sun is shining, the weather is sweet

It’s June and it’s finally starting to feel like summer in Cleveland.
And here too is your friendly reminder
to lighten the fuck up.
No really, just relax.
Be kind.
Say hi to strangers.
Compliment people. Genuinely.
Watch the sun rise.
Let that idiot in the Subaru in your lane.
Tell people to have a nice day — and sincerely mean it.


For most of my life, I’ve always had this approachable aura about me. No really — in a crowd full of people, I swear I am always the one strangers are drawn to. At the gym, at the grocery store, even at the office. I’m always the one who gets asked directions. People always try to make small talk with me in the elevator. Things like that. I think I just have one of those faces that people know they can trust. Or something like that.

So what did this cruel, bleak, Cleveland winter do to me? It hardened me. It depressed my spirit. It made me snippy with people — even ones I like! It made me feel like if I could just master the RBF [resting bitch face] and look unapproachable, people will stop trying to engage with me. Surprise: it didn’t work. It just made me crankier when those people inevitably did try and engage with me. What an unfortunate way to go about your every day. 

Cue summer vibes: right on time. It wasn’t a conscious decision I made, hell, I didn’t even realize how negative I really had been until I started writing this. But something in me switched. It started with small talk in the copy room at work, with that lady that always traps you in conversation when you’re only half listening. I had a nice, quick conversation with her then I walked away. Then it carried onto the road. I am a petty, passive aggressive driver when I want to be (read: all the time). In the last few days I have been leaving earlier so as to not be in any rush, and letting the crazy people do their own crazy thing behind their own wheel. I realized there is no use in getting myself in a mess or all worked up just because the turd in the BMW wants to cut me off. Something so simple, yet it felt so freeing. New people in my class at the gym? Instead of judging them and/or silently scathing them for being in my personal space… Oh, here you go–you just need a light set of weights, a heavy set, and a mat. No, you don’t want to get that close to me, we move around a lot. You’re doing great!

Life is so much easier (and less stressful !!!) when you are nicer. Nicer to other people, and nicer to yourself. It’s okay to relax. Things will work out. It’s easy to say and to practice when the sun is out and everything is green and beautiful. I just hope this feeling of positivity carries with me throughout all seasons.

“If you want to lift yourself up,
Lift someone else up.”

Checking in

Hello!

After a long, hot summer full of new beginnings [in my career], planning overload [for bachelorette and surprise birthday parties], and finally getting to be the maid of honor in a beautiful wedding… I finally feel like I have a life back! Summer is officially over in Cleveland, wildly apparent in the 60 degree weather and continuous rain we’ve had all weekend, and football season starts tomorrow–my favorite time of the year. Now that everything has calmed down, I’m also contemplating whether or not I should get a cat…but more on that later.

Tonight we experience a solar eclipse and new moon in Virgo (which happens to be my moon sign), and the most important thing I can say about this is, When you are needless, you are free.” So, let go of all that shit that’s been holding you down and embrace your inner strength and new beginnings! Without realizing the cosmic significance of today, I stumbled across this quote earlier and now see how applicable and appropriate it is to share:

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Hopefully you’ll get to hear more from me now that the busiest most fun summer of my life has come to an end!!!

Summer Reading List

Summer is officially here, and you need some good books in your life in order to properly beach it (or to properly tan in your back yard because, whatever). So, please, slowly back away from the TV and keep in mind that now you’re older, you’re going to need some form of brain stimulation, and no one has to force lame summer reading books on you. You have the ability to actually pick books that sound interesting to you! Please refer to the illustration below if you need further motivation to freaking read.

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Ya feel me? Here’s what’s on my summer reading list:

Shades of Grey: A Novel by Jasper Fforde

Not to be confused with Fifty Shades of Grey (seeeesh). But, in Shades of Grey, your status in society is determined strictly by your limited color perception. Outstanding, right? The book focuses on one man, with a “better-than-average” red perception, trying to move up and all the obstacles he faces in doing so. I saw it on a list of books to read by BuzzFeed, and seeing as color perception is such a difficult subject to write on (have you ever tried to explain a sunset to someone who is colorblind?), it seems like a really interesting read.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Confession. I watched all three seasons of The Mindy Project in an embarrassingly short amount of time (which may have led to my decision to buy all these books in the first place). I fell in love with it, hard and fast. Mindy Kaling as Dr. Mindy Lahiri is every woman who has ever struggled in their career; every woman who has ever desperately pursued a man who wasn’t right for her; every woman who has ever had impossible word vomit at the most inopportune times. And if this show could captivate me so completely, it’s safe to say a memoir by the creator should be just as entertaining.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This best-selling book has been hailed as the next Gone Girl. Not that I ever read that book to begin with, but I saw the movie (because, Ben Affleck, duh), and as crazy and thrilling as that movie was, The Girl on the Train seems like a quality, slightly disturbing, female-driven thriller. It’s a story about a woman who’s life has systematically fallen apart so she sits on a train daily, usually in a drunken haze, to pass the time. Apparently, this woman witnesses something horrific on one ride, and not only has to try to convince others what she saw, but also herself. I could get into that.

