Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Spring Necessity





There's so many ways to spice up an outfit or switch up a look you wear a lot. A great way I've found to do this is by pairing an outfit with different pairs of earrings. My mom can tell you that I have too many shoes and too many pairs of earrings! I can't get enough. Recently I received a pair of floral hoop earrings from Xtra by Stacey. I thought a great way to showcase these earrings would be by showing you all the ways I would style them!

I knew immediately that these would be a great addition to my closet. I am in love with this Madewell Embroidered Butterfly dress and my favorite sandals. They added a great feminine touch.



These earrings are also great for any night on the town! Last Friday I snapped this picture while on my way to dinner with a girlfriend. The white one white made it cohesive but I love the details of the tassels for the shirt and the delicate floral details of the earrings






Another great thing about these earrings is the neutrality of them. Since they can be the focal point of be another accent, they go with a lot of what I already own. This Chambray dress and patterend slides are a great example. 




The last way I chose to style these was with my most comfortable t-shirt dress, my everyday bag, and a great pair of slides. I've found that these earrings can go with LITERALLY anything, and spicing up an everyday outfit is the best thing a pair of earrings can do. 

If you love these earrings and want to see more of Xtra by Stacey's collection, you can also use my code 'mimosasandlipstick' at check out for 20% off anything in the Etsy shop! For unique, budget friendly pieces you should definitely check out her collection. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Congrats Grad, You Did It! Now Where to Go From Here...



Well, hey there! Welcome to the adulthood! It’s nice to have you.

Graduating college is quite a feat, and a time of great change. There are ceremonies and parties and dinners and last hurrahs and moving and job searching and money-saving. Where do I begin?

It can be incredibly overwhelming. So many things finally align all at once! I’m only six months out of school, but thinking about this time makes me a bit anxious. So I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things that helped me organize my life and transition from college life into adult life. They’re not foolproof, but maybe I can help you avoid a mistake or two!


Finances

Before you do ANYTHING, get your finances in order! You need to know what you have, what you need as a future income, and what you owe.

If you have student loans, get those in order. You usually have a grace period, but it’s better to know ahead of time what your monthly payments will look like and how long it will take you to pay them off.

The only way you’ll be able to see what you can accept as a baseline salary is by looking at what you monthly payments for things will be.
You also need to take things into consideration like rent if you're not living at home. Finding an apartment that is safe and secure on a budget. I know my friends have used websites like Zillow and I also have checked places out on their a time or two. They've also just driven around a neighborhood they wanted to live in and looked for rent signs.

Things like car payments, insurance, and other bills that your parents might have covered before should all be taken into consideration at this time. If your parents have covered you (shout out to them) talk about the right time and the expectations they have for you to take over these bills.

Start a Savings Account

Open savings account, if you don’t already have one. I opened one right after college for my own personal savings, and I am so happy I did. I use Chase, and I like it because everything is in one place, and it’s super easy to manage. It made me realize what I was spending week to week. Every time I get paid from my job or a random babysitting gig, I can move funds right into my savings account. I look at my savings account as money I cannot touch! This way I know I am saving for my future AND I have a cushion in case anything happens.

The fact that I want to one day move to New Orleans is a big motivator for me. I try to remember my long-term goals anytime I think about dipping into my savings. I remind myself that this money is for my future!

I feel that budgeting goes hand-in-hand with saving. I have not perfected this yet, but looking closely at what I spend from week to week has made me more aware and conscious of my spending habits. I have been able to cut out useless things that I used to buy without thinking. For example: pre-made meals (when I have time to cook), face masks, going out for coffee, over-spending on clothes. By putting money directly into my savings, I then see what I have to work with. I plan ahead for things that I know I have coming up like a trip, a hair appointment, etc.

Building Credit

Everyone does this at different times. My parents had me wait until after college. Personally, I haven’t always been the most responsible with money or understood the value. So I’m glad I waited! To buy a car, a house, etc you need credit. I went to my bank in order to figure out my options and make an informed decision.

