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January 2016 According to Instagram

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9:20 PM
Tomorrow is February and we are officially one month into the new year. Can you believe it? 
Here's some stuff I posted on Instagram that I really liked this month:
I frequented this place called Momiji's because they make the best sushi sandwiches! So much yum! I also found an awesome recipe for homemade green tea oreos and they may just be something I pack for Jen's Galentine's day care package. 
Who doesn't love flatlays? Some of these were done kind of impromptu and but it's so much fun to put together and experiment with, photography-wise. 
And of course, a couple of miscellaneous pictures throughout the city. 

February 2016 Bucket List

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6:33 PM
Good evening lovelies!
I had a great time trying to go and complete all the items from my January Bucket List this past month so I decided to come up with a list for February! I've managed to complete the following:
  • Visit a DC restaurant week restaurant
  • Go see a Kennedy Center show
  • Watch all Oscar-nominated films
  • Go ice-skating in the Sculpture Garden
  • Take a walk with a Starbucks peppermint mocha
Five out of seven - not too bad, right?
Anyways, here are the items for February:
  1. See the Chinese New Years festival: DC's Chinatown has a big celebration every year and I've yet to go! This is going to be my year! Fun fact: It's the year of the Monkey this year.
  2. Send Jen my annual Galentine's day package: My best friend Jen and I send each other a care package full of fun trinkets and snacks for "Galentine's Day." I have a couple ideas in mind for what to put in it. I can't wait!
  3. Watch the Academy Awards: My roommates and I are going to make a list of predictions and play a drinking game this year! Honestly though, I just want to see Leonardo DiCaprio come out a winner. #justiceforleo!
  4. Do a closet purge before spring: I have really been putting off cleaning my closet since I moved in so I want to get it done before March. Maybe I'll do a post on that?
  5. Visit the National Portrait Gallery: I've been to this museum quite a few times but I think I want to go again. I'm actually thinking of starting a series on the blog called "#Museuming" where I talk about some of the amazing museums (especially all of the Smithsonians) in DC. Let me know if that's a post you guys would like to read!
  6. Take a Staycay: February will be a particularly busy month for me at work. We have a HUGE conference that we'e been planning all year. I'm told that there will be a lot of overtime involved as well! I booked a day after the conference to take off when I plan to stay at home and just do nothing. Hard work deserves a break every once in a while, don't you think?

Snow Day Essentials and Tips

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12:00 PM
When Winter Storm Jonas hit the area, my workplace (and many places in DC) closed their offices and I have since had the last few days either off or have been coming into work after a delay. In fact, even today, our office is opening at 11am! To say I'm starting to get a bit str-crazy would be an accurate statement. 
I also think it's safe to say I've learned a few lessons on how to best deal with the snow (and cabin fever) and I'd like to share some of these tips with you:
  • Buy supplies and groceries ahead of time: The snow started to fall on Friday at noon and I knew Thursday night would be the worst time to go pick up anything at any store because the lines would be crazy and inventory would be limited. In fact my friend went to a Safeway on Friday at 10am and told me that it was just chaos. I decided to skip the lines and went to buy my supplies on Wednesday during my lunch break (I live within a few blocks of my workplace and the grocery store!)
  • Check your generator and your backup: The worst thing to happen during a snowstorm is losing power in the middle of it. Make sure that you're covered there! Luckily, the power lines in my apartment building are underground so I didn't have to worry too much about losing power. 
  • Come up with activities to do: I gifted my roommates adult coloring books and we all broke ours out during the heaviest part of the snow storm. I also blogged a lot and go caught up on a my TV shows. There's a bar right next door to my building that was open so my roommates and I went there on Saturday night because we were sick of staying in. It's so easy to get restless when you're stuck indoors so have a plan for when you start getting bored. On that note...
  • If you live with roommates, find a way to not drive each other crazy: My roommates are such fantastic people so we weren't really getting on each others' nerves or anything but I think if were stuck indoors for longer than we were, anybody would start to grate on each others' nerves. Go to your room or your corner when you need some alone time. You guys don't have to spend all your time together just because you live with each other.
For those of you guys who are more used to having snow days, what are some of your tips and essentials? Share your thoughts and help us all better prepare for next year! 

