this super low-bar; no need to PR or even do well, but just complete it. Nailed it. 
  • Read 2 books. I was an overachiever with this one. I read Panic (love Lauren Oliver, but I didn't like this book as much as her others... Before I Fall is one of my all-time favorites), I Wrote This For You (so meh), Someday Someday Maybe (by Lauren Graham/Lorelai Gilmore/Sarah Braverman, and it was basically written how she talks and therefore I loved it), Eat Move Sleep (it's baffling how this has such good reviews... it's essentially the most basic of health advice that barely furthers the point of the title) and Legend (love me some dystopian young adult and this one was different enough from the usual to be pretty good). Now I'm reading If I Stay because the movie trailer made me cry. If that's not a good reason to read a book, I don't know what is.

  • Try a new restaurant. Also overachieved this one: Gabe and I tried a new barbecue place in town called Brew BQ which was so mediocre despite having root beer flavored barbecue sauce. We also went to Magenta, an Asian fusion place (which really just means it's Asian-ish) that I really liked.
  • Clean out my closet. I feel completely prepared to buy all the spring and summer clothes now that I can actually fit things in my closet without jamming them in. Because that's the whole point of downsizing, right? Preparing for more upsizing?
  • Start a project for my research statement. I'm starting to look at the creativity of engineering students working on open-ended projects. I decided I want to focus my research statement on the non-technical aspects of engineering that aren't taught in a normal curriculum; basically, I want to help develop engineers that aren't just walking nerdy technical dictionaries. I think creativity is an interesting subject because it's possibly more right brain than left, but still is super important for engineering and problem-solving.
Clearly, deciding on a few goals at the beginning of the month really helped me to achieve what I wanted to. I think just having these in mind helped me make decisions more in line with my goals (like choosing to read instead of watching Real Housewives, or trying a new restaurant instead of getting Thai take-out for the hundredth time... not that there's anything wrong with the RH or take-out, ever). So what's next for May?

  • Start triathlon training. I like running just enough to run 13.1 miles, but really, I love triathlons. You're not doing one sport long enough to get bored of it, and I feel more in shape when my training is distributed between three sports. I'm ready to start swimbikerunning again and am hoping to find a race nearby in June or July.
  • Watch 4 movies from the 1001 Movies list. I watched the AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movies list in college, and then moved on to the 1001 Movies to See Before You Die list from this book. I'm clearly back into the habit of reading more books for fun, but I'd like to start getting into watching more quality movies (films, if you will).
  • Explore Washington. This one is sort of a freebie because the trip is already planned, but I'm super pumped to start exploring the Pacific Northwest more. Gabe and I are visiting Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park and Seattle during Memorial Day weekend.

kinda pretty, I guess | source
    • Write 15 blogs. I have so much I want to share here (I have an entire Excel spreadsheet full of ideas and links), but have a hard time carving out the time to write posts. Here's me committing to just do it.
    • Create a Future Faculty resource online. When I was in grad school, I participated a lot in planning events for students who wanted to become faculty members (called Future Faculty events, for obvs reasons). Now, I'm trying to expand the scope a little by creating some sort of resource online where students can learn about what they need to do to become a faculty member (how to gain experience, what an application consists of, what schools to apply to, etc.). 
    • Complete the data analysis for my creativity project. I have this grand plan to write at least a million papers this summer and to do that I really need to get moving in terms of data analysis. I want to start poking around the data we have to see what I can gather about creativity so I can maybe get a paper formulated on that to help contribute to my research statement.

    Monday, April 28, 2014

    productivity tips (not hacks)


    It should come as no surprise that I'm a big fan of reading self-help or self-improvement anything. So I read a lot of the "life hack" articles that I come across, even though they're super repetitive and I don't understand why we are calling any type of tip a "hack," just in case I learn something new that's actually useful. I was surprised by the novelty and usefulness of some of the tips in this article:

    • Use a daily planner. I've always been a to-do list advocate, but when I started using a paper planner and actually scheduling out my day my productivity increased so much. 
    • OHIO. "Only Handle It Once" when it comes to emails; I'm notorious for reading something on my phone, marking it as unread so I don't forget it, then... forgetting it, and clogging my inbox in the process.
    • Create checkpoints for assignments + self-imposed deadlines. After breaking up a large task into smaller parts, create self-imposed deadlines on each part to keep yourself on track and creating extra senses of accomplishment by meeting "deadlines" often.
    • Do the tasks you dread first. Also known as "eating the frog," a lot of studies show that getting your hardest task done with first thing makes you feel more productive and leads to more productivity for the rest of the day.
    • Two minute rule. I first read about this in the Happiness Project, and I love it as a way to keep tiny tasks from building up: if it takes less than two minutes, do it now. 
    • Make a not to-do list. As an antidote to my endless to-do lists, I need to keep my not-to-do list in mind: reading blogs, browsing Piperlime, and making more to-do lists.
    • Set a "dash" goal. Basically, set yourself a timer and aim to complete one small task in that time. I use the 30/30 app on my phone when I want to get myself to speed through several small tasks.
    • Don't commit to several TV shows. LOL JK I would never recommend that. 

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    window(s) shopping: lou & grey

    LOFT is pretty hit-or-miss for me, but with the constant barrage of "EVERYTHING IS 40% OFF!" emails lately, I've been browsing it more often. I'm so glad I did because I discovered their new line called Lou & Grey. I have no idea where this line came from, but I don't care because I'm obsessed with basically everything.

    motorcycle jacket | striped jacket | dress | striped sweatshirt | peach striped tee + lace shorts | gold jacket

    It's possible I already ordered that peach linen motorcycle jacket and the gold tweed jacket and a perfect black blazer. Everything is FIFTY percent off right now with the code RUSH50, so get to it.