Sunday, December 29, 2013

The new year doesn't need to mean a make over

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and holiday! I won't be posting a "Christmas haul" post nor have I been very available since I had an intense work schedule this month, so apologies for both of those things! 

I wanted to talk a little bit today about the "New year, new you" mentality. Before you step on the scale, clear out your closet or sign up for hundreds of hours of community service (not that any of these things are bad, by the way,) remember that you are enough. 

Say it out loud: "I am enough."

         

While the new year is a great reason to do something, well, new, don't be caught up in change. Despite your weight, your clothing choices and your stress levels, you don't need changing. 

If you want to change things, great! I know I want to clear out my closet and donate or sell my gently worn clothes that don't fit or I haven't worn enough to really want to keep around and I also want to learn how to cook (the latter is more urgent.) 

But before you make a long list of New Year's resolutions, remember: You are enough

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mani-mergency

With all the cold, plus some stress, my nails have flailed down a dark path of despair.

It probably started when I began polishing them maybe 2 or 3 times a week in an effort to "regain control." I literally read that in a magazine once - painting your nails gives you a sense of control. Okay. I'll take it.

But, the control freak in me, partnered with some unusually brisk weather for this time of year has left me with a mani-mergency. My normally nice nails are peeling and the cuticles are chapped and slightly overgrown.

My fighter nail... the thumb (and his new friend, mysterious white spot.)


I began this regimen to get things back up to snuff today:
-Get more sleep
-Drink more water
-Wear gloves or put my hands in my pockets when I'm outside for more than a minute
-Use cuticle oil before bed
-Become a slave to hand cream
And the worst one:
-No polish (until things improve)

I did put on a few coat of Essie's Rock Solid to try and protect what's left and I treated myself to a cuticle remover cream to help tackle some of those cuticles that are hanging on for dear life.

Do you have a hard time with your hands in the winter? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, December 9, 2013

40 degrees with a chance of laziness

As it gets colder outside, I have a harder time getting out of bed. I have a harder time putting on proffessional clothes (though technically I could wear a sweater, jeans and boat sheos to work everyday) and a harder time staying focused.

What gives? Is it the cold? Is it my longing for the college life when the cold meant finals, and finals meant Christmas break, where I could go home and cry about how hard my life was? Yes, I've definitely done that. I didn't really know how easy I had it then!

But I also have it pretty easy now. The most stress I've experienced lately is balancing time with my cat, who no longer is allowed to sleep with me because he can't leave the Christmas tree alone. And my car is acting a little funky -but with a commute in walking distance I don't have much to complain about.

Such an adult! My own tree!

Yes, the post-grad life is both easier and harder than college. No Christmas or spring break - wah! But I traded a week off to travel back home in exchange for all the Saturday's in December and the early shift on Christmas morning (yawn!) which, I think, was a great bargain.

How do you stay motivated when "the end" is nowhere in sight? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Friday, November 29, 2013

I'm a turkey for not posting on Thanksgiving!

I had a jam-packed day yesterday so I was unable to write anything inspiring, so here I go today. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! It took an eternity to get here his year, but despite that fact we have much to be grateful for all year round. Here's a quick version of what I'm thankful for each and everyday: my family, my friends, sorority sisters, my kitten-cat, my wonderful boyfriend, my job, my coworkers, being financially sound (no debt!), being able to pay my bills, enjoying my job and getting to see my extended family!

What was that last part? Extended family? Oh yes! Yesterday, I worked a shift at the radio station (and got to watch both the Macy's parade and the dog show! A big bonus since I've decided against cable) and then bolted home, grabbed the cat and headed home for a long weekend! Both grandmothers, a second cousin, her daughter and her daughter's friends (long story) were all able to get together last night! We had a grand total of nine people at our table and three dogs and a cat at our feet!

Blast from the past - I love hand turkeys!

But, as the Christmas season begins, remember to stay grateful. It's a jungle out there! We are all so blessed - perhaps not in the same way but we can all find something to be thankful for each day. Having a roof over our heads as the weather gets colder, a friendly pet, and a closet full of beautiful clothes are things I think about everyday. 

Which brings me to... Black Friday. This is the first one I haven't worked in several years! I even got the day off at the station- another blessing! I was starting to get a little cold too, so I'm extra grateful for my long weekend! 

My mother and I sometimes go down to Phipps Plaza because it's never as crowded, but with family in tow, most of my shopping has been online. J. Crew Factory is having a to-die-for sale though, I may have to sneak a bit! 

Where are you shopping this Black Friday? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wintery mix... of beauty problems

As the weather gets cooler - in Georgia we've had some unusually cold weather lately - the humidity disappears from the air. Not a big deal... except when I try to curl my hair!

While I love the cooler months and even winter on occasion, my beauty routine both intensifies and suffers during the dry times! The natural curl in my hair loses it's "oomph," laying flatter, sometimes frizzy and not defined. I've only recently learned my hair can even curl! Last year, I let it lay natural and blow dried my bangs. So far this year, I've just given in and blow dried the whole thing straight.

I love my curls... but sometimes straight just works better!

My skin, like many women's, takes a big hit in the dry winter air. I wake up with split lips frequently and my hands crack. Not at all attractive or comfortable! With a job in radio, a split lip hinders performance as well.