Repeat Stuff | Leather Leggings and Tall Boots

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12:00 PM
Wonderful Wednesday everyone!
These leggings are back! Actually, almost everything about this outfit has been work together in some way before! I've worn these boots with this sweater and bag before here. The coat, however, is new - I found it at H&M for half off! I think it's good to keep clothes on repeat. I know not all of us have an unlimited budget for clothes and we're not constantly buying new things. My roommate and I were talking about some of her blogger pet-peeves and she told me she was turned off by bloggers whose lives revolve around their blog instead of their blog revolving around their lives. It's a good point and one I'm certainly trying to be more mindful of and if that means repeating outfits on the blog (because that's what I do in real life), so be it. 


Thanks for reading!

Top: Forever 21 sweater (similar here), H&M coat
Bottoms: Forever 21 leggings (similar by Joe Fresh)
Accessories: LOFT sunglasses, Zara bag
Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)

Book Club: 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas

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12:00 PM
I'm a sucker for cute packaging and as such, I'm also a sucker for a cute book cover which may explain why I was drawn to 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino. As I read through the book, I found myself being rather intrigued by the storytelling, the music, and most importantly the characters. 
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2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas
By Marie-Helene Bertino
Madeleine Altimari: A foul-mouthed, chain-smoking 9-year-old girl with dreams of becoming a jazz singer like her dearly departed mother. Sarina Greene: Madeleine's teacher who moves back to her hometown of Philadelphia after her divorce and reunites with her high school flame. Jack Lorca: The owner of the historic Cat's Pajamas jazz club who's dealing with the looming threat of having to close his beloved Philly haunt. Marie-Helene Bertino tells the interweaving story of three different characters over the course of one day (Christmas Eve Eve) in her debut novel. 
Madeleine lives in a roach-filled apartment with an absent father after her mother passes away. Clearly this doesn't do much to dampen her lively and spunky spirit. I like how frankly the author describes her - "Madeleine has no friends: Not because she contains a tender grace that fifth graders detest and loathe. Not because she has a natural ability that points her starward, though she does. Madeleine has no friends because she's a jerk." (pg 21-22). The book goes on to describe exactly why she's a jerk (she punches a boy the way her mom taught her when she gets expelled) and though I admit, if I knew a girl like her, I probably wouldn't want to be her friend either, but she was most certainly not an unlikeable character for me. Perhaps it's because she holds on to her dreams of becoming a jazz singer like her mother and whenever she does sing, magical things happen. For me, she is the epitome of "magical realism" and for that I'm invested in her outcome. 
Sarina is helplessly in love with a man she was spurned by during her youth. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) she runs into an old high school friend who invites the two of them over for dinner and her story unfolds. Where Madeleine represents an element of the extraordinary, Sarina's was painfully familiar. Who hasn't felt the sting and lasting hurt of an immature boy? I was incredibly interested in how her evening with Ben turned out and hoped only for a happy one. 
And finally, there's Lorca who is cited for way too many city violations at his club and fined an exorbitant amount of money else risk closing the historic club forever. Lorca was the character I connected to the least - perhaps it's because he's not the most talkative nor expressive of people so I felt his character development a bit lacking compared to the rest of the cast of characters. It's unfortunate because he has the most going on - looming foreclosure of the neighborhood gem, his girlfriend leaving him, and his son (Alex) seeking his approval on the musical stage. 
The book reads a bit like a Wes Anderson movie - whimsical and romantic, complete with a sailor-mouthed kid, and I rather liked the jazzy tone of the novel's pacing. I think what Bertino does well is capturing moments, feelings, and characters through colorful language and imagery. She fleshes out even her secondary characters like Pedro the dog and Ted Stempel. She proves with each word why her book is worth our time - she paints a picture that enhances the reading experience of her novel. You will laugh at her tragically clever punchlines and feel sad with the characters too. While reading, I've definitely stopped to mark clever one-liners and thoughts I've certainly had but was unable to articulate so eloquently.
I did some research on Bertino and it apparently took her over a decade to finish this book. There's definitely a sense of this novel having been well worn-in, like a pair of shoes you love and fits comfortably. It's clear that the author loves Philadelphia and kept all the details and the intricacies of the city in mind while writing this novel. It's equally clear she has a deep appreciation for jazz music. Fun fact: Bertino has created a playlist for this book (that's available on Spotify) and it makes for great listening while reading this book!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Fee, Fi, Faux Fur | Faux Fur Vest and Leopard Pumps