Terms that used to make your eyes glaze over in accounting and finance classes, are now a very important part of your future. Once I got a credit card, I only bought things I would have bought anyway - and paid them off. Things like gas, groceries, maybe a piece of clothing or two; but, I only buy things if I know in that moment I have the funds for them. I am way more responsible than I ever was as a freshman. And different credit cards have different perks! Be sure you read through all the options and pick a credit card from a company you trust.

 

De-cluttering

You’re starting a new chapter in your life. This is the time to remove clutter from your life. You probably don’t need every Greek life chotchkie you got during undergrad. You really don’t even need your school supplies. And you definitely don’t need 78+ t-shirts.

I started going through my clothes, home goods, etc. and selling them or handing them down. You can do this on swapshop pages, Instagram, Poshmark - you name it! It’s a great way to make a little extra cash on stuff that someone else can love.

I also made a lot of trips to thrift stores. A lot of people are in need and can use your stuff! So anything I didn’t or couldn’t sell, I took to a store near me.
Whether you’re moving home, moving in with your SO or friends or moving to another state, you’ll be happy to have less baggage to carry with you.

The Job Hunt

Some people have jobs before they graduate, and some people go onto grad school. I fall into the third group, people who have to look for jobs straight out of the college.

All paths are great and fit different people, their goals, and their lifestyles! I started my job hunt probably two to three months before graduation.

Whenever you start this process, there are a few things you should have in order. Your resume, your LinkedIn profile, a list of jobs you may be interested in, expectations for what you want out of a job, and a way to make money and cover your bills while you continue searching.

I babysat while I went on interviews, and I was super lucky that the parents understood I was looking for work. That way, I was able to still go on interviews. Just be sure you have a gig for while you’re on the job hunt so you still have some sort of income.

I utilized websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Zip Recruiter. I graduated in Marketing and a lesson I learned really fast was that people disguise scams as real jobs. I went on quite a few interviews. For some of them, I realized within minutes that they were going to be for jobs that were nothing like the description - even a few pyramid schemes!

Be careful about where you’re applying. Use recruiters, websites like Glassdoor, and your gut feeling, when making a decision about a company and the position. My friends and I have sometimes taken the first opportunity that has come along and that’s not always the best strategy! Definitely use your sources and call upon people who have job experience. My parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and mentors from internships were such a big help along my path.

With in-person interviews, phone interviews, email correspondence, make sure you’re as professional as you can be! Make sure you’re going after companies that have similar values and opportunities that align with yours.

I’m going to use a Friends analogy here. Do you remember in the pilot episode when Rachel tells her dad, “It’s like my whole life, everyone has told me you’re a shoe! And maybe I want to be a purse!” Well if the company you work for is a shoe and you’re a purse, you are not going to enjoy your job! Granted, first jobs usually are hard. They’re usually a low-man-on-the-totem-pole situation, and you have to work really hard. But also pay attention to the company culture, work environment, and the type of work. These can all be very telling.


Don’t forget to live in the moment every once in awhile

Just because you are starting out and saving for the future, doesn’t mean you have to live in the dark and constantly pinch pennies! It’s all about balance. Make sure that sometimes you do go out with friends, buy a shirt you really like, or surprise someone you love with a small something. At the end of the day, you need to enjoy life!

I hope these few ideas can help you in the next chapter of your life! Anything you felt was helpful? Unhelpful? Let me know in the comments!


Cheers!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mother's Day Healing



It happened about six months ago. While I was on my way to work, I got a text from my mom. “I fell. It hurts so bad.”

It was the week of my college graduation. The ceremony was in four days and my mom was supposed to get on a plane in two. Let’s also not forget the fact that I get my balance from my mom...or lack thereof.

I think the best way to show my mom’s character is by what happened next. I asked my mom what we should do.

“Oh everyone’s day has already started I don’t want to bother them.” Only a mother - and only Mary May - would feel as though no one owed her a favor in this moment.

“Mom can you walk?”
“No.”
“Well then you have about five minutes to tell me who to call.”

I still thought that she would be okay - that it was just a sprain or a pulled muscle.

Luckily, having your entire family within a 10-block radius helps you when you’re in a tough spot. My cousin, and later my aunt and other cousin, all joined my mom at the hospital.

That night, we found out just how bad we already knew it was. My mom called me as I left the gym. “I broke my tibia plateau. I can’t walk....and I can’t come to your graduation, Hannah. I’m so sorry.”

We sobbed. We sat on the phone and cried and cried. It’s one of those times in your life when you can’t be upset at a thing or a person and you don’t know where to put that emotion. You can’t blame anything, because it was an accident.

I was out of it the next few days. My mom is my superhero. She’s never broken a bone! She’s been my number one cheerleader through my whole college career and she wouldn’t be able to see the end result! It was so crazy that she needed surgery and that she couldn’t walk. My brother and I had to stay at school since LSU is about 900 Miles from our home in Chicago. Luckily, our family sprang into action and never left her side.

After graduation, we FaceTimed my little - Mary May don’t fret; and after a weekend of celebration, my brother, Jack, and I headed north. My mom’s surgery was December 22, and we made it home while she was still in surgery.

We dropped off our stuff and met our aunt at the hospital. My aunt stayed with my mom for 12 hours at the hospital! That’s the kind of family we are - incredibly close and very dependable.

The surgeon came to talk to us after. He told us it wasn’t as bad as he thought, but it would take about a year before my mom could walk normally again. A year.

My mom has walked to and from the train to commute to her job for 36 years. How was this all going to play out?

“She can’t put weight on her leg for about two months and then she’ll have to completely relearn how to walk,” the surgeon said.

What? Was this real life?

During the first week, my mom was still coming to. She had an amazing team at Rush Hospital. Our family and friends helped us out, and Jack and I had each other. My mom probably doesn’t remember the first week or two because of the anesthesia.

Once she was more aware, we could start to heal. It’s hard to see progress when you see the small daily inches toward success. I often had to take a step back so I could cheer her on.

“Mom, we couldn’t do this a week ago!”

I finally got a glimpse into what being a mom was like. Helping someone 24 hours a day, always being on call, always being ready to go. Doing the errands, working, and making sure that everyone is happy and taken care of. But if my mom has done it for me for 23 years, I knew I could rise to the occasion for her.

All I wanted my mom to do was focus on healing. I wasn’t working for the first month or two while my mom was home. We laughed and we cried and we watched a lot of Kathy Lee & Hoda. We watched almost every news program throughout the day - we were almost overly informed.

We learned a lot about handicap accessibility, our limits, and when to ask for help.

Over time, we graduated from hopping around with a walker, to taking actual steps with a walker - then to a cane, and eventually to nothing. My mom has worked as hard as she has every day her whole life and we’re so proud of her.

Not every day is perfect, but there’s something perfect in every day.

Tomorrow, my mom and I will fly to my brother’s college graduation. She won’t need her walker or a recliner, but she may need an ice pack or two.

We’re not completely out of the dark, but she is serious about getting better and committed to her health. This brief 6-month period has taught me a lot about what moms have to do every day.


Even when you’re tired, you had a crappy day or you need sleep, family comes first. They don’t take sick days, they don’t give up on you no matter how dramatic your teenage years are. They’re willing to listen to every insignificant detail of your day, because they love you.

Mom’s give and they give and they give. So while I’m so happy that this weekend is Mother’s Day, you should appreciate your mom for everything she’s done for you every single day of the year.

I’m so proud of all my mom’s hard work, and I’m so excited to see what our future holds. We’re going on walks, we’re going on trips, and we’re laughing and making the most of what we can.