The best lip balm I've found to date is the Fresh Sugar lip balms. They are so expensive, but I usually hold out until my birthday and select them as a free gift from Sephora. However, I would hands down shell out the big bucks for this thing if push came to shove.

I've also started using Olay soap to keep my skin hydrating. They also make an in-shower body lotion, which saved my skin last year! I found a gift kit at Target last year... I'm on the look out for it again this year!

How do you combat winter dry days? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hey, slow down!

Whoa. Y'all, it's been a week or two since I've shared anything with you. But get this- that one extra hour at work is making a huge difference. 

Firstly, I'm a lot more energized at work. I'm always doing something. Having two shorter shifts gives me the time crunch I work well under. My first shift I'm on a half-hour rotation, so I'm up and down and all over the place. That part of my shift flys by. The second half, an assignment is usually left for me, so I do that on top of my other random duties, giving me just enough time to get it all done. 

While most don't like a split shift, I love having time for an extra long lunch and a nap! It's working out great. 

                                    
                                                            Plenty of time to lounge. 

The only weird part is that I don't have as much time to be online.... Or is it that I'm not as interested in the online world as much, now that my work life has picked up speed?

Do you find time to get online with an intensified schedule? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, November 4, 2013

Life Update: Extra Hours

Did everyone remember to turn back your clocks? By now, you've probably caught on that Daylight Savings Time gave us that extra hour back it so savagely stole last spring, which feels like mere weeks ago.

Cairo used his extra hour wisely.

Speaking of weeks, last week was my last week of evening shifts... and this is my first week of mid-morning shift! I'm technically working a split shift - anchoring in the morning and doing my usual tasks in the afternoon. Basically, I get a super long lunch, I get to go home early and I get an additional hour of work each day, all while it feels like I'm working the fastest shifts in the world. I could totally get used to this!

Now if I could just get used to anchoring for longer than an hour... (there are those extra hours again!) Well, there's plenty of time for me to reach the top.

Did you do anything fun with your extra hour, or have any other fun extra hours? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today is one of my favorite holidays. Plus, I now have a little piece of Halloween in my everyday life with my little black kitty!

He may be tricky, but mostly he's a treat!

We had a Halloween lunch at work today and while most people didn't go all out, some people did. We had people dressing up as each other, a samurai, American Gothic and more!

I dressed up as, well, a retro girl I guess. I decided to wear a poodle skirt this year. I like retro and vintage styles anyway, but I also thought it would be a cute, modest, work appropriate costume! Plus it was easy to make.

Not visible: my sassy argyle scrunched socks!

I made a simple circle skirt out of felt by following this tutorial, but instead of elastic, I used a split waist and velcro. I paired it with a white collared shirt, scrunched pink socks, Keds and a cardigan. Pearls and a neck scarf were optional, but I found they added some extra flair.

For those who aren't really into the "costume" thing but also want to be festive, I also made this jack-o-tee-shirt for a party I'm headed to this evening!

I took some sparkly black felt and cut it into a jack-o-lantern face. I made two large triangles, one small triangle, and a little mouth. Then, I took some heat-n-bond and ironed them to an orange tee shirt. Quick and easy!
A literal happy halloween!

Before I knew we were doing costumes at work, I considered wearing my Lilly Pulitzer "Fancy Fest"cat scarf. I wear this scarf all year round, because it's adorable, but with a black bottom and an orange blouse, it could also be festive without breaking the bank, or going too crazy.



What did you do for Halloween? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cat-sual Friday

I may be too casual this casual Friday, but for once I don't care. I have had a week.

Monday my car broke down. So the week has been pretty hectic on that factor alone. I have a party this weekend that I've been planning for and looking forward to for a whole month and it almost got muddled by my silly car.

Luckily, the fix turned out to be simple (three shops later.... sigh!) and it's back in my parking lot, longingly hoping for a joy ride.

Wednesday and Thursday were somewhat trying days for me, as work completely kicked my butt. There was so much there but also not much there. I can't even explain it.

And of course, the one week I would really like Friday to be the beginning of the weekend... I have a shift tomorrow. Don't get me wrong, I love money and I love my job, but man I could have totally used a morning to sleep in.

Oh, did I mention? Cairo has been un-banished from my bedroom. He now sleeps with me (because it's getting SOO COLD and my heater doesn't exactly work) or in his little bed on the floor. While this is cute and precious and I love it, he also wakes me up at 6 am for pets by licking my eyelids with his scratchy tongue.

Zzzzzzzzz... for now.

But it all could be so much worse. I'm grateful I've got a cat who has learned not to bite me and can behave in my room now, I'm glad I have a job that not only gives me hours but also money, I'm glad my car is fixed and I'm glad I have a roof over my head, even if the heater is a little behind the times.

What was your week like? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Planning to plan: paper or digital planners?

As the year comes to an end, I feel like I'm at a very weird cross road: My planner is almost used up.

I've been using a Lilly Pulitzer planner for about 2 years now, but now that I'm not a student and don't need/want an 18 month agenda, I feel like it is slightly wasteful. But is a paper agenda as a whole just as wasteful?

I have a serious problem.


I like the environment. I like trees. I like living on Earth and breathing air. I like that there may be water on Mars but it's not vital to our existence if there isn't any water there because Earth still has tons.

So, as an adult who is obsessed with their iPad, should I just skip out on the paper planner all together? Think about how many trees wouldn't make me feel guilty. And what do you even do with a filled up planner? Digitally, you can just delete.