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12:00 PM
Marvelous Monday lovelies!
These pictures were taken when we had a warm-ish day, before the snowstorm hit the east coast. I actually wish I had more of an occasion to wear these leather leggings because they're seriously so warm and comfy! I will say, though, that they are more form-fitting and less forgiving of flaws than regular leggings are (especially my Zara leggings - those are perfect because the material is so heavy and offer so much support). As with any pair of leggings, when I wear them, I always make sure my butt and my crotch area are covered. Luckily, my chambray shirt and my vest are long so I'm good to go. 
I wish I had more chances to wear this vest! I never really understood the appeal of a vest before because they seemed inefficient at keeping you warm (I mean, your arms are still not covered). This past Autumn/Winter had me changing my mind about them because wow, have they kept my core toasty! Like I said, we had a blizzard hit the area last weekend so this vest won't be enough for a while but it sure does add a bit of oomph to an otherwise neutral outfit, doesn't it?




What are your thoughts on vests?

Top: Forever 21 shirt, Forever 21 vest
Bottoms: Forever 21 (similar by Joe Fresh)
Accessories: LOFT sunglasses, Prada bag (similar here), Forever 21 necklace (similar here)

Currently... (Vol. 16)

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8:53 PM
Good cold evening lovelies!

In case you haven't heard, the east coast was hit with a historic blizzard this weekend and I've been safely tucked away inside for most of it. I did venture out to take a walk and managed to capture a picture of the Washington monument when I passed by it (we went all the way to the National Mall!) Other than that, I was pretty much content to stay indoors with my Netflix account and the embarrassingly large amount of chocolate and wine I purchased in preparation for the snow (no shame). If you've been following me on Snapchat (btw, my username is deborahyi08), you'll probably have seen all the ridiculous amount of pictures of the blizzard and for that, I apologize. 
In any case, onwards to some of the things I've enjoyed this week:
Currently

  • Reading: 2 A.M. at the Cat's Pajamas - I received this book from Blogging for Books for review and I finished it. I will have a review of it up on the blog this week! Stay tuned!
  • Watching: Making a Murderer - What better time than a snowstorm to watch the most talked-about new Netflix show? This was insanely amazing and had me at the edge of my seat! I haven't been listening to the new season of Serial as religiously as I did the first season but Making a Murderer has been my replacement. 
  • Listening: Music from the Cat's Pajamas - The author of the book I read this week also created a playlist to go with her book. It's all old-school jazz music and I highly recommend it! It makes for easy listening on cold snowy days.
  • Wearing: Zara earmuffs - I got these earmuffs from the kids section at Zara on sale. It fits fine and it's probably been one of my best investments this winter! Keeps my ears toasty warm. 
  • Eating: Patatas Bravas - I put up the recipe to this delicious tapa meal on the blog yesterday and I've been getting my fill of it this week! Go check it out if you haven't already!
  • Playing: Lifeline app - This was available for free download on the Apple app store last week and it's such a great game! The premise is a science student is stranded on an unknown planet and through a series of stories (kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure), you help guide the lonely astronaut for survival. I don't know who wrote the script but they should get a raise - I've never felt so invested in a game before! When you suggest a course of action, it'll tell you that the astronaut, Taylor, is busy for as long as it takes them to complete the activity and beep you to let you know they are done. It's pretty cool! It now costs $0.99 so it's pretty inexpensive. If you're looking for a new game to play, I recommend this one!

Kitchen Diaries: Patatas Bravas

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12:00 PM
I did a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain when I was in college and one of my favorite tapas I had there was Patatas Bravas. It's basically baked potatoes with bravas sauce (the ingredients of which I will list below). It's simple yet delicious and I definitely had an entire meal of just patatas bravas and nothing else (well, except sangria of course). I found myself craving this dish recently and I decided to turn to Pinterest to find the recipe. Read on to find the recipes and the instruction (originally found here):
Ingredients:

  • One can of tomato paste
  • Salt
  • 3 garlic cloves 
  • Garlic powder to taste (at least 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper 
  • 2-3 tsp of Sriracha sauce (or hot sauce)
  • 2 lbs of baby potatoes 
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
Directions:
1. Cut the potatoes into quarters and boil them in hot water for about 15 min. Preheat oven to 425F
2. Once boiled, place the potatoes onto a baking pan and cover with a mix of about 3 tbsp of olive oil and a generous mix of salt and garlic powder
3. Place the potatoes into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes
4. For the bravas sauce, heat a bit of olive oil (1 tbsp) in a skillet and add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir until the onions become translucent. 
5. Stir in paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Add the tomato paste, a cup of water, and the Sriracha sauce. If you like spicy foods, you can add more but if you prefer your bravas sauce with less of a kick, add less. Stir the mixture for about 10 minutes
6. Once the potatoes are done baking, place them in a bowl or place and put the pour a bit of the bravas sauce on top. Enjoy!
Is this a recipe you guys can see yourselves trying? If you do, be sure to tweet or tag me on instagram

