April 27, 2017

..Battling Self-Judgement

I have been scared to hit "publish" on this one for a while. This is really different territory for Currently Coveting but per the results of my reader survey (still open, please take it!), one of the things you would like to see more of on this blog (along with more outfits) are personal posts, which was a surprise to me, but shouldn't have been because I love when other bloggers open up (kind of a forehead smack moment). I can't make any promises, but I am going to try to commit to 1-2 personal posts a month starting now (putting together something that I think is thoughtful and also personal takes a lot out of me). If you are curious about anything, or have a subject you want me to touch on, please let me know by leaving a comment, taking my survey, or reaching out any of the ways here. I aim to please.

So anyway - I am about to get like, RUUUULL, rull deep.

It can be so very hard to take a long hard look inside and assess where you are. I don't mean your life goals, age, or physically, but mentally and emotionally, where you at right now? Some days I feel like I can do anything, other days I feel like a giant failure but my goal is to live the most positive and happy life that I can (I believe in the law of you get what you vibe) so I like to really stay connected to myself. I do a pretty decent job and wake up most mornings actually feeling happiness but it’s hard work to get there. I have put a lot of effort into modifying the lens in which I see the world.

As tuned in as I am, I still get waves of emotions that I don't understand from time to time that don't feel great. Maybe we all do and just slap the "I'm in a funk" sticker on it and move on. It's the easy thing to do, let them crash over us and try not to be taken into the undertow. I think most of us do this without really attempting to understand the origin of the wave but in my opinion it's so helpful to pinpoint the storm that's causing the self-judgement ripples. So that's what I do.

To begin, I am going to give a breakdown of the complicated inner-workings of the Erin-brain that I have only come to understand after 30 years of life. For example: I am the person that had anxiety over my wedding shower and bachelorette parties last year because the idea of people expending their time, money, and love on me in such a demanding way sent me into an inward "I am so not worthy of this" spiral. I would constantly replay every interaction with that friend and think "do they feel my appreciation?" "Do I reciprocate this love and generosity?" "Will they feel like the effort was worth it?" It was a constant emotional battle the days leading up to each one (and I had three). I know how silly this sounds but I am infinitely more emotionally comfortable on the flip side being the comforter, the giver, the thrower, the person who listens, gives advice, and reassures. 

As a true Gemini/Leo rising communication and empathy have always been my strengths. I can't watch scary movies because of it,  I actually feel what the character is feeling and it affects me long after the movie ends. These same traits also grant me the gift of a very disarming presence (that and I have the voice of a cartoon bunny). I can't tell you how many times I am stopped for directions, help using the metro-card machines on my way to work, or end up on the receiving end of an intimate conversation with an Uber driver I just met...yet I fall into the extrovert category. Meaning I might be chatting your ear off or be the loudest one in the room saying something I will regret but I don't want the attention on me. The math doesn't add up.

The more you know about how your mind works, the better equipped you are to deal with your feelings. I recently found out I am what you call a "Thinking" extrovert (there are now four kinds I highly suggest you find out where you fall). This basically means that yes, I am can thrive in social settings, but there is a constant introspective check running in the background like an anti-virus program on your computer. I am an over-sharer by nature but extremely self-conscious the millisecond after I do just that. I self-reflect after every interaction and (almost) exclusively paint the picture of who I am through others perspectives, so my self-worth ends up in the hands of everyone else. This can be complicated because my default setting is to assume people are pretty harsh even if that isn't true. Surprisingly, this doesn't make me think extra hard before opening up my pie hole and that filter thins out even further when I consume a few glasses of wine (as it does for all of us). This makes that instantaneous self-refection data come back with pretty terrible judgments on myself, which then makes me want to hibernate for a while because I'm disappointed, but as an extrovert, I get energy from social settings so the whole cycle starts again and can be exhausting and taxing. I'll have a small emotional implosion, and then judge myself for daring to have one. I convince myself that my feelings aren't real or justified because I have friends battling things like cancer and fertility and when I look at my life from that perspective I shouldn't have the nerve to feel anything less than #blessed. They say the thief of joy is comparison, but in my experience comparison does not discriminate against the emotions it wants to take from you.

So when I started feeling off and slightly negative about myself I needed to get to the root of it, and then uproot that biatch. I started by examining who I thought I was through everyone in my life's eyes who mattered and it painted a picture of someone who does many things with good intent, but nothing well. I saw an okay daughter, sister, wife, friend, employee, blogger, cook, pet owner, creative, planner, [insert the rest of the hats here]...but not exemplary. I had finally identified that last emotional wave I didn't quite understand and it was the feeling of absolute unremarkable mediocracy. This is, ironically, a deeply painful and overwhelming realization. I may have shed some tears at work, called my husband in a panic, and thankfully had a good friend talk me out of the hole that was totally unprompted and self-induced.