The big downside to the digital planner is you have to take whatever it's on everywhere and my iPad is a little heavier than my past planners. Then, you have to sync it to your phone and computer and all that.

So which is better? I like writing stuff down, it's soothing. But seriously, what the hell do I do with a used up planner!? And just how many trees sob as they watch sorority girls scribble on their family members each year?

Are you a digital or paper planner? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Friday, October 18, 2013

Turning over some new leaves

I began this blog right before I graduated college. It's hard for me to believe that in less than six months, my whole life has completely changed. 

I've been working on finding a balance between my college self, high school self, middle school self and so forth. I've gone through a lot of changes (especially fashion-wise) so the real question I'm trying to answer is, Who the heck am I, anyway? 

I've been really introspective lately. Who are all these versions of Alyson and how do they all fit together? It's like a puzzle. And really, that's what being a post-grad twenty-something is about. 

So really, this is a warning to my readers. There are tons of "preppy" and "southern" blogs out there and I'm starting to think I don't really belong in that category as much as I belong in a "life advice and lessons" category. So expect to see some changes, including a possible name change! Now that I've secured the job and am really settling into adulthood, I don't feel like I'm exactly who I've been trying to brand myself as.

Before I go, I will tell you who I think I am so far: I'm an unmarried woman who's just finished being a girl and is still getting used to life on her own. I'm a homebody who likes to take walks. I'm learning a lot about life and patience from my first pet cat after a lifetime of dogs. My wardrobe is fluctuating as I figure out what makes me feel confident and my nail colors have gone back to middle school- dark and crazy with lots of glitter. 

I still plan on focusing on the young adult life after college and the life lessons and experiences that come with it, as well as how to transition from college to work, including fashion, social norms and work ethic. 

It's important to stay true to you, after all, I sign off each post with that reminder. However, I don't want to lie to my readers either: sometimes being true to yourself means changes. 

Have you gone through a transitional time? Share with me in the comments below.

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kitten Caboodle

I took my cat, Cairo, to the (surprisingly expensive) vet this morning. He was amazingly well behaved and only meowed once when then vet went to examine his, uh, manhood.

Me-ow!


Even after two vaccines, blood work and being prodded by some people he didn't know but knew meant well, he was still well behaved. His ears were alert and he was cautious but he also flipped his tail happily.

For a vet visit, it was quite pleasant. I think the last time I went to the vet was to put my good old dog, Snowy, down after a long 16 years. He was also a good boy.

The elder statesman, Mr. Snowy.


So what can we learn from Cairo's trip to the vet today? The nips, pinches and sticks in your skin will hurt temporarily, but it's no reason to act out.

Have you learned anything from your pets today? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, October 14, 2013

The perfect morning

This morning was almost perfect. Here's why:


  • I got to sleep in.
  • I woke up slow, checked my email and discovered nothing detrimental was happening at work.
  • I released the kitty cat from his room and we spent 20 minutes cuddling (complete with purrs!) on his favorite chair.
  • I made peanut butter toast for breakfast, then opened the fridge and remembered I had gone to the store - berries and juice were waiting for me in the fridge!
  • I ate my hearty breakfast of berries and peanut butter toast and drank a full glass of water, all while Kitty Man sat with me in the chair opposite of me.



He's quite polite.


  • I made the bed (just because it makes me feel productive.)
  • I got cleaned up. My hair was still looking fierce from yesterday. (I blow-dried it straight)
  • I used the last of my dry shampoo... but still had just enough.
  • I put on one of my favorite dresses
  • Finally, I grabbed lunch with my Daddy!
Who said Monday's had to be glum? I've had a great day so far... let's hope it stays swell!

What did you do this morning? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself, 
Alyson

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happy Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday folks! I have to apologize for my recent absence. I've been on the move!

For starters, I've been reconnecting with one of my best friends from college. I've never really been a "text your friends all the time" kind of girl but I've really been missing this friend and it's really been working for us! We're not texting back immediately (except on lunch!) so we can still get our work done!

Second, I've been picking up some more tasks at work. Both this week and last week I've had assignments - events to cover outside of the station - but both weeks I've been bumped up to two assignments a week! These assignments are often additional to my work hours, so I get a little extra cash, and it helps me work on my writing and reporting skills.

On top of assignments, I've also been dabbling with some advertisements at work. I think they're super easy, so I've been helping out with their input.

Up next: Kitty Mews

Finally, I've been trying to connect with my little Kitty Man more. I ended up adopting the cat I was sitting, so we've been learning together. Last night he even got to sleep in the bed until 2:30... then he started prowling. I had to put him in his "bedroom" - my office that's cat safe and filled with his necessities.

I've also been watching "My Cat From Hell" for kitty tips and also to appreciate my calm but curious little man.

The weather is also getting chillier here! It makes my outfit choices a bit of a struggle... but I'll get the hang of it soon!

How is your week going? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life lesons from Kitty: Patience

Yesterday I received a call from the coworker I had been cat-sitting for. His daughter has officially relinquished her ownership of the cat, Cairo, and I was allowed to send him to the humane society I volunteer with.

But... Cairo is really growing on me. He drove me CRAZY for a few weeks, but after bringing him home to meet my family dogs, I learned that it wasn't him who was being crazy.