Soften by Erin Elizabeth Wehrenberg

I’ve already started on this book. Soften is a collection of poetry, prose, thoughts and anecdotes from the unique mind of Erin Elizabeth Wehrenberg. A shift from her first 30-page book, her second book is over 500 pages that reads fairly quick. Erin challenges modern thinking and also reminds us that we’re all going through something, and no one is alone. It’s a refreshing, inspiring and thought-provoking read… at any given point a page may speak to you in ways you never knew words on paper could.

 

Okay– so there you have it. Happy reading!!

My 5 Summer Essentials

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1. Sunscreen

Every summer, I make it my goal to get as tan as humanly possible. I am lucky enough to have Italian in my blood, but I also have a dash of Russian and Slovak, which means I get nasty burns on my pasty white skin in the beginning of summer if I’m not protected properly. I have two must-have sunscreens; one for the face and one for the rest of my body, plus a night-time sunscreen that protects me against those dreadful bugs.

I like to use Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 for my face. It works well underneath my makeup, even with my combination skin, and gives me lasting protection all day. I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my skin since I started using it regularly, too!

For the rest of my body, I recently discovered Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Ultra Radiance – a waterproof, SPF 15 sunscreen with built-in shimmer. It’s oil-free, so it leaves no greasy feel and it’s infused with shea butter complex and mango fruit extract so it smells great. It is gentle enough for daily use, and makes you look fabulous lying out in the sun with all that built-in shimmer.

At night I switch to Avon Skin So Soft Bug Guard before I go out. It’s SPF30, but since the sun isn’t out, the SPF isn’t my main concern – I love using it for the bug protection! It repels mosquitoes, deer ticks, black flies, sand flies, gnats, no-seeums and biting midges. Mosquitoes especially love me (my aunt tells me it’s because I’m so sweet). Regardless if I am wearing nothing, scented lotion, or ten layers of OFF!, they eat me alive. This is the only bug repellent I have found that actually hides me from those pesky mosquitoes, and while the product is a little bit on the greasy side, I wouldn’t leave my house for the night without it

2. Bronzer

Using SPF 30 on my face and SPF 15 on the rest of my body often leaves my face a shade or two lighter than the rest of my body, which is usually handled with my foundation, but I love finishing off my look with some bronzer to enhance my natural glow. I’m currently using this Baked Mineral Bronzing Powder from Victoria’s Secret, but it’s a little too glittery for how generously I like to apply it to my face. I think I may go back to my drugstore store fave, Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster.

3. Vibrant nail polish

Nothing says summer like neon colored nails that bring out your tan. I am over-obsessed with this color, Too Yacht to Handle, from China Glaze. Currently, though, I am rocking China Glaze Flirty Tankini, a shimmery coral that looks fantastic against my skin tone. China Glaze is my favorite nail polish brand, just because of the built-in hardeners and for how consistent it goes on my nails.

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Too Yacht to Handle by China Glaze. Don’t mind the Game of Thrones and Pinot Noir in the background…

4. Racerback tanks

I’ve never been one that was in on the most current fashion trends, but I’m pretty sure racerbacks are in, right? Regardless if they are or not, I have recently become obsessed. Not only do they show off my back muscles that I have been working oh-so-hard to tone, but they are flattering to my shoulders and arms as well! Perfect active wear for whatever summer adventure you have planned, perfect to throw over your bikini top at the beach, and perfect for a long, fun night of bar hopping. From graphics ones, like this one I picked up at Express (during their 40% off sale, might I add), or these simple ones I ordered on Amazon, they are the quintessential top of the summer.

5. Cheap wayfarer sunglasses

My sunglasses retention rate is nothing to be proud of. Just this past weekend, my friend gave me a pair of awesome shades, and in my hung over haze the next day, I popped the lens right out. My favorite pair before that, I left on a plane going to Vegas. As you can see, I can’t justify spending copious amounts of money on sunglasses when their lifespan is shorter than that of a fly. Hence, my obsession with cheap wayfarers. I think these look good on anyone who has trouble finding a good pair of glasses, and you can literally find them on Amazon for around $1.00. So when I lose this awesome pair of mirrored wayfarers I am currently rocking, I won’t feel as bad to replace them. I’m all about the mirrored ones at the moment—not only does it give me free reign to stare at whoever I want without their knowledge, but I have also been caught using the lenses as a mirror for my own makeup touch-ups. Summer MUST for sure.

Enjoy!

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May your summer take you to a sandy beach with crystal clear water