Interview with a Librarian

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12:00 PM
As some of you guys may know, my best friend Jen is a librarian and proud book lover and nerd. She has recommended many great books to me and has even guest-written a few book reviews here on the blog! I sat down with her last week (so to speak) and interviewed her. While my blog primarily functions as a platform to share my personal style, I also like to think of myself as a part-time book blogger as well so an interview with a librarian seemed appropriate. 
A little about Jen: She currently works for an army research library for the US Federal government. She specializes in digital libraries and volunteers at a public library in her free time. 
Jen and myself, Chinatown, DC, December 2015
What made you want to be a librarian?
I wanted to be a librarian because I fell in love with research and data management, as nerdy as that sounds. During my undergrad I was an art history student, concentrating on research, and interning at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. My job at the Walters was to scan glass plate negatives, edit them for clarity, and upload metadata before the images were uploaded to the Museum's website. I loved this job, because the Walters has 55 centuries of art and I was able to see the whole collection and be apart of its life! I knew right away I wanted to do something that involved research and data, so after talking with my mentors they suggested I look into the field of digital librarianship. I have enjoyed almost every second of my education and career as a librarian. 

What are some of the most satisfying aspects of your job?
I find many aspects satisfying about my job, like good metadata, finding obscure articles or books for patrons, and being able to provide a service that makes it easier for people to learn something new or find the research they need. I would also say I am very proud to work for the federal government. There is always a lot frustration with all the bureaucracy and hurdles it can take to perform certain duties, but at the end of the day it is nice to know that I can find a way to help my country in some small way. 

What is a digital librarian?
A digital librarian is a librarian who works with digital libraries. A digital library is a collection of digitized or digitally born books, articles, photos, maps, etc. As a digital librarian I have a degree in managing digital information I way that makes easy for patrons to access, disseminate, and use. 

What are your thoughts on how e-books affect libraries?
As a reader, my opinion on eBooks is pretty positive. As a human being I prefer to read a print book because I prefer a more tangible experience. However I have way too many books and tend to read one or two a week and given that paperbacks are between $15-$20, it can cost a lot of money.  So as a reader I use my public library, my library's eBook options, and I purchase both print and digital books. 
As a librarian, I am fine with eBooks for the following reasons: One, publishers are making it easier for librarians to purchase eBook collections, which means as a science librarian I can purchase a collection of 47,500 eBooks and eJournals for my patrons at a reduced rate and give access limited to an IP address, meaning that if a patron simply googles that book title while he or she is at our facility they will then see that book in their top search results and have access to it. With certain vendors you can purchase subscription services to databases that have subject content on everything relevant to your library. Sometime publishers charge a lot of money and these sort of deals can be difficult to negotiate but at the end of the day giving patrons a wider net of research options can be very satisfying. 
For people who are worried that eBooks are destroying the printed word, I have the following message: it's not. PEW research center does a lot of research into libraries and how people consume information. In their most recent study they do illustrate that eBook interest is rising, but they also indicate that print books still remain the vast majority of what people prefer to read, including teens. Furthermore, I am always just happy to see that people are interested in reading any format.

What kinds of books do you like to read?
I have a very wide and eclectic range of books I read. I am definitely a sci-fi fan and love fictional literature. Recently I have been getting into biographies like Notorious RBG and Yes Please. I think at the end of the day I just like a good story, with interesting characters, that will take me somewhere different for a little while. I have been told that it's funny that don't like historical fiction give that I was an art history major, but what can you do. 

Anything else you think we should know?
Most public libraries have worked out state consortia to provide access to eBooks, databases, and Hoopla (a public library version of Netflix). If you are trying to find a way to read more but can't afford it there are always options at your public library. Ask your local library what services they have that can help at work, find books you find interesting, and about their electronic content.
Personal tip: when someone asks you on a date, ask for a book recommendation. If they say they don't read, they aren't worth it. If they can have a reasonable discussion about whatever books or media interest them go for it! 