I wasn't executing any patience. He would jump on the counter and I would scream. He'd bite me in the middle of the night and I would scream. He would meow and I would scream back. I was at the end of my rope! But it was because I didn't know how to talk to the cat.

I realized that dogs and cats are actually very similar, but cats don't understand punishment like dogs do. Cats need patience, just like puppies do. It doesn't end with litter box training.

I learned that he was jumping on the counter because he knew I would chase him. He knew that if he rattled the plate I left in the sink or knocked over the papers I had on the table I would pay him attention. When I took away the papers and washed the dishes and put a little food in his bowl, he stopped jumping on the counter.

Cairo, halfway to Mt. Cabinet.


I also learned the "Ow and Down" technique. When kitty bit too hard during play, or when he bit me lightly while I slept to wake me up, I made a high pitched "Ow!' sound, similar to a yowl, and place him on the ground. He got the message very quickly.

Patience is a serious virtue and a very difficult one to master. I decided to keep Cairo because I knew I needed a lesson in patience and he needed a home willing to love him. I want him to grow up and be a fat, happy cat. I don't know if a humane society would give him that opportunity right away and as a kitten, he is in a critical stage of development. Without the proper nurturing, how could he be expected to be a "good" pet?

I still wouldn't call myself a "cat person" and I'm definitely still a dog person, but I felt that this was the right choice. So welcome home, Cairo! We've got a lot of learning to do!

Have you learned any lessons from pets? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ripe for the picking

Some people bite their nails, some people never paint them, some people keep them long, some short. Me? I pick at imperfection.

I must get this from my daddy, who picks at his cuticles under stress, anxiety or boredom. But I pick at polish. Dent? Smudge? Chip? Pick it off. All of them. Good bye polish!

I guess it's because of stress, anxiety and boredom, but unless my nails are perfect, they are subject to the picking monster I keep within. And I refuse to be seen with chipped polish or half of a mani... if one goes, they ALL go.

I think my nail picking shows people that I'm a perfectionist and perhaps a control freak. I like things to always be pulled together effortlessly, and bare nails are better than chipped nails.

Do you pick at polish? Any home remedies to stop? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Friday, September 27, 2013

Curly que's and the product junkie in me

As the fall approaches, the humidity disappears. And while that's fantastic weather-wise, curly hair tends to fall flat with less moisture in the air!

With Georgia finally catching up to the idea that Fall means cool weather and crunchy leaves (after our disastrous hot, rainy summer) I've found that it's time to haul out the good old blow dryer and diffuser!

I've been playing around with different products for my curls. I've been actively working to empty my cabinets of products, make up and the like so I won't have ghastly amounts of stuff.

Just yesterday I polished off a bottle of mousse for curly hair... I only had about two days of product left in it anyway. Gave me some sassy Carrie Bradshaw-esque hair when I blow dried! I can't believe I never tried to blow dry my hair using that product... no wonder I didn't like it! I wasn't using it right!

So as I continue on my adventure down the curly hair path and as I polish off these products, I'll give you a heads-up on what worked for me and what didn't.

I'm currently testing out the L'oreal Advanced Haircare Power Moisture Moisture Rush Mask. I heard good things about it and I like it so far! I'll feature it in a post when I get further along!



Are you a product hoarder?

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Fall, Y'all!

It's that time again... crunchy leave, thick sweaters and pumpkin EVERYTHING! It's finally fall!

Today I got a surprise visit from my mom, dad and puppies! We celebrated the autumnal equinox by taking a little trip to Georgia's Alpine City- Helen!


We visited my best friend, Kegan, who works at a yummy restaurant up there!

I hadn't seen my mom for a while, since I've been cat-sitting and can't really come home. Unfortunately, the cat and I are on each other's last nerve! I hate that he disobeys me for attention and he hates that I want to cuddle all the time but then don't let him sleep in the bed.

Bedtime is for quitters, says Cairo.

The cat-sitting has been interesting. All I can really say is that while I really like cats, I'm not cut out to own one. I am very controlling and they just aren't meant to be controlled! But even without that, this relationship has been slightly strained. I'll have to do a separate post on that when it's all over.

The excitement for fall has me thinking of doing a little revamp to my front door... I think I need a fall themed wreath! My current wreath, while adorable, is very summery and would look great somewhere in my apartment, perhaps on my den door.

No way this puppy is going into storage!

My plan this week: to create a burlap wreath with interchangeable centerpieces so I can get festive for the holidays! In honor of my little kitten guest, I think I'll paint a little black cat for my Halloween piece!

Do you like seasonal decor? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Julep: Galaxy Mystery Box unveiling!

I ordered the Julep Galaxy mystery box the day it came out because I was mesmerized by Estelle, the sparkly black holographic glitter. Despite the fact I don't wear black very often, I just couldn't pass it up. And I had a gift card.

After waiting patiently (kind of), my box... mysteriously... showed up on my doorstep today. No shipping notification, no nothing. Huh. 

I received the Cosmic box (the middle one at $24) and I received version 1. 

Oh, indeed. Is this why I didn't get a shipping notification? ;)
Presentation counts! 
From L to R: Charlotte, Estelle, Francis, Reiko, Lexie, Blakely
Rockstar hand cream duo! 

I haven't ordered a julep maven box in a few months... Mostly because I had some difficult customer service experiences. However, I'm really pleased with the mystery box I was given. It was as if the colors I liked from past boxes but didn't really feel like it was worth it were all tossed into one box! Plus, the colors will be great for recreating the galaxy nail featured on their website... Which will be the perfect touch of fun for Halloween at the office!

