Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolute



In keeping with my usual New Years tradition I have thought over a few words I really want to describe my next year. I'll continue to dive into these more and more over the next month and provide some explanation as to why I chose these and how I intent to live them. But here the are for you to read. And for me to now feel a responsibility to keep them:
Spontaneous.
Love well.
Adventurous.
Beautiful.

I gave up specific New Years goals a couple years ago. I turned out to be quite the over-achiever and my resolutions rarely reachable. But feeling like a grown up and needing to get some definite things accomplished here are some of this year's more tangible goals:

Use this year to find artwork and artists that I really love. I want to decorate with beautifully large pieces.
Learn more about old fashioned cocktails and the art of making them.
Pray.
Read.
Pay off debt.
Take that long awaited southern trip. Savannah and Charleston- I'm coming your way!

Wishing you all the most wonderful night and the happiest of new years! I will see you guys in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Everyone Can't Like You



Even as a firm-believer in loving everyone I have to be honest- there are people I don't really get along with that well. And I used to get horribly upset with someone didn't really like me that much either (pretty hypocritical of me, huh?). I thrived on the satisfaction I got from knowing everyone loved me. Found pride there even. I got thinking on my people-pleasing habits and my need to be liked by any and all and have realized I'm not as approval-needy as I used to be.

An ex-boyfriend had some simple, yet wise words on the topic that flipped the way I thought about approval seeking (I remember this because it was one of the two smart things he probably ever said to me): 

"You can't expect everyone to like you, just like you don't like everyone you meet."

He meant there were way to many people with way to many differences and this vast spread of personalities were bound to clash from time to time. So be ok with it. 

Oh yes, be kind to people regardless of your feelings, treat others with the dignity you would hope to receive from them ( the "do-unto-others" rule), even love them - but let go of the self-pressure to make everyone like you. Chances are you will meet someone at sometime with a personality that clashes with yours. You won't necessarily like them and they won't completely be sold on you either. Love them well and leave it there. What does that one person's approval give you that you so desperately need? Are you using the approval of others to validate yourself? If so - it won't ever satisfy and that validation must be found somewhere better.

Are you an approval seeker like me? How have you found freedom from it?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Peppermint Marshmallows



Following in the footsteps of homemaker extraordinaire Martha Stewart I decided these peppermint flavored, candy cane marshmallows were in order this Christmas time. I've never tried my hand at candy making before so I was a little nervous but they turned out delicious and way too addictive. With the red marbled food coloring they look perfect at holiday parties (or the way mine turned out looking like blood splatter - Dexter themed murder mystery parties).

Next on the sweets agenda for me - spicy hot chocolate.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE, EVERYONE!




Sunday, December 23, 2012

Life (as of late)



Just a little round up of the last week or so.

1. Pretty wrapped gifts don't stay pretty with a mischievous cat is in the house
2. Ordering way too much food for Sunday lunch. Then finishing almost all of it.
3. My new cat portrait the boy gave me for Christmas. I'm pretty thrilled about it! (Art done by Dave Schwab)
4. It's finally cold enough in Texas for tights. Thank heaven ... and cold fronts.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hello, Christmas


 After making our grand entry into December I can tell you that I am as happy as an eight year old waiting for Santa. I spent plenty of time making ornaments preparing for our big outing to get the Christmas tree. I also made a wreath that looks like Adam Duritz (by complete accident, I promise). But more pictures on that later. The tree is currently decorated, the ornaments are hanging on both it and my deer skull, and hot cider is being drank. Merry Christmas Season, everyone.







Monday, November 26, 2012

This Week


Yeah. I make to-do lists (which, if I were to type it as I say it would look like "tahdoo lists") for everything. Even the fun stuff. This week, my to-do's are as follows:

- Wake up early. Make time for coffee and a walk or something instead of being rushed.
- Run. All 7 days.
- Make all my own meals (no eating out).
- Read a little every day.
- Learn how to origami cranes. 
- Make a Christmas wreath (inspiration above)
- Take a couple pretty pictures
- Move somewhere with cold weather

Fine, I'm kidding about the last one. But man, it was over 80 degrees today. Vomit. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Fall Y'all






Happy fall, y'all! How was your Thanksgiving? I spent the yummy holiday with the fam in Houston and had such a relaxing time. Ran a bit, walked my sister's new pooch, collected pine cones and proceeded to paint them gold and copper, and ate ate ate. It's the first time Texas looked a bit like autumn.