Product Review: Clinique's Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel

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12:00 PM
I was incredibly fortunate to not have had to struggle with acne as a teenager. I am, however unfortunate to have had to suffer breakouts as an adult.
I actually remember getting my first pimple when I was 22 and I had no idea what was happening to me. Luckily, my friends assured me that this was normal too (adult acne is a real thing) and while I don't suffer from chronic acne, I do get the occasional spot here and there. There was a week a few months back when I was incredibly exhausted and stressed out from work and I had two very painful pimples on my forehead that just wouldn't go away. I turned to Sephora where the sales associate referred me to Clinique's Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel (that is a mouthful). I've used it for a few months now and here's what I've found to be true about it:
Packaging: I initially thought the packaging was boring and average but I actually grew quite fond of the simplicity of it after a while. I also like that there's a kind of extra turn you can do to make sure you know the lid is fully closed so as to lessen the likelihood of an accidental spillage. 4/5
Formula: Well, the packaging is probably the only thing about I really liked considering that the formula did absolutely nothing for me!  It had a strong smell and it stung quite a bit when I applied the gel. I figured that was how I could tell it was working. Unfortunately, it didn't make my spots smaller or do anything. I might as well have rubbed water on my breakouts for all the good it would have done. At least water doesn't smell so strongly of chemicals, nor does it sting. I did notice my skin around the area I applied the gel would feel drier which is unfortunate because I have very dry skin to begin with. I reckon that the gel attempts to dry the pimple out. Unfortunately, my breakouts happen to occur because my skin is already dry so my skin overproduces oil in some parts to compensate (according to my dermatologist). For the record, I did apply the gel at nights and I applied it under makeup once. I don't know what I expected when I wore it under makeup (considering it's a gel after all) but the gel part started to peel, making the concealer I applied over it flake. How embarrassing! 1/5
Price: I paid $26 and considering how it didn't work out for me at all, I think it was way overpriced. There's justification for it. 1/5

I read reviews of this online and I do know that this product works for some people out there, particularly those who have oily skin. If that's the case for you, maybe try a sample of this but otherwise, I just can't in good conscience recommend this product for anyone, especially for fellow dry-skinned people out there. It's such a shame because I actually really love Clinique products and I really wanted to like this too. I guess this one was a huge miss for me. 

Lounging Around | Comfy Leggings and Embellished Tee

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12:00 PM
I was planning on having a completely different outfit up but one look at the temperatures outside and I said one loud "NOPE" and went back inside.
Leggings and a t-shirt on cold days are my go-to. Add a cup of warm coffee to the mix and it's the perfect recipe to spend a winter day indoors.

Thanks for reading!

Top: Zara 
Bottoms: Zara 
Accessories: Keep Calm mug

Shoes: Forever 21

Winter Workout Tips

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12:00 PM
One of the most common New Years resolutions is to get in shape, lose weight, etc. Unfortunately, especially for those who live in colder climates like yours truly, our willpower is tested as the the New Year doesn't start in spring but rather the middle of winter. It can be hard to get motivated to get up and get to the gym when all you want to do is stay inside and stay warm and cozy. Lucky for you, I have a few tips that helped me get out and brave the cold and go running:
  1. Long-sleeved everything: When you pick out your workout clothes, try to find things that will keep you covered from the elements made with insulating materials. That said, keep in mind that you're exercising so you'll get hot. Therefore dress yourself as if it's...maybe 15 degrees warmer than it actually is. 
  2. Or just skip going outside: Luckily, we have an indoor gym so I could run on a treadmill or use the ellipticals when the temps fall below freezing. If it's too cold out, see if you can find an indoor gym and work out there. Even better, there are plenty of youtube videos out there that can help you get in shape in the comfort of your own home!
  3. Run with minimized windchill: If you must run outside (which, I get because running on a treadmill can make me feel like a hamster sometimes), try to run where there's lots of trees or buildings instead of the open air - it'll help minimize the windchill factor.
  4. Beware if you have Raynaud's Syndrome: The worst thing about having Raynaud's Syndrome, like I do, is that any attempt at running outside when it's under 50F degrees will result in my fingers tuning numb and swollen. If possible try to keep your fingers, toes, and ears covered. Even if you don't have Raynaud's, it's generally a good idea to keep these parts of your body warm.
Do you have any tips for working out in the wintertime?