Did you order a mystery box? What did you get? Share with me in the comments below!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget.

12 years ago, I was sitting in my fifth grade class room watching a television broadcast. We, including my teacher were all silent. Just watching. Another teacher had to come in to tell my teacher that the principal had sent an email saying to turn all televisions off... but no one got it. No one could turn away. We were sent home early.

Today was one of the scariest days for my generation. Shock and confusion turned, 12 years later, into a heated memory that has shaped us- our political opinions, our views on the international world and maybe our views on life itself. We couldn't forget if we tried.

Today, I encourage you to look for the good in the world. September 11, 2001 was terrifying, but remember the men and women who fought so hard to save lives, who dedicated their peace of mind, their bodies and their spirits to protecting our country. Remember those who suited up and shipped out to protect people they've never met, even if they disagreed with the cause.

There are amazing people out there. Be one of them.

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Funday

I've started moving up the corporate ladder... sort of... by picking up Saturday shifts! The extra hours mean more money, more experience and I get to anchor the shift by myself! 

On the downside, it eats into the weekend, of course. So Saturday has become a work day- at the station and at home! Cleaning and errands have begun to take over Saturdays. This Saturday, my parents brought up my newly reprinted desk! My den/office is coming together! 

                                  
    
So Sundays are my big weekend days! Today, I went to church with my boyfriend then decided I was feeling crafty. I went to my local craft store and bought fabric and made another work skirt out of turquoise cotton jersey. I also finished off a canvas I had started Saturday night! 

                                   

What do your weekends consist of? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Life Update: Is summer really over?

Well folks, it's the day after Labor Day and could you imagine that here in Georgia it's been hotter than it has for the past couple of weeks!? Of course, once summer clothes are "out" it gets warm! 

Personally, I feel that summer clothes, including white, are okay up until the equinox. Because in Georgia, you can't really guarantee that it'll be cool like it's supposed to be!

I still feel a little weird living on my own, but I've taken in a little house guest.... Everyone meet Cairo the cat! 


He lets me wear him as a scarf. Ad hold him like a baby. And cuddle and play a LOT. He's a sweet little guy, probably only a few months old. I'm watching him for a coworker for about two weeks. I've had him for two days and I'm already head over heels for this little guy! 

Being a "cat person," even if temporary, is a huge adjustment to being a "dog person"! Kitty doesn't go outside to do his business, he's not allowed on the counters (and I actively have to keep him off them!) and he likes to play during the night. It's definitely an adjustment but I'm enjoying the new experience. Who knows? Maybe I'll like it so much I'll take in a little kitten of my own!

As for a new experiencing I'm not enjoying yet? Cooking and grocery shopping. It's shouldn't be that difficult, but being a picky vegetarian with food allergies, it's tough! Nothing looks appetizing when it comes to having to prepare it myself and I'm almost getting bored with pasta, my college go-to. I sure do miss hitting the dining hall!

I also miss my sisters... But I reached out to my sorority chapter and am hoping to get involved as an alumna now that school has started! I'm sending in my alumna chapter dues in tomorrow morning! 

It's almost my first month paying bills since my set up... Surprisingly, it's become a lot easier to budget than I thought it was! And, I've still got room for "fun money" - the take out dinners, smart shopping and miscellaneous adventure fund!

Have you gotten settled now that school is back in session, even if you didn't go back (like me!)? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Puppy madness, part 2!

Remember earlier when I said I wanted a puppy? Well, the little guy I mentioned in the post got adopted and unfortunately, not by me.

It's probably good that I don't have a pet, because it keeps my budget in line and I can come and go as I please without worrying about them. But getting used to the sounds of my complex is taking longer than I expected and I sort of wish I had some sort of companion. 

I've always had - and loved - dogs. I'd be happy as a clam with a little dog buddy to snuggle with who will bark at strange noises and potentially keep me safe.


However, dogs take a lot of care. They need time, love and attention. They need to be taken outside to do their business at odd hours. They prefer constant companionship to being left alone. They need shots, grooming and lots of food. They take effort. 

Cats have the opposite reputation. They don't crave attention, do their business is a box and do well alone. I've never owned a cat, so I'm not sure how true this is. Plus, my dad is allergic to cats. Especially the furry ones. 

So I'm kind of in a lose-lose situation. Looks like I'll be sticking with pictures of my dogs from home instead!

Do you have any pets? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer Endless Summer Sale

After logging on and then waiting for a considerable amount of time (too much traffic and not enough bandwidth!) I think I've decided not to buy anything from the Endless Summer Sale, at least for today. 

Why? The prices didn't amaze me, but I think it was more so because the products didn't amaze me. I haven't been too keen on the "new" Lilly and I wasn't in love with the summer line.

I did see a few things I liked (including a tie for my sweetie) that were worth the price and I may buy them later on. The sale does last for a couple of days!

Finally, I felt that some of the other customers were acting very childish and that sort of ruined the fun. People were writing scathing comments on Facebook posts and then when the requests they made were accommodated, they were still mad! I understand this sale is a huge help for those on a budget, but it's just clothes. 

I, too, was disappointed the site crashed so quickly, but I wasn't surprised. Instead of writing nasty messages to the social media team, I closed my computer and did something else. Patience is a virtue that I am working very hard on!

