Monday, September 19, 2011

How to stay sane (and stylish) in stressful times.

With great ambition comes great stress. If you're an overachiever like me, sometimes staying on task with the millions of things you feel you must do perfectly can make you feel, well, like this:

(click for photo cred)

I decided to take extra classes this semester to expand my teaching certification from grades 1-6 to birth through 6. What I didn't count on, however, is having to study for the GRE. As I've posted about before, my #1 goal at the moment is getting into Boston College (Lynch School of Ed) for grad school. What I wasn't aware of until a few weeks ago was that I had to take the harder version of the SATs GRE exam. So with the extra coursework plus the intense study sessions, my life has gotten a bit nuts. Here's what I do to keep my sanity (and style):

1.) Take mental breaks. As tempting as it is to bury yourself in work for hours, your brain will FRY and won't retain half the information it needs to. Same goes for chores: after a while you'll be doing a poor job at half the speed. Just like with exercising, I like to work in intervals. I'll read or study vocabulary intently for an hour, then I'll watch an episode of Gossip Girl. Then I'll continue working. Trying to work for several hours straight is just asking for some serious procrastination and lack of focus.

 2.) Keep your space looking pretty. If it can be pretty, why not make it pretty? Having a visually pleasing environment helps you stay relaxed.
For me, this means having a pretty agenda:

a lovely set of note paper on my desk:

And my beloved little palm plant. (Not my photo, but the same plant!)

3.) Give yourself rewards. It is much easier to deal with an overwhelming to-do list if each task has a little reward at the end. Like I mentioned before, an hour of hardcore studying earns me an episode of Gossip Girl.  A completed reading assignment may earn me a homemade cookie, and a successfully-tackled vocabulary list can be self-rewarded with the latest issue of Cosmo. And if there's an ultimate goal at the end (for me it's getting accepted into BC), always keep it in mind.

One of the additional challenges of a stressful, busy lifestyle is maintaining a sense of style. It is way too easy to pull out the sweats and forget any sort of makeup regime when there's a million more important things to do. When I look frumpy and unapproachable, however, I feel frumpy and unapproachable. Here's how I keep my style when I'm in a rush:

1.) Mascara + concealer. Brightens the eyes and hides my dark circles/redness. Two minutes and I look well-rested/revived!

2.) Button-down shirt, dark jeans, high boots, pearl earrings.
Bam. Instant polish, no thought necessary.

3.) Dry shampoo. Sometimes, I'll admit, there's no time to properly wash and dry my hair. For "skip" days, I spray a bit of dry shampoo on my scalp and brush it out. No more greasy hair! I use one made by Tresemme.

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I hope to find time to continue posting on a somewhat regular basis. If you don't hear from me for week intervals, just know that I didn't fall off the planet, I've been consumed by GRE prep. Can't wait for my visit to Boston in a few weeks!

Hope your life is less stressful than mine currently is,

Friday, September 9, 2011

New boots! The search is over.

BOOTS: Franco Sarto Women's Rivoli Boot, sz. 5 (buy here)
: H&M, sz.2
Jeans: LOFT, sz. 00P
Scarf: Francesca's Collections
Bag: Dooney & Bourke

Yes! Despite having skinny calves, extremely picky tastes and an unpopular shoe size, I managed to find my perfect pair of boots.

The leather is soft and a lovely tan color, and a much better option than suede (my black boots are suede and ALWAYS dirty!). I love that the slight heel doesn't make the annoying "click-clack" noise that some boots make, and that there is a zipper in the back for easy pull-on/off convenience. 

Trying to find a size 5 pair of tan leather riding boots that would look decent on my skinny calves wasn't easy. Most boots have at least a 15" circumference, and my calves are a scrawny 12". Imagine my luck when I found this pair, which have a narrow 14" circumference! Not narrow enough, mind you, but narrow enough to not look ridiculous. My trick?

Leg warmers. Adding a pair of these under my boots fills out the shaft just enough to prevent the leather from bagging around my ankles, and also fills out the top part of the boot nicely. (If you have extremely scrawny ankles like I do, I recommend tucking most of the fabric down around your ankles and the tops of your feet). IMHO, I believe that using this trick is the best bet for skinny-calved ladies, and that it's not worth paying hundreds more dollars to have custom-made boots, especially after Kelly's lukewarm review of the (only?) petite-friendly boot company DuoBoots.

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I am super excited that boot season is nearly upon us- can't wait to wear these everywhere! I'm particularly looking forward to wearing them around Boston and its suburbs, which is where I'm headed in a few weeks for my 21st birthday. My mom and I will be checking out Boston College- my absolute #1 choice for graduate school- and I couldn't be more excited!

More on that soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tired of eBay for designer consignment? Try Style.Ly

Yesterday, I came across a brand new website that allows women to buy and sell their "loved already" (or often new) clothing and accessories online without bidding and without the hassles of site commissions:!

Launched by former eBay executive Danny Leffel, the site describes itself as "a social buying and selling marketplace where fashionistas buy and sell new, gently used and vintage women's fashion and accessories" (check out the article about the site here on Items are organized into "Coteries," which are either categories such as City Chic, or stores such as Ann Taylor. The site is heavily linked to Facebook (which is how I found out about it), which I like because I can find out about items recently added to my favorite coteries through facebook:

(Note: It doesn't blow up my newsfeed, either- they feature one item a day). The seller page on the site makes it seem like selling an item is quick and pain-free. However, like most consignment shops, not everything is considered "worthy enough" to sell on the site. From the words of the blog, "the team will hand-pick the items we think our buyers will MOST want to buy and we’ll include them on This process can take up to 24-48 hours."

The site is only a few days old, so naturally there are probably many kinks to work out. From the looks of it though, this site seems like a good place to buy consignment online.

Will you check out


**Note: This review was provided entirely based on my own interest. There is no compensation/promotion from**