I'm ready for some serious holidaying and half plan on wearing sparkle tights till the day after New Years. What'dya think? Would the office let it slide?

Monday, November 19, 2012

There's a Turkey Around the Corner


Can you believe the holidays are here?! I, for one, cannot. Oh, I'm glad they are- they're just super sneaky, aren't they?

I'm excited for Thanksgiving and all the family/friend fun that it's going to bring.
I CAN'T WAIT to get a little Christmas tree.
I want to cozy up in that above pictured bed.
I want to do a million crafty things and wear a million holiday dresses to make every minute of the season feel festive.
Oh, I want to see The Nutcracker too. To which I will, of course, wear one of the previously mentioned holiday dresses.

On an update note- I've been trying my damnedest to relax. To honestly take a chill pill and turn my brain off for a bit here and there. It's tough! And while I know I'm taking big steps toward a healthy level of mental check-out, I struggle with turning off my work/life to-do's and just rest in the present.

What works for you? How do you rejuvenate?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time to Rest


froschkind

I’ve been battling with regular updates here. Thinking I was just distracted or (gasp) lazy, I gave myself a pretty hard time. After a serious exhaustion/dehydration attack (embarrassing) a couple weeks ago I’m coming to terms with the fact that I have just been flat out overwhelmed. And that is something I wasn’t planning on during the laid off - unemployment - employment process.

I actually assumed I would have endless hours in the day and really did my best to fill all that time productively. I took on new projects. I bounced from one contract job to another then from one babysitting gig to another to make ends meet. I took a part time job and still continued to fill my time with to-dos like I had the time to fill.

What I didn’t realize is the amount of mental exhaustion this takes. All the worry, the stress of juggling completely different jobs, the over-commitments all add up to one very crazy life. And the assumption that since a good chunk of your time is spent at home or in coffee shops is rest enough is a bad one to make. Because chances are that time is also full of email writing, web searching, off-hours working, and worrying.

So I’ve fueled up on Gatorade. I'm making myself sleep decent hours. I'm giving this thing called "rested" a try. And I'm really trying to enjoy my life again. If you’re unemployed or going through the damn lay-off process take a word from the now wise – it's a-okay to say "no" sometimes. 




Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Picking Up the Dropped Ball


As I'm sure you can obviously tell, I've been pretty busy and sorta dropped the ball here. The last month three or so weeks have been a roller coaster. For a bit, I was working for a start up here in town. I really adore the start up environment but... you know, it's always a little bit of a gamble. Now that has ended and my new job is starting up tomorrow, I thought it was a good time to check in with a little Instagram roundup from the last couple weeks.

A all-too-kind friend in D.C. sent our house Georgetown Cupcakes and swoon. That little salted caramel cupcake put me in sugar coma heaven.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Rustic and Warm Workspace (Inspiration)


My home workspace is small but coming along. It's actually my great-grandmother's sewing machine table turned desk. Quite convenient if I ever get the sewing itch. Admittedly, I really have ended up spending too much of my working time on my couch.

I thought these pictures of warm home workspaces were pretty cool. I would feel pretty inspired at any of these rustic set-ups. Wouldn't you?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Beating the Unemployment Boredom



When I was first laid off I was so fine. Better than that, I was perfectly ok. Aside from being breakup sad I lost my job I was sure I would find another within a couple weeks. I puffed up like a balloon and sailed on my hopeful way. But man, I've been slowly deflating. I spend every morning looking for/applying for/following up with jobs, running, cleaning the house, running errands.

But I've had too much time off and let me tell you... it's overrated. The break from the daily work grind was a little peaceful at first - like a forced vacation. I took a week off and just hung out before starting the mad dash to proverbial new job finish line. I even went to New York for some much needed friend time. But now, without some afternoon or evening excursions, it's hard to not slip into a deflated slump. This week I went and did a little capitol exploring with Sam. We had a wonderful time exploring and it was a great way to spend an afternoon!