As for today, I think I have enough Lilly to last a while. And if I end up craving something new, I can always A) suck it up and buy it (or put it on my Christmas list), B) scour eBay and Re-Lilly or C) find a similar piece elsewhere. 

How do you feel about the Endless Summer Sale selection? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself (and don't let the sale get your goat!)
Alyson

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Uptown girl

I did something really stupid at work the other day. We had a staff meeting and went over some basics with writing, editing and procedure. The boss lady, our news director, went over a lot of little mistakes we've been making. We've got two "newbies" on board, myself included, and some procedure changes so it was more like a reminder session. 

Now here's where I get absent-minded... A few hours after the meeting I was assigned to work on a story, just like every day. And you know what? I made the same mistakes I always make- the ones we had just gone over earlier that day. 

My boss was really nice about it and tried to make it a learning opportunity but I was totally flabbergasted and a little embarrassed. I even took notes at that meeting... Why hadn't this settled in yet!?

The truth of the matter is, this is not the first time this had happened to me and I really don't know how to fix it. (So if you wanted to give some advice today, now is the time!) I have a hard time grasping changes like that and it usually takes a second opinion (or in this case, a proofreader) to help me see what I've missed. 

The weird part about this mistake though was that it made me feel different from before. Usually these things just make me feel a little dumb, but today I really felt like a fish out of water. 

A lot of the things we covered in the meeting were local things that I had no clue about. I didn't know roads and counties or public information officers. It made me miss being home with my parents in the suburbs on the edge of metro Atlanta. We weren't in the perimeter, but a short drive took us to the heart of the city- an urban playground with a daily sense of danger. 

I think the confusion of a local road with one on which my favorite mall is located brought the whole thing on. I was subconsciously missing home so much I wrinkled a news story for two days

Dad says the first move is always hard. I definitely believe him... It's nothing like moving to college!

How do you handle mistakes? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself, 
Alyson

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Settling in

I've been pretty quiet lately... I've been settling in to my new apartment! 

I got power and Internet hooked up, as well as Netflix, so I've been distracted by that a bit :) Netflix  is probably the best $8 I've ever spent. 

I'm also trying to settle comfortably with the idea of being alone. It's odd being the only one around and I've noticed I've been holding myself accountable for keeping the place nice - putting pillows back in the right place, closing closet doors and making my bed every day. 

I wasn't really like this when I lived with other people... I tried to get used to making my bed every morning but I gave up when I moved home. I guess I'm just really enjoying how nice my new apartment looks and want it to stay that way!

Do your habits change in a new place? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Thank You note

The perfect thank you note is a lost art. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it can stump you!

First, it helps to keep a log of who gave what. I make a list with names followed by gifts and then I never forget what someone gave me!

Baby Alyson recommends making a list anyway you know how....


I like to begin by addressing the person or family. Try to include all the names, right down to the dogs (if they're the type of people who sign their pets names to cards.)

Then, I immediately thank them for the item. Add a personal touch - is it your favorite color? Just what you asked for? Handmade with love and intricate detail? 

I always like to finish the "thank you" paragraph with a how thoughtful it was. It really is- if they went out of their way to ask your mother what you wanted for your birthday or put some effort into finding something they thought you'd like, you were on their mind for at least 3 days. If that's not thoughtful, what is!?

When it comes to checks or money, I first thank the person for the card. We all know what it's like to stand in the aisle reading and trying to find the right one. It takes a surprising amount of effort. Plus, if you have family like mind, they manage to find cards that are just perfect - with glitter, pink and beautifully lined envelopes.

Then I thank them for the check or cash and mention what I want to do with the money- savings, towards a new dress, or unsure. If you're unsure, just say "I'm not sure what I'll spend the $25 on just yet but I certainly appreciate having it." Although usually I end up with the new dress answer - I just love a new dress!

Then, I finish off with a sentiment about the event the gift was for:"I enjoyed seeing you over graduation!" "We missed you at graduation but I'm sure we'll see each other soon." "Hopefully we'll see each other during the holidays" or "It's been ages since we saw you! Lets plan for a visit soon." If they like you enough to give you a gift, they want to see you. 

Another possibility, especially if the giver has a child your age, is to comment on their activities. "I hope Kelly has a great time in Turkey, we'll be praying/thinking good thoughts for her!" It's nice to take the focus off yourself for half a second. 

Finally, I thank them again and a "lots of love!" and sign my name. 

It seems odd to create a formula for a thank you card, but once you get rolling it starts coming naturally. As I've gotten older, I've really begun to value thank you notes and regret not sending some over the years. 

I also recommend writing, addressing, stamping and mails your notes the day after you receive a gift. If you're forgetful like me, otherwise you'll find stacks of notes in your room while cleaning (literally stacks- I didn't have postage so they just sat there! How embarrassing!)

Do you have a perfect thank you note? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Sunday, July 28, 2013

T-Minus 4 days!

By this time next week, I'll be blogging from my new apartment!

This is my last week at home. I call my landlord tomorrow and start moving my things Thursday! Over the weekend, my mom and I are going to set up and decorate and make the apartment truly mine!

I have a few ends to tidy up before I go though... for one, I have to pack. BLECH! I hate packing! I am most certainly not excited to do that. I've decided to start with my bookshelf and work down from there.