Coffee Run | Lace Trim Sweater and Leather Lapels

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12:00 PM
Happy Martin Luther King Day everyone!
I like to take breaks during the work day by getting coffee outside. We have a big Keurig in the office but I think sometimes I just need to get out of the office. In fact, I think it helps me be a bit more productive! One thing about DC is that people are workaholics! I wish I could tell people sometimes that it's okay to let yourself relax once in a while - the world won't come tumbling down because you let yourself have a quick coffee break.

Sorry for the lack of photos - it was 19F degrees outside (or -7C for those who live outside of America). I took exactly 4 photos and said "Nope! I'm done!" and promptly walked inside. It's so cold!

Top: H&M sweater, H&M blazer (similar here)
Bottoms: H&M jeans
Accessories: J.Crew clutch
Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)

Book Club: One More Thing

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12:00 PM
I normally try not to post book reviews on Fridays but with all the reading I'm doing, posting one book review a month is just not going to cut it. I wanted to review this book literally as soon as I finished it and I couldn't help but want to post the following review: 
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One More Thing
By B.J. Novak
I admit, the only reason I read this book was because I was familiar with B.J. Novak on the American version of The Office. I didn't find him particularly funny but it was my love for the show that made me give this book a chance. 
I couldn't put it down!
This book is a collection of short stories, all about very different things but with some commonalities. It explores the theme of self-importance and pretension but in everyday situations. I think Novak's specialty is starting a story in the most ordinary of ways and taking the readers through an unexpected turn! It almost reads like a hypothetical question you have - "What if ___ happened?" but with the question answered and seen completely through. Some of my favorite stories include "The Rematch," "Sophia," "Julie and the Warlord," and "The Bravest Thing I Ever Did," precisely because they are things that I didn't know I would be curious about but... well now I know. These are the stories that made me laugh but could feel the sadness behind the humor. I've never felt so introspective while reading a book about the pretentiousness of others. How ironic. 
I almost never give 5 stars on Goodreads but this is one book I gave 5 stars to. Novak's quirkiness, depth, and his intelligence can be profoundly felt from each page. I can't recommend this book enough to you guys! 

My Favorite Fictional Nerds

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12:00 PM
I am a nerd and a proud one! However, lately I have become defensive of the title. 
As the cool kids I personally know from high school realize the exciting benefits of nerd culture, I have begun to question their sincerity, given their pasts involving bullying nerds, myself among them. 
Of course, there are no qualifications to be a nerd and the community of nerds are often happy to include new people into our ranks. Additionally I am aware that there are many different types of nerds, from book nerds, gaming nerds, coffee nerds, art nerds, science nerds, space nerds, nerds who do magic, etc. It is almost impossible to list them all and perhaps I am little too defensive now that my own bullies are attempting to take up the role of the "cool nerd."
Regardless, as I contemplate the types of nerds that have found most intriguing and which I identify with the most, I find I am drawn to many fictional nerds. 
To me the following list exemplifies traits that I associate with nerd culture and our communities:
  1. Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls): Now here's a girl who had everything - supermodel good looks, a sharp wit, and brains enough to get to Yale! Whenever people ask "Can women truly have everything?" I point them in the direction of Rory Gilmore because to me, she had everything!
  2. Ben Wyatt (Parks and Rec): If Rory Gilmore is the person I wanted to be, Ben Wyatt is the person I am/want to marry! He is perhaps not the most conventionally attractive person out there, but he tries hard and works for progress and change. He has his super nerd moments (he's a Game of Thrones fan) but he's always looking to help people while maintaining a level head. 
  3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series): Now here's a nerd everyone loves! Our favorite witch, Hermione! She was the first accurate nerd I'd ever encountered and I loved it! I mean, come on, if you went to magic school, would you not want to study hard and ace all your tests? Not to mention she was against forced indentured servitude of house elves (S.P.E.W. was most certainly a progressive movement) and was a Prefect! #nerdgoals
  4. Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory): I guess I'm doing opposites in pairs because I would say the opposite of Hermione is Sheldon! Sheldon is a very unrealistic character yet an endearingly funny one! While Hermione tries to further social justice causes, Sheldon is a researcher, a theoretical physicist to be exact. He has no real interest outside of science and comic books. In fact, just getting him to go outside and date a woman was such an ordeal!
Who are some of your favorite fictional nerds? 