So if you've been laid off here are 10 tips to beating the unemployment boredom:
1. Email your sister three times a day. Tell her every little thing you do.
2. Walk or ride your bike when doing errands. You have no where to be so stop rushing.
3. Re-organize your entire closet even if you did so two weeks prior.
4. Look up 15 recipes for cooking brussel sprouts and try at least seven or them.
5. Rearrange your bedroom furniture. Hate it. Put it back.
6. Try and dance like Ellen. Also- never miss an episode.
7. Blackmail your roommate into taking a day off and putt putt golf. Flasks optional.
8. Dust your ceiling fan. Lord knows you need to. While you're at it clean you AC vents too.
9. Take a million instagrams of your cat doing cat things. Doing anything really. Then don't stop telling him how pretty he looks.
10. Start that blog you were talking about.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Zara Fall 2012 Lookbook



Yes. I could get into this. As far as I'm concerned- any polished outfit you can pair with messy hair is a good outfit. Zara's always been good at allowing us let our edginess peek through don't ya think?



Monday, August 20, 2012

The Wave Commuter Mug


You can't see this Wave Commuter Mug and not swoon a little. Not if you're me anyway. An individual mug perfectly steeped and fresh. Unless you lucked out with an office that just provides amazing fresh coffee (which most aren't that lucky) this is a very tempting purchase. The design also looks pretty fantastic. Pour me another. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Confession



Hello from the girl who has worn the same striped shirt for days and has yet to put makeup on. I have a confession.

In a swift punch of irony -  I (along with my entire department) was laid off recently. Which is why I've been working from home a lot lately. I loved my job and the people I worked with and it hurt surprising much to be let go due to cut backs. It hurt kind of like a breakup with a long-term boyfriend hurts, and that surprised me. I have also been writing and planning and biting my nails for this blog for ages, and now I'm not working! Have I lost my credentials now that I'm out from behind my desk and on the job hunt? At first I thought yes, but as I have stopped wallowing (I was being serious cry baby) I've realized that I am still very qualified to write about this. Job hunting or gainfully employed, I'm still a professional. And lay-offs are just a part of the corporate world.

So here I sit, with the plans to move forward with even more time on my hands to boot. This is a part of the growing professional process, isn't it?

Have you ever been laid off? How did you cope with the news?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Endless Bummer


I know I said satchels are the best bags to ever hit the market but...

I would be all about toting my notebooks and binders and laptops galore around in one of these Endless Bummer totes by Fieldguided. Man, I miss college and having summers free to play. I'm pretty sure every graduate goes through the same rude awakening when July rolls around. What? No three month vacation?! 

Hmm... maybe I should've been a teacher.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Work-At-Home: Pros and Cons


I've found myself tackling a lot of work at home these days. As opposed to being in an office with co-workers, cubicles, managers, and an endless supply of coffee. I've had major caffeine withdrawals but I'm assuming one cup of coffee a day is far healthier than three. Whatever, I guess I'll learn how to deal. I've begun to notice some highs and lows to the work-at-home environment. For example...

Pro: The ability to work for long periods of time without distractions or interruptions.   
Con: No co-workers to casually interact with throughout the day. I may or may not catch myself chatting with my cat more than I care to admit.

Pro: How comfortable my couch is. And loving my desk set-up at home.
Con: Loosing all the desk space the office provide.

Pro: No rush-hour traffic.
Con: Feeling like I never leave the office and therefore, overworking.

Do you ever work from home? Do you love it, hate it, both?



Monday, August 13, 2012

Leather Satchel Round-Up




I'm a big fan of the big leather satchel for a few reasons:

1. It can carry everything - laptop, books, journals, pens, all your work cell phones, a desk lamp. Well maybe not the desk lamp. But seriously, I always feel like Mary Poppins when packing or unpacking one of these things.
2. They have the most amazing men's wear vibe.
3. These babies go with everything and feel effortless.

Anyways, these are a couple of my wishlisted favorites.

Happy Monday, party people.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Office Lunch: Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad



Working downtown Austin means I have pretty much endless options for tasty lunches. It also means I have endless opportunities to spend all my hard earned money on food. After a month of constant lunching out I decided to cool it. My bank account and waistline have been thanking me ever since.

I've tried to make it a habit of cooking at home and bringing my lunch to the office most days of the week. I thought i'd share a few of those lunches and recipes with you here. Capisce? (My word - does anyone say capisce anymore?)

Up today is a roasted corn salad. It's super easy, healthy, and filling. And I've been addicted to it. It also makes a great taco if you just throw it on some rice in a tortilla.

Ingredients you'll need:
1 can of black beans
2 ears of corn (or 1 can, but fresh roasted is the tastiest)
1/3 small red onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 radish
avocado
lime
Salt to taste

Here's what you do:
Loosen the husk of the corn and rinse thoroughly with water. Place the corn with the husks still wet directly on the oven rack and cook at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (or until tender). The wet husks will help the kernals steam and be juicy. Once corn is cooked remove from the oven and let cool.