I also still need to make some curtains and wrangle a microwave. If this was a perfect world, I'd move everything I have ready out first and then do a second wave of moving things after all that was set up. But it looks like I'm going to need to do the Big Move instead!

Do you have any packing tips or tricks? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Puppy madness

I've had a dog for as long as I can remember, or at least, my family has had a dog! So moving into an apartment pet-less is a weird feeling. 

College was the only time I've been dog-less, but even then, I was home on weekends with my family's two dogs. 

I can't stop shopping for pets! I've found quite few dogs and cats that have peaked my interest. One in particular has stuck out, reminding me of one of my first dogs, a cocker spaniel. 

How cute is this little guy!? Photo courtesy of Furkids


But I feel like I should wait until I at least get settled... and with my doubt about whether or not to get a dog, my friends are suggesting I wait. But I'm almost scared to live without one! 

Would you get a pet moving out for the first time? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson 


Surviving the staff picnic

A week or two ago I went to my first ever company get-together. 

Both my parents and boyfriend were out of town so I stuck it out alone. I thought it was going to be a little awkward and that I'd leave early, however, I ended up having so much fun I stayed until the very end!

Here are a few tips for navigating the staff picnic:

1. GO. The boss-man notices whose come and who hasn't. Going and being awkward still looks better than not going at all. At my staff picnic, I ended up spending a good deal of time chatting with the owner and several older, more experienced reporters - something I wouldn't have gotten to experience if I had just stayed home!

2. Ask before you bring a buddy. Is it a family event or staff only? My event included significant others and kids, but not every event does. Check with a more experienced coworker before you bring your S/O along (or wait and see if they ask if he/she is coming)

3. Bring a little something. Not everything is a pot luck, but if the event is at someone's house ALWAYS bring a little treat. In my case, it wasn't necessary, but looking for the host to drop off my veggie tray was a great way to start the party with a purpose. Plus, I got to meet the wife of the host, who then introduced me to another guest, which eventually ended with meeting most of the unfamiliar faces at the party. 

4. Dress to impress. It's not work hours, but it is still a work event. I wore a pair of brightly colored Bermuda shorts, a polo shirt, my favorite sandals and a big bow. I knew a bow could be a conversation starter - one of my favorite phrases is "It's not a social affair without a bow in the hair"- and so could my bright pink and green giraffe printed shorts. However, the only part of my outfit that started conversations were my sandals! I guess they've gotten used to my bright wardrobe :)

5. Respondez, Sil-Vous-Plait. Don't even think about just showing up. It's rude to the host and says "my time is more important than yours." News flash: you're not the boss, you can't say that. 

6. Say hello- and goodbye. Do your best to introduce yourself or say hello to everyone at the party. When you leave, be sure to say good bye. It seems silly in this day and age, but it's polite. I sat out in the garden with a few coworkers (I attached myself to my boss, who also came alone) and I was pleasantly surprised when people I had just went out of their way to say goodbye and that it was nice to meet me. It definitely made me feel like I belonged there. 

7. At least try to be excited that you're there. It may be horrible, you may be alone and your coworkers may not be as interested in making you feel at home. But push through it. Stay for dinner, thank the hosts, then make your rounds and peace out. 

8. Send a thank you note. I forgot to do this (cringe!) but while its not a necessary step it's a nice surprise for the hosts. 

A very important edit: 9. Be cautious of your drinking habits. My cousin reminded me of this important detail and recommends a two drink max (and if your boss doesn't drink, you don't either!) However, I also feel if you are not full time or still probationary, if its your first staff event, if you came alone and have to drive, don't drink at all. 

While not every party is a themed fraternity party, staff parties can be very similar in a networking sort of way. At a fraternity party, your goal is to have fun and impress your fellow Greeks outside of campus... Just like at a staff picnic, your goal is to make connections with coworkers outside of work. You can use what you've learned from college life in the workforce, and it's not always as obvious as what you've studied. A big thanks to my Mom in that one - I said I was nervous and she said, "Pretend like its a recruitment event and you're recruiting for Phi Mu." Mother always knows how to speak my language!

Have you ever gone to a company event? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself, 
Alyson 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's offish....

I've found an apartment!

It met three of my four previous criterium... It's within walking distance to work, pet friendly and in a great neighborhood!

A quick run down on the place... I have a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment on the second floor. It has carpet throughout and each room has a window. It doesn't have much in the way of overhead lighting but I dislike overheard lighting. I have my own  entrance way (with a peep hole and three separate locks!) as well as a den, my own kitchen and two doors! The rooms are also BIGGER than my room at home! And the closets.... well I hit the motherland! THEY'RE HUGE!

Mom and I stopped by the other day to take measurements and it had a fresh coat of paint, a new stove and two new air conditioners! We've been shopping around for all kinds of home wares and I've been feeling crafty (so get prepared for a butt-load of tutorials!)

I move at the beginning of August. Look out, Gainesville!

Do you have an apartment? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Preppy Apartment

In early August, I'll be leaving home for the first time truly on my own! I'll be moving into an apartment closer to work (the two hour commute from home is killing me!) and while the process of apartment hunting is stressful beyond belief, I've found a way to rid that stress by planning the decorations!

I've decided to build a registry list on Overstock.com and Target.com (you can view those lists here and here! and are welcome to gather inspiration!) This way, I could make a public list for my family (read, my parents) and actually purchase things.

It's so weird to think it's all coming together! I'm no longer planning for fun, soon I'll have a real apartment with real furniture!

My apartment will be kelly green and bright pink with navy and white as neutrals. Think Lilly Pulitzer meets Vineyard Vines, plus a little offbeat indie/vintage for good measure.



What do you want your dream apartment to look like? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life Update: Apartment hunting

The epitome of being an "adult" isn't just graduating or getting a job. It's moving out on your own.

I was "out on my own" in college, but I lived in a sorority house, had 24 resident-assistance and my food paid for. Not really living independently, huh? So moving to an apartment in my new hometown will be a big step!

I've been looking in the city, close to the station. I have a little list of what I want... I hope I can find it all!

Home away from home

What do you want in your dream place? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lilly loves Estee Lauder!

My boyfriend's mother is an avid Belk shopper. So when she saw the Lilly Pulitzer for Estee Lauder gift with purchase, she made sure I got one!



I've never used a lot of Estee Lauder products. They're a bit pricey, and with the Georgia heat, most of my make-up slides off my combination skin. I'll experiment with anything and I just love to shop at specialty make up store, but I usually try to find drug store copycats of my department store favorites.

However, there were a few things I just loved: the Lip Conditioner, the Sumptuous bold volume lifting mascara and the Daywear moisturizer! And of course, I love the tote bag that comes with!

I got a little lucky and got a few extras from my dear's mother, including a full size sample of the day wear kit. I'm head over heels for the Illuminator!


The price is really steep for me though, especially being the bottom of the ladder at work. Maybe when I'm super rich I can spring for the whole line! I'd definitely spring for the mascara and the lip conditioner again, though.

Did you nab any of the Lilly Pulitzer gifts with purchase from participating department stores? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Friday, June 21, 2013

Book Club: "Never Sit Down In a Hoopskirt (and other things I learned in Southern Belle Hell)" by Crickett Rumley

Welcome to book club! I love to read, but I feel like I almost never get a change to do so. Recently, I went on an emergency road trip so I had some time to kill!

Naturally, I picked up this little gem from Crickett Rumley. I had been meaning to read it for a while - my father brought a signed copy of her book to me after he met her at a writer's... meeting? It was a while ago.



Plot Summary: 17-year-old rebel Jane Fontaine returns to her hometown of Bienville, Alabama, to live with her grandmother after leaving boarding school. Trying to fit in with the townsfolk, who only want to discuss her mother who passed away many years ago and her father who has since engrossed himself in work, she is ushered into the Magnolia Maids "Achievement" Pageant by her grandmother, and surprisingly, she gets in. Suddenly, she has to take a long hard look at Bienville, the Magnolia Maid program, and herself.

What I liked: I love all things southern belle. I'm embarrassed to admit I skipped debut and cotillion (in hindsight I'm mortified but that's a story for another day!) but oddly, I skipped it for the same reasons Jane felt like she didn't belong on Magnolia Court. It was easy for me to relate to all of the characters- they were all so likable! And, without spoiling the ending, I liked the way the "Mean Girl" character, Ashley, was taken care of, so to speak. Finally, I just LOVED the tone - it felt like a girl my age was really telling the story.

What I didn't like: I wish I had more insight on Jane's father, Cosmo. I also wish I had a few more physical descriptions of the characters, but I feel that was an artistic choice to allow the reader some creative wiggle room. I also wish one of the ending parts didn't end the way it did (gah it made me want to cry and go hug my Mom and Dad) but that's the way life is. There were also a few plot holes that I wish had been filled in (The train on the Queen's dress and the two pink dresses bothered me to no end!)

Overall: Four out of Five stars. Would recommend to other southern belles, but you may be slightly put off by the approach. A nice, easy, quick read!

What are you reading? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stumped

Hey y'all!

I have a couple blog post floating around my head, but I'm not sure how to execute them. I've been playing with them for a couple of weeks!

I do have a skirt tutorial I will post, as soon as I process my photos, so hang tight!

What do you want to see on my blog? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson

Monday, June 3, 2013

Bows before bros?

In college, I loved wearing hair bows. When my hair was short and straight, it helped keep things from looking flat. As my hair became curly, I learned that bows weren't needed in the same spots. Now, my bows are bigger and tucked in center of my hair to hide frizz and unruly chunks of hair.

However, I've never worn one of my fluffy bows to work. I have a simple, leather-y one I've sported before, but my favorites have stayed in my drawer.

I thought I would switch to headbands after school was out, but I realized that headbands and headphones can be an uncomfortable pair (darn you, radio headphones!)

Naturally, I'd start wearing bows again. But - is it okay to wear bows to work?


Bow Pro: The only people who see me at work are my colleagues
Con: When I go out into the field I meet important people from all over the city

Bow Pro: Bows are significantly more comfortable than headbands with headphones on
Con: My colleagues already think I overdress

Bow Pro: They're pretty and I like them
Con: My coworkers might think they're tacky, or rule me out as a typical sorority girl

So, the pro/con list is pretty even. What's a girl to do? Is there a grace period that I can go to work with a bow and no one will bat an eye?

Since I'm new, I'm worried about judgement quite a bit. Unfortunately  I don't think everyone has grasped that I am who I am, bows, dresses and all. I'm worried that they think I'm trying too hard, when really, I'm just being myself. [More on that later....] 

Would you wear bows to work? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,
Alyson