Cold Days | Sweater Shirtdress and Black Ankle Boots

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12:00 PM
Wondrous Wednesday everyone!
After the temperatures hit a certain point, I really stop caring about trying to look nice. That's a potentially controversial statement for a style blogger to make but when I saw that it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit outside the morning I took these photos, any notion I had for going tights-less for blog photos when out the window. 
I know that tights aren't always the most attractive thing to wear, especially for a photoshoot, but I honestly would much rather stay warm and comfortable than freeze for a nice picture. This blog is about my personal style and any attempt to be inauthentic would feel wrong to me. This was a real outfit that I wore to work one this past week - tights and all. It was cold and I knew I wouldn't be meeting with anyone that day so my work was forgiving of my slightly casual outfit. I took these photos really quickly too - I was outside for maybe a total of 10 minutes and was running in and out of my coat in between photos! Brr!


What are your thoughts on winter photoshoots?

Dress: Forever 21
Accessories: BCBG bangle, Forever 21 necklace (similar here), GAP tights, Tory Burch bag
Shoes: Forever 21 (similar here)

Let's Get Organized: Workspace

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12:00 PM
My workspace is incredibly important to me and I'd wager that it's important to a lot of you guys out there as well. It's a personal space where you go to get your creative juices flowing - it's where brilliant ideas happen! Everyone's workspace is going to be different because everyone's work-necessities are different. Mindy Kaling wrote in her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me that her real workspace is her bed. Many bloggers have rented office space. It's all different because it's all personal and what one person needs to get things done will be different from another person.
If you're like me, though, and you like having a desk and chair because working on your laptop from your bed makes you sleepy (anyone else?), here are some things to keep in mind to make sure your workspace is neat and organized:
  • Clear the clutter: When my desk is cluttered, my mind feels cluttered too. I always try to make sure to remove all unnecessary items from my desk before I start working from it. An easy way to clear everything off is if you make sure there's a place for all your essential items. That said...
  • Go easy on the knick-knacks: I like having a few "fun" items. My cow pen jar has been the crown jewel of my workspace since my college days! Remember, though, that this is supposed to be a place to get work done so if they're going to be a distraction, it may be best to put them away.  
  • Make room for white space: I always make sure that I have at least a small area of "nothing" - it makes it easier to place a document and sign it or what have you. It's also just generally a good idea to have an area for non-computer work because it'll help you organize the different types of work you need to get done on a daily basis
  • Reassess frequently: This sort of goes along with "clearing the clutter" but take time once a day or so to evaluate your space - do you really need to keep that stack of papers there? Is that desk toy really helping with your creativity or is it distracting you? If it doesn't need to be there, move it away!

Do you guys have any organization tips for keeping your workspace clean?

I’m a Reader, Not a Fighter | Soft Chiffon and Pleated Skirt

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12:00 PM
Good Monday morning lovelies!
I recently joined a book club! One of the books we will be reading is called Reading Lolita in Tehran, a memoir of an Iranian woman who taught literature, and sometimes banned literature, during the early days of the Iranian Revolution. The more I read and hear about people who stand up for what's right even when the world stands against them I'm left in awe of their bravery. I'm not one for violence or war but something about how simply reading, learning, and educating yourself can be a form of protest and rebellion is amazing to me. 
Side note, I recently got approved to become a "Blogging for Books" blogger! I will be receiving copies of books for review on the blog. Honest opinions are encouraged and I'm really excited to be reviewing the first one soon! 


Thanks for reading!

Top: H&M romper (worn as a top) (similar here), H&M blazer (similar here)
Bottoms: Charlotte Russe (similar here)
Accessories: GAP tights, Zara bag (similar from Target)
Shoes: H&M

Currently... (Vol. 15)

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12:00 PM
While I love putting together these "Currently" posts, I never seem to be able to get around to it! The weekends fly by so quickly and I end up sipping Sunday posts altogether. 
Well, in the spirit of getting more organized and punctual when it comes to blogging (I posted every day this week so you know I'm off to a good start this year!), Here's a list of things I'm enjoying currently:
Currently

  • Watching: The Golden Globes - I've written down a list of my predictions and once again, I'm #teamleo. What are your awards show predictions?
  • Listening: Serial Season 2 - ohmygod this season is so amazing! I really enjoyed the first season and I wasn't sure how she would top it but the whole situation around Bowe Bergdahl had me incredibly intrigued!
  • Reading: One More Thing by BJ Novak - I just finished reading this book! I got it for Christmas from Jen and I didn't get around to reading it until this week but the stories were all hilarious and pretty thought-provoking at times. Definitely going to do a review on this at some point
  • Eating: Slow-Cooked Breakfast Casserole - I did a whole post on how I made these delicious breakfast items here. Check it out!
  • Drinking: Chinatown Coffee Co. - My post on this amazing coffee shop is here. Read all about it!
  • Wearing: BCBG Bangle - I received this bangle for Christmas and I've been wearing it non-stop! It's so pretty and the words are optimistic! I just love it!
Have a great week!

Kitchen Diaries: Slow Cooked Breakfast Casserole

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12:00 PM
I have another slow-cooker recipe for you guys this week: Breakfast casseroles!

I had never made this recipe before but as it involves few ingredients (eggs, bacon, hash browns, cheese, etc), I figured I really couldn't go wrong. 
I was right - these turned out to be delicious and I've been having them for breakfast almost every weekend!

Ingredients:
(serves 4)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk (I used almond milk but you can use whatever you have around)
  • 1 lb of hash brown potatoes 
  • 1/2 lbs of chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup of diced onions
  • 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper (plus more to taste)
Directions:
1. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until well mixed
2. Add the milk, garlic powder, mustard, salt and pepper. Put this aside for now. 
3. Create a layer of hash brown potatoes at the bottom of the slow-cooker and add 1/3 of the onions and 1/3 of the bacon
4. Add a layer of cheese
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you're out of ingredients
6. Pour the egg mixture over the layers
7. Cook on high for 4 hours

Bon apetit! 

5 Essential Apps for Productivity

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12:00 PM
Let's talk about something that I bet a lot of you will have close by at all times: our phones!
When it comes to apps, I like to make them work for me because otherwise, what's the point? I'm a young DC working-girl and I like having my iPhone apps reflect that so whenever I download an app, I like to think about how much use I'll get out of it (I only have so much space on my phone after all). I tend to be very picky about apps for productivity as I find a lot of them to be redundant and somewhat inefficient but I've boiled down a list of 5 apps that I always download and never delete because I find them incredibly helpful:
  1. Evernote: I've talked about Evernote a lot over the years because it's so useful! You can take notes on your phone, tablet or computer and it's all stored in "the cloud." I have a notebook in Evernote just for this blog and it's helped me keep my notes organized on the go and I can safely say that it makes blogging easier. 
  2. Dropbox: I can't emphasize enough how much Dropbox has helped me! It's basically an online storage unit for documents, pictures, etc. I've uploaded several versions of my resume and during impromptu casual-meetings-turned-networking situations, I've been able to simply send a copy of my resume on the spot. It also keeps the pictures from my phone safe for me, freeing up space on my phone!
  3. 1Password: This app is fairly new in my life but I don't know how I ever lived without it! It stores all of your logins and passwords so all you ever have to remember is the one password for this app! I don't know about you guys but having to come up with new passwords for all the accounts I log into daily is hard to keep track of. This is definitely one handy app to have up your sleeve.
  4. Day One: This is a journaling app that admittedly costs money but I happened to have downloaded it when it was Apple's "App of the Week" for free. That said, it only costs $4.99 and I've loved writing out my thoughts and being able to access them on other platforms. I think writing daily is important for aspiring writers (or bloggers in my case) and this has most certainly helped me write more. 
  5. Todo.Ly: This app is perfect if you're like me and like to "check" things off in your day. There's something deeply satisfying about clicking a check box after completing a task on your list and if you share my enthusiasm, this is a great app to have on your phone.
What are some of your favorite productivity apps?

Coffee Break: Chinatown Coffee Co.

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12:00 PM
In a little corner on 5th and H Street NW DC lies a little coffeeshop called Chinatown Coffee Co. There you will find quality coffee at moderate prices made from some of the finest beans the USA has to offer - I'm talking HEART beans from Portland and INTELLIGENSIA roasters from Chicago, some of the finest third wave coffee world.
Chinatown Coffee Co. is a local favorite but considering how popular it is, the location is pretty nondescript. Yes, it's in Chinatown but it's in a small space of a brownstone-like building that one could easily miss if not looking closely. The atmosphere is "hipster-y" and unglamorous but it's okay because that's not why we go there.
Their coffee is divine!
I usually go for a latte or an Americano (if I have a lot of work to do), plop myself in one of their communal seating area seats, and use their free wifi (which they actually offered before Starbucks ever did!) for my side hustle (the blog).



If you're ever in Washington, DC and craving a cup of joe, give Chinatown Coffee Co. a try!