To my surprise I immediately felt a tiny bit better (even through the tears) when I got down to what was nagging at me because I could make a plan to break it down and deal with it. When you understand that the way your mind works is partly out of your control, it's easier to step back and see that some of those insecurities aren't even based in fact (who am I to assume what YOU think of me? You could be perfectly kind!), which empowers me to take a stab at slaying the dragon that is self-judgement. 

The point I hope to make here is that every emotion and feeling comes from somewhere and deserves attention and analysis, especially when it comes to beating up on yourself. It can be too easy to minimize it in comparison to the massive infinite spectrum of possible emotions, but nothing is learned that way. Do your best, learn about yourself, continue improving, and keep that little beast in check when you can by pulling it from the darkness. A thing can seem scary because you can't see it but in the light turns out to be something else much more manageable.

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April 25, 2017

..Of Course I Wore Pink Lace to a Baby Girl Shower


Firstly, I hope you guys have noticed from my last outfit post that I am now going to try to find a similar less expensive item for anything that I wear that rings in over $100. From one shopaholic to another, I would definitely appreciate that on the ones I check! Let me know what you think, I love feedback! Second, when you have a recently purchased light pink lace top sitting in your closet how do you NOT wear it to the baby shower for your besties little girl? You just can't not do it, if that makes any sense? Funny enough I have another lovely friends shower for a baby boy next weekend so you can make a safe bet that I will have on something light blue. I get joy from following a THEME! I know it's lame, pray for my future children. Also these earrings are like having pretty spring wreaths on each side of your head so that is something.

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April 20, 2017

..Rosey Regimen

1. Please take me!

2. I have recently become OBSESSED with all things "rose" as far as face products go. I just can't get enough of it. Basically, if I am passing something in Sephora, Target, CVS, or Nordstrom that says it has it in there, I'm impulse buying it because so far, EVERYTHING has worked amazingly. I also love the scent of rose even though it's got an "older women" reputation. Sign me up for white hair and tiny rollers because I am on board. 

Note: everything from Sephora is 15% off right now with code VIPSPRING!

1. Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Coconut Oil Body Polish - I got this stuff in a super cute gift box that also came with a bottle of Summer Water Rose. I hadn't ever used a body scrub before, well, because I thought they were total BS for some reason. How could scrubbing my dry skin possibly make the situation better? I only gave this one a shot because it fell into my lap. WAS I WRONG. So. Very. Wrong. One half-assed use of this in the shower and my dry pale irishy skinned legs were actually smooth and glowing and baby soft. I will be reordering this as soon as it's gone.

2. MARIO BADESCU Facial Spray With Aloe, Herb and Rosewater - This spritz was a suggested buy on Amazon (clearly they know me) and for $7 I was willing to give it a try. It is life changing. No irritation, freshens and wakes me up in the morning, preps me before makeup application to ensure moisture, it's a real hero in my bathroom.

3. Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream - This eye cream is one of the only ones I have tried (besides a Clarins one that is waaaay expensive) that has not irritated my sensitive under eye skin. I sometimes can only use vitamin E or Vaseline for that area because it's a real pain in my butt (the cycle of drying out - then trying to use a fancy moisturizer to fix it - then that irritating it and making a bigger mess of things - then I can't even conceal the area bc of the patchy flakes - UGH) but this works!

4. SEPHORA COLLECTION Eye Mask Rose - The Sephora Rose eye and face masks are the SHIT. They smell great, they illuminate my face, and really do exactly what they are intended to do - replenish the delicate eye area with water for intense moisturizing and a radiance boost! The pearl and pomegranate ones come in a close second for me.

5. Rosebud Salve - This is my lip cure all. I for some reason always step away thinking there is something better out there (fresh lip scrub, even spent way too much on the Sarah Happ lip slip) but I come back to this little tin every damn time. It is just the best. It's a cult favorite, I don't even have to tell you.

6. Origins Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay - This mask was something I picked out with my points at Sephora. Short story is I will be going back for the full size when my sample runs out. It's exfoliating in the gentlest way, smoothing and evening, dries hard but doesn't dry out your skin. This is something I do once a week, not more than that. It is lovely.

P.S. if you haven't yet, please take this quick anonymous survey. Promise you will be in and out in under 2 minutes.

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April 18, 2017

..Off the Shoulder Stripes

The deets: J.Crew jean jacket (similar under $35)& earrings; Madewell heels (similar under $35); Alexander Wang makeup case used as a clutch (similar under $100); Style Mafia dress (more sizes here but higher price); Elizabeth and James sunnies (similar under $40).