Drain the black beans and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add chopped cilantro, diced onion, and sliced radish. Once the corn cools cut the kernals from the cob and add to the bowl. Add the lime juice and salt to taste, coating the mixture thoroughly. Dice avocado as a topper with each serving. Yum.



And that's it - super fresh, cheap, and filling. What are some of your favorite office lunches?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

About Those Shoes...



 

You know the feeling. You leave the house feeling untouchable. You know your outfit is fly and it's going to prove to the office that you are the cool kid. Your black trousers are skinny and perfectly paired with an adorable pair of studded ankle-strapped platforms. Subtly studded and a-okay for the office (you even asked your roommate to make sure). You've got this, cool kid. But somehow over the course of the day you find your confidence slowly deflating. Every sideways glance from the coworker two cubes over along with a couple subtle comments on your shoe height while waiting for the elevator have chipped away at your 6 foot tall confidence and left you... well... 5'6" with your shoes kicked off under your desk. Reminds me a bit of the above scene from The Hangover.

Yeah.

Been there. Often. I've also told myself that if my attire is alright with my boss and those I report to, then they're fair game (though I do believe there are appropriate office attire guidelines, but we'll discuss this often in the future).

Is that a bad call? Do you ever feel uncomfortable in your work clothes even if it isn't crossing any dress-code guidelines? Or do you just own it? I'm finding myself doing a mixture of both.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A.L.C.



A.L.C. presented an incredibly polished Pre-Fall 2012 collection (I'm late to share, judge me). They always are sharp and have a great mix of flowing dresses and sleek fitted pieces. It made me want to wear a pencil skirt - which normally intimidates the hell out of me. But then again, I'm easily sold when there are peter pan collars and leather jackets in the mix. (Images from Style.com)





Thursday, August 2, 2012

An Introduction


Hi there. I'm glad you're here. If this wasn't the internet I'd offer you a nice gin and tonic and we
could sit on the front porch and talk. I love to talk about things. And gin and tonic.

Let me introduce myself. I'm Julie. My family calls me Spencer. I answer to both. That's me up there posing for an embarrassing mirror picture just because I was proud of my top bun (do you know how hard that was to perfect?). I live in Austin. I like honey whiskey and sweet tea. I listen to a lot of the James Vincent McMorrow and the Arctic
Monkeys. I like to read, watch Modern Family and The Walking Dead, go to live music shows,
and spend time with friends. And if I could dress like anyone it would be Alexa Chung (but I
guess every girl would). I also have a cat but don't classify me as a cat-lady quite yet.

Now that we know a little about each other let's talk about growing up.

 I came out of college doe-eyed, idealistic, and similar to many in my generation - a self-proclaimed dreamer. "It won't be that hard to make it!" I thought. I mean come on- I'm creative, unique, have a lot to offer, and work hard. In my dreams I glided seamlessly into the non-profit field (work for a for-profit or even (gasp) corporate company? NEVER!), enjoyed quick success, and still managed to make time for my own creative endeavors on the side. In my mind, I wouldn't ditch my ideals nor my cool for a day job.

That was in 2007.

This adult world I've found myself in is packed full of hard working, endlessly creative,
ridiculously talented professionals and I'm not as unique as I thought I was. My hard work needs
to be harder work (let's be honest- it needs to be hardest work), I landed a job at a corporate
company and although I like it, finding time for my own creative work has been really
difficult.

This adjustment into what some people call "responsibility" (whatever that means) is a long
haul and it's difficult. And let's be honest- I'm far from what people would call a normal career
girl. Perhaps it's that dreamer in me but I don't think growing up and succumbing to a career
means I have to sacrifice my ideals, aspirations, or even my so-called cool (I'm having a very hard time trading my skinny black jeans and over-sized tanks for more appropriate office attire).

I know I'm not the only one who's finding herself trying to balance these two things in this
generation of countless idealists. So here at Ripped Tights and Pin Stripes let’s talk about it all. About the good, the bad, the style, the business sleazes, and all about making it work. I believe we could learn from one another.

For all you regulars - this is the major blog overhaul I mentioned a couple months ago. Thank you for your patience and for your reads. I would love to hear your input as things continue to change and grow over here at Ripped Tights and Pin Stripes.