I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Nobody Will Love You Until You Love Yourself




Did the title of this blog post sound like when you read a cliché or when all your friends in relationships say cheesy, annoying phrases like “it’ll happen when you least expect it”? Well good because those things are usually true and so is this!

It wasn’t that long ago that I would roll my eyes when my friends would tell me that everything happens the way it’s supposed to, that when I least expect it someone would come along and change my life. I honestly thought they were full of it. I would think “that’s so easy for you to say you’re already in a relationship”.

What I had been seeing as the end result was the relationship. Finding a guy who loved you for all your quirks and getting to do boring things like stay home on the weekends or go get groceries together and it would be fun. And you wouldn’t have to defend yourself when your great Aunt Lois asked why you were still single.

However, that’s not what it’s about. See I wasn’t happy with myself. I was constantly comparing myself to other people. I was giving the wrong people all my attention, and I kept letting the first guy who gave me the slightest bit of attention all of mine. This led to a lot of crushed feelings, pints of ice cream, and hangover tears while my friends sat beside me.

I was attracting the wrong guys because I had the wrong energy. My friends could all see my good qualities, but I always focused on the negative. I was hyper-focused on what I didn’t have in comparison to everyone else.

I continued in this cycle. It would be a different guy but usually the same story. I luckily have amazing friends who were always there to listen. I remember one distinct time that a good friend of mine looked me in the eyes and she said, “Hannah why do you keep doing this to yourself? Why can’t you see what you deserve?”


Until you believe in yourself - until you accept and respect yourself - no one else will. The biggest problem was that I was hyper focused on guys. I wasn’t paying attention to myself or giving myself any affirmation. I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t see what my great qualities were and I didn’t see what I deserved. I didn’t respect myself.

Am I saying that until you respect yourself guys will avoid you? No. But until you do, you’ll find that the guys you attract don’t care about your opinions, do not make effort for you, and often would just rather sit around than do something exciting or fun.

Last summer, I decided to join a work out group that was doing BBG 1 by Kayla Itsines. This was the first time I devoted so much time to myself and my health in a long time. I had always worked out but I didn’t always see the results I wanted. I had a group of girls who became my friends and my biggest cheerleaders.

I didn’t just lose weight and build muscle, but I learned my worth. I realized my value. I could do anything I set my mind too and I had so much to offer the people in my life.

I started realizing that I needed to hold everyone in my life to a higher standard. And if I wouldn’t let a friend treat me a certain way, neither could the men in my life. I started truly focusing on myself, my friendships and being the best I could be. I was actually happy, but my hobby also helped me relieve stress, anger, anxiety, etc. I stopped worrying about the one thing in my life I didn’t “have” and focused on finishing my degree, and making a future for myself. I was able to deal with my anxiety and realized how amazing of a support system I have. I put more effort into things that interested me, and things that made me a more well rounded person.


I worked on myself without really thinking about it. Guys in my life who had lingered before all of a sudden didn’t seem as interested in me anymore because I started to value myself. I didn’t let them control me or make me feel like I needed to pretend to like things they liked so that we had things in common. I was me and I was unapologetically myself.

I think that at the end of the day, what matters is you. Not only your relationships with others, but your relationship with yourself. If you treat yourself with respect and know your worth, everyone else will too. You’ll focus on yourself and your goals more than the things you don’t have in comparison to your friends. Most importantly, you’ll stop giving attention to guys who aren’t worth your time. You’ll realize that guys who are worth it put in effort to show you they care.

 If you don’t respect yourself, you won’t see your worth or how amazing you are. You won’t see that life is so much more than having a significant other. Once I realized how much I had to be thankful for, I realized that what my friends had said was true. My focus should have been on myself all along, but having this experience made me want to make up for lost time. The most important thing, is that you’ll care and fall in love, with yourself. Maybe not every day or all the time, but realizing your worth will change how you value others and how you let people in your life treat you.
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