This off the shoulder trend is my favorite thing because it's such a flattering shape, especially when you are feeling a little pale or bloated or just not really wanting to show off your arms but it's too nice out for sleeves, this trend works. I love that it also has straps so I don't need to be bothered with a strapless bra. Unfortunately, there are almost none left where I purchased it for under $100 but I did find it still in stock at ASOS (no idea why its over $30 more?). These earrings are definitely a bit loud and obnoxious but I kept admiring them at J.Crew when they put out a few different colors. When they finally came out with these I found myself so drawn to their rosey-ness I just had to have them. Surprisingly, I have been able to wear them a bunch and expect to sneak in a few more times over the summer when red white and blue take over my wardrobe. Also I know these heels have been in the last three outfit posts but I post only things I really wore (this outfit was to a brunch) and these heels are just too comfortable not to reach for! I knew they were a good purchase.

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April 14, 2017

..Lemon Ricotta Cake With Mixed Berry Topping


I made this last weekend when tasked with coming up with a dessert for a girls dinner. The meal was Italian so I figured I should stay in that lane. I got the lemon ricotta cake recipe from here, and followed it precisely except I only had a 9 inch spring form so my cake was a bit thin. I made it again during the week and did 1.5 times the recipe and added on two more minutes of bake time and it came out great. I will say my teeth did turn a bit blue on the topping which took some intense tooth brushing but I honestly still want to make EVERYTHING this flavor now, lemon-ricotta-berry pancakes, I'm coming for ya next! Also this would be the perfect thing to bring to Easter Sunday since it's so bright and seasonal!

3/4 Cup Softened Butter
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
Zest From 3 Large Lemons
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
3 Large Eggs, Separated
1 Cup Full Fat Ricotta Cheese
1/2 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
Dash of Salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and Lightly grease and flour a 7 or 8 inch spring-form pan.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add the lemon zest, extract, egg yolks, ricotta cheese, and beat until smooth. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt, and beat into the butter mixture just until combined.

Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter then spoon the batter into your prepared tin. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

1 bag frozen mixed berries (mine had strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1 of the lemons you zested

Dump your frozen berry bag into a skillet with the sugar and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. Squeeze in your lemon juice and keep stirring until you get the thickness you want. Let it cool and top your cake.

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April 12, 2017

..Humpday Treat: Shopbop Sale

..Shopbop Sale Wishlist

Hi frandzzz. I wanted to pop in quickly to let you know about Shopbop's "Event of the Season" sale. You will probably be inundated with bloggers pushing this thing so I will be quick. These are some items I have been keeping in my imaginary basket for a while (all but two of them are under $100). Clearly I have summer on the brain. There is also a new section of the blog where I add everything currently in my closet (even some stuff that doesn't make it to the blog). Check it out HERE! Sale details below!

Get 25% Off Orders of $500 or more with code EVENT17
Get 20% Off Orders under $500 with code EVENT17

P.S. if you haven't yet, please take this quick anonymous survey. Promise you will be in and out in under 2 minutes.

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April 11, 2017

..Easy Breezy Moon River Dress

The deets: Moon River dress (more sizes left here & here); Madewell heels (similar style on sale here, under $30 here); Ray-Ban sunnies (similar under $16); Alexander Wang clutch; J.Crew bracelet (similar); Knox Thomas Designs necklace; Baublebar earrings.

I've been checking in on my survey (please take it!), and I hear you. I am going to start linking to less expensive items that I would purchase myself as alternatives to include a range of different budgets. I originally purchased this dress for my NOLA trip but was way too incapacitated with the hangover of the century to wear it the next morning. I nursed the bejesus out of it but it took me until 7PM to get my brain right. Sigh. It still has been such a great and versatile piece though! I have worn it to a girls dinner (last weekend when I snapped these), out to bars in Georgetown with my husband and his single dudes, to a party my friends threw for St. Patty's, and it has also become my unofficial mani/pedi uniform. My nail salon is right across the street (shout out to COATROOM, also here and here) and it's my ritual every other Saturday to clean up my apartment, workout, shower and get ready, throw on this dress, pour myself a glass of wine, and head over. Its not quite shorts weather and wearing pants is hard for a pedi so this dress my easy solution. It is slightly weird that I am wearing the same thing every time I go in but it's so breezy and comfortable and instantly chic that I don't care.

P.S. if you haven't yet, please take this quick anonymous survey. Promise you will be in and out in under 2 minutes.

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April 6, 2017

..7 Tips for Building Your Work Wardrobe on A Budget

Please take my quick reader survey here!

Let me begin this post by saying that when I say "budget" here I mean truly on a MF BUDGET. As in - keeping Top Ramen in the back of the pantry just in case, knowing exactly how many dranks you can buy yourself at the bar before you have to go home, learning how to trim your own hair (I did this for longer than I would like to admit) - kind of budget. I see bloggers make these lists all the time and once saw a certain glam gal put a $140 dollar pair of shoes on her list, which just...no biach...no. Home girl clearly did not have to buy herself two business suits for work and pay rent before her first paycheck even rolled in from her first non-profit job (ahh twenty-two was a magical year). I may be bougier than I once was but old habits die hard and I am still a girl that loves a bargain. Here I bestow my knowledge on to my girls out there who have ever had #toomuchmonthattheendofthemoney.

1. Keep a running list of things you need and a secondary list of things that are not necessities on your "wishlist." I do this to this day even though I have a pretty extensive work and play wardrobe.

Things that are on my "need" list are things I would reach for in the morning but didn't have, like a plain white blouse, professional suit for an interview, good fitting pair of jeans for "casual Friday" etc. The things on my "wishlist" are things I could manage without but wanted to replace or upgrade in the near future like my nude pumps that were getting old or the out of date orange leather bag that was no longer in style but still had utility left. 

2. Visit the stores you like often and really know your sizes because most bargains will be via internet shopping and non-refundable. 

I loved J.Crew for work and would try things on so often I was eventually able to just buy the right sizes without going in (this will come in handy later). I would try on a dress I loved (like this blue and silver one, or this pencil skirt) and I would wait for a sale and pounce on the "Extra 30% off sale" situation. NEVER buy full price at a retail store. Even in a department store, use the price matching to your advantage and always fully research a product for sales before purchasing (I was literally just at the Philosophy beauty counter at Nordstrom for my face wash and found out that the Philosophy website was having a sale and they matched it for me). I always nail down my size in brands I'm a fan of in store and then shop for those pieces elsewhere online (Rails flannel, J.Crew pencil skirts, Madewell denim, etc). I basically don't ever go into physical stores at all anymore to purchase things.

3. Referencing your list when you have shopping money, shop by item and don't just meander around stores and online shops waiting for something to pop out at you, that activity is for richer humans (sorry). 

If you know you need a white blouse, only search for a white blouse. SHOPSTYLE is a fabulous tool for this. Type in "white blouse" filter for your size and budget range (ahem..under $25) and see what your options are.

4. eBay and Poshmark are your friends. 

If you are on a super tight budget, the sad truth is that buying high end or designer at retail or even on sale is just not an option. You have one of two choices, referencing your handy list, when researching (keeping with the white blouse example) here are your options:

1. Buy new from a lesser expensive retailer like F21, ASOS, H&M. These will always have on trend affordable options for whatever it is that your heart desires (I know this might be a "DUH" option), here is a beautiful and simple option.

What's that you say? You are more of a fancy pants Equipment white blouse kind of girl over H&M? Worry not. You can have the brands you want with the second option but you need to be able to get over the whole brand new aspect of it.

2. Buy used or NWOT (new without tags) from eBay or a second hand retailer (Poshmark).  Here is the high end white blouse retailing full price for $214. Here is the same shirt, new, being sold for $70, which is less than half ladies! I do like to keep it real though and that price may still be too much for a truly tight budget, so here and here is the same top, used, going for under $45 (which you could offer less for since it would need a thorough trip to the cleaners). BAM. You can use this method for anything that you want that may be out of your grips, great for designer sunnies, bags, and accessories. 

5. When buying suits, if there is a pant and skirt option get both. 

You only need one jacket to match both the pants and skirt and no one in your workplace will be the wiser. It's more of an investment up front but you get more stretch out of your jacket. My current office is much more lax (as seen here, here, and here) but this trick got me through many a five day work trip at my first job. Swap out your blouse and slacks for the skirt and it looks like another suit entirely.

6. Mix your expensive stuff with your cheap stuff. 

If you stalked that gorgeous equipment top and decided to "splurge" on that $70 white blouse you can get away with wearing it with an inexpensive skirt like this one under $20 perhaps! This philosophy has gotten me everywhere. More often than not I am carrying a gorgeous Balenciaga bag in a sweater that I got from Gap on sale (here).

7. Get a white (or light) blazer for Summer.

You can throw it over all your regular summer dresses and appear semi-professional (here) basically doubling up your work wardrobe in the warmer seasons.

I hope this was helpful! I saw that someone requested it in my recent survey so I got right to it. Please if you haven't already filled it out, I kindly ask that you do (here). Taking all requests!

I'm ending this lengthy post with some awesome work wear finds that are super affordable!

Dresses under $50 (some require a code):

Bottoms and Blazers under $50:

Tops under $25:

Skirts under $35: