A Green Sunday

About two years ago, I worked on my college’s organic farm for the summer and fall. I spent hours and hours in the sunshine with my hands in the dirt, pulling weeds, planting seeds, and watching their slow, mesmerizing growth. Alongside the three other “garden girls” (or so we called ourselves), I lay on the grass and ate fresh-off-the-vine watermelon. We smothered homemade bread with our very own honey (thank you honeybees!). And everything was simple and easy.

After that, it was kind of hard to stop growing things. Now I’m not saying I’ve got a green thumb. In fact, I’m pretty awful at keeping plants alive. But that doesn’t stop me from trying.

Especially now that things are less easy -work can be stressful, living at home can be confusing- I want more plants around me. I want green in every nook and cranny of my room. Because, let’s be honest, plants make everything a little brighter and sweeter.

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Last Sunday, I found out my boyfriend’s apartment is a 20-minute walk away from a nursery. So off we went. Overalls on. Boots on. Money in hand.

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And there I was. The strong, capable farmer –

ready to stick her hands in the dirt, again.

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New little green friends.

And small, shiny opportunities for growth.

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All my love,

Katie xx

Fall Tunes and Podcasts

Hey blog fam! Sorry I’ve been a little MIA recently – I’ve been trying to finetune a realistic blogging schedule. Plan on seeing new content from me every Wednesday from here on out!

Now, I thought I’d chat a bit about what I’ve been listening to lately. Good music can work absolute miracles for your mood and general headspace. I’ve been pretty anxious recently, largely because I’m in a new job where I’m still trying to find my footing. So I’ve found myself gravitating towards folksy, acoustic music – it seems to trigger a part of my brain that makes me more focused, less stressed, and less tempted to procrastinate. It kind of kicks me into “work mode” and cheers me up without being too distracting.

For your listening pleasure, here is “Autumn Chills”. The vibe is quiet and soft, and, to me, the sound is the epitome of autumn. There’s something about Bon Iver, Charlie Cunningham and the like, that makes me want to start a fire, have a cup of tea and wrap myself in blankets. Rock this playlist when you’re at the office, curled up in bed, or driving in the rain.

 

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Podcasts

For those of you that don’t know, my boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship, which means driving to see each other pretty much every weekend. 3 hours there and 3 hours back gives me a lot of free time. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) there’s not much I can do other than listen to music or podcasts. I quickly learned that music can get old kinda fast when it’s hour 4 and you’re still stuck in traffic. But podcasts, on the other hand, have been my saving grace. Here are a few of my faves:  

Nancy: This show is a beautifully honest discussion of the experiences of people who identify as LGBTQ. It’s unapologetic and uncensored, and the hosts handle topics with such meticulous care. It’s exactly what the world needs right now. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. And hopefully, you’ll leave feeling a little more enlightened, or a little less alone. Either way, you’ll most likely adore it.  

The Memory Palace: If you like podcasts that contain beautifully written narratives that will make you sit in silence afterwards and ruminate on what you just heard (… and possibly cry… yeah… I’m a weepy mess when I listen to this podcast), this is the one for you. Again, it’s a story-telling podcast, but this one errs on the side of historical. It’s gorgeous and eye-opening. This is the first episode I ever heard, and I must have listened to it 10 times since. It’s absolutely stunning.

RadioLab: This podcast is absolute genius. The hosts talk about anything and everything, from Italy’s first transgender gondolier to the discovery of the remains of 5,300 year old human. But this podcast is all about the quality of the story-telling. If you haven’t listened to this podcast: 1. Where have you been? 2. GO LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW.

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine: If you’re like me and are fascinated by the grueling, gross and often bizarre history of medicine, check this podcast out. It’s hilarious, cringe-worthy, and super interesting.

**Special shout out: The Heart of It with Estée Lalonde: I never knew it was possible to fall more in love with Estée Lalonde… until I listened to her podcast. I know only a few episodes of this podcast are out at the moment, but I had to add this to the list. She speaks about topics from new, interesting perspectives, and offers up her own narratives and interviews rad people. I love to watch how she’s using her platform to talk about issues like feminism and protest. Rock on Estée.

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5 September Staples for all Twentysomething Grandmas

For those of you who don’t know… I’m a twentysomething grandma. And as such, I thrill at the idea of colder weather. Fall means warmer blankets, hot baths, more tea, and all-around general coziness. My kinda weather.

So, as soon as the temperature dropped below 70 degrees F, I threw on my dusty knitwear and went shopping for new autumnal bits and bobs. I thought I’d share with you a few of the items that are making me swoon. I consider them my September staples – must haves for any loud and proud twentysomething grandma.

1. Stationary

A new season? That calls for new stationary!

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Yes. I’m one of those people. I love all things stationary. My heart flutters when I think of purchasing a new pen or planner.

I’ve found that there’s a certain charm that accompanies writing a letter. It feels more intimate and a little more thoughtful than an email or a text. Granted, it’s not the speediest means of communication. But it’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. It also gives me a chance to practice my wobbly calligraphy skills.

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These gorgeous watercolor cards are from a local artisan called Studio C in Vermont. Check them out- they’ve got some gorgeous products.

2. An Amazing Smelling Hand Cream

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Nothing says autumn like dry hands! So jump on the hand cream train and start moisturizing before the cold can get to your skin. I was lucky enough to get a little travel version of The White Company Seychelles Hand & Nail Cream, and mamma mia. This stuff is GORGEOUS. I could only describe the scent as what I imagine Kate Middleton smells like. Definitely a good product for when you want to pamper yourself a little bit.

3. Cozy Sweaters

Does this one even need an explanation? Soft. Warm. Cozy. Sweaters are the perfect article of clothing.

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Check out this one from ASOS – it’s lightweight and breathable but so unbelievably soft. Perfect for September.

4. A Book To Lose Yourself In

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I just borrowed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah from the library and am so excited to read it. I’m a sucker for historical fiction, and I’m particularly interested in stories set during wartime. This novel focuses on two sisters living in Germany-occupied France during WWII. Badass gals during World War II? I’m all in. Will report back once I’m finished!

5. Knitting supplies

About a year or two ago, my oh-so-lovely roommate Molly showed me how to knit and I fell in love. It’s a great way to put anxious hands to use and the accomplishment you feel after finishing a piece is incomparable. Grandmas, picture this: sitting in bed swaddled in your duvet, watching a movie, drinking tea, and knitting. Tell me that doesn’t sound like the dream.

Of course, knitting is something you can do year-round. But I like handling thicker ply wool, which doesn’t feel all too great on the skin when it’s sweltering outside.

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I bought this gorgeous green yarn from my local knitting shop to make a hat. We’ll see if it turns out as a wearable item or as a tangled mess…. Only time will tell!

Are any of you out there of the grandma-persuasion? What are your must-haves for September? Leave me a comment and let me know!

The Post-Grad Rut // Tips and Tricks to Staying Sane

Hi my loves! Long time no talk. Let’s talk about post grad life, yeah? Entering the real world with no plan and limited work experience is tough. I assumed my diploma would automatically make me qualified for work. Turns out, it doesn’t. I also thought finding work aligned with my interests would be reasonably easy. Well, it wasn’t.

I learned pretty quickly that constant rejection sucks. Like – sucks. It eats away at you from the inside out and disfigures all perceptions of your self worth.

Why are my friends getting hired and not me? Am I not hirable? What am I doing wrong? What do I want to do with my life?

These questions danced around my head for weeks on end. And combined with the incessant rejection emails (or more often than not, receiving no responses whatsoever – honestly, that sucked more) and no daily structure, I fell into a weird depression. Most of my days were spent in bed, eating cereal and either watching Netflix or looking for jobs and writing cover letters.

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So for all my people who are feeling similarly right now, know that you are not alone. You are smart. You are hirable. You are capable. And this strange period of time in no-man’s land will pass.

But until it does, here are a few tips that, looking back, I wish I had known:

1. Find some structure, somehow. 

I mean this in two ways:

  • Develop a daily routine. It’s so easy to stay in bed all day and look at a computer (trust me- I’ve done it). But it can start to feel sickening very quickly. My suggestion: Wake up early. Set your alarm for 8:30 and don’t snooze. Have a healthy breakfast. Go for a walk. Schedule some time in the morning to work on job-hunting nonsense, and a few hours in the afternoon to work on things that make you happy! Make this day productive – whether that means taking an all-involved self-care day, or submitting an application (both are equally important – don’t skimp on self-care, my loves!).
  • Schedule out your week so that you know when you want to look for jobs and apply for positions. Make reasonable deadlines. Stay organized. Make a… dare I say it?… spreadsheet. Keeping on top of due dates and making small goals will make things feel a bit more manageable and much less overwhelming.

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2. Be gentle with yourself.

I got to a point where thinking about job applications made me so anxious that I would procrastinate and avoid the thought of work entirely. I then internalized my lack of progress as an inherent laziness and beat myself up about it. If anyone is in that same boat, know that it’s okay. It’s okay to give yourself some distance from applications if that’s what you need. It’s a difficult time. So be gentle with yourself. If the thought of looking for jobs is stressing you out, maybe take today off and enjoy some self-care.

 

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3. Find a project that brings you joy.

The great thing about being stuck between college and the working world is that you have tons of free time on your hands. So choose a skill you’ve been wanting to learn and get cracking! Start painting! Start a blog! Learn how to speak Italian! Do something that makes you happy and brings you some sense of fulfillment. Your life isn’t just about finding that job. So take this time to develop yourself.

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4. Look for community.

If you’re like me, I was stuck back at home after college with no friends nearby. So I recommend looking for community elsewhere. Join a choir. Find a book club. Show up for political events and join a local activist group. Volunteer at an organization. Being surrounded by people, particularly those who share common interests with you and push you to grow, is so important.

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5. Repeat after me: I am doing this right.

I am doing this right. I am doing this right. Get those words into your head and let them resonate through your body. Because you are doing this right. It may feel like you have no clue what you’re doing and the end is nowhere in sight, but a job offer will come. Trust yourself.

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….

Hopefully some of these tips might help a few of you! And to all you wonderful humans out there in no-man’s land: You are strong and intelligent. You will find a job. And trust me, you are doing it right.

Evening Skincare Products

I’ve been told that your early 20’s are the best time to develop a skincare routine- you’re young enough to stop premature aging in its tracks and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I must confess, I’m not sure how I feel about the persistent war-on-aging in America. I think that the wrinkles, laugh lines, and scars on our bodies tell stories deeply entrenched in who we are.

However, I do appreciate the notion of caring for your body. Taking the time to look at yourself, morning and night, and thoughtfully caress and nourish your skin. Up until this year, my regimen has largely consisted of splashing water on my face and slathering on moisturizer. Not the best regimen. So I recently decided to put aside some time, show my skin some love, and start caring for my face properly.

My skin is often well behaved, but when it’s bad, let me tell you, it’s BAD. I have dry skin, which gets terrible in the New England winter (like… my ‘eyebrows start shedding dandruff’ bad), but I’m also prone to breakouts in my T-zone. I don’t frequently get pimples, but when I do, they stay for weeks on end. These are a few of the products that have been keeping my skin in check this summer:

Make Up Remover:

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I haven’t been wearing a lot of face makeup recently, so all I need is my trusty Garnier Miscellar Cleansing Water to remove my eye makeup. I put a little bit on a cotton pad, rest it on my eye, and gently wipe away any makeup from the day. It doesn’t sting or leave a greasy residue like most eye makeup removers, but feels light and gentle on the skin. No wonder it has a cult following.

Cleanser and Toner:

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Clinique holds the key to my heart. I use Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (extra-mild) to cleanse and it is a GOD SEND. All the cleansers I have tried in the past have dried out my skin. This cleanser, on the other hand, is nothing short of magic. It’s non-drying and gentle, but still feels like it is cleansing my skin. Honestly, I couldn’t recommend it more.

Similarly, the Clinique Clarifying Lotion is just as amazing. This toner is perfect for sensitive, dry skin. Anyone out there with dry skin, do yourself a favor and check these products out.

Serum and Moisturizer:

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For my moisturizer, I use Pacifica’s Dreamy Youth Day and Night Face Cream. It absorbs wonderfully into my skin, feels light on the face, and is super nourishing. Pacifica is a pretty great brand all together – reasonably priced, paraben-free, sustainably produced, and good quality products.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate was my splurge of the year. But me-oh-my was it worth every penny. You only need a few drops and you can see the difference in your skin overnight. It leaves your skin glowing and so unbelievably soft. Not to mention, it contains evening primrose oil and lavender oil, so it smells absolutely divine.

Facial Spray:

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These last few months have been HOT, so I have been adoring the Mario Badescu Rosewater Facial Spray. It’s one of those panacea products that works for everything. I use it to set my makeup, as a quick pick me up in the middle of the day, and to prep my skin for moisturizer. It’s deliciously refreshing and feels so luxurious to use. I mean, come on guys – rosewater – how classy is that?

 

When I have a little more time on my hands…

Face Mask

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I love using these Dermal sheet masks. I bought mine on Amazon. They’re reasonably cheap – about 50 cents per mask, and guys they WORK. They hydrate your skin beyond belief and leave your face feeling firm and refreshed. After leaving it on my skin for 20 minutes, I’ll usually wrap the mask around my neck and décolletage for another 15 or so, to really get my money’s worth.

Facial Massage Oil

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While I find this Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser to be a little too heavy to use as an everyday makeup remover, I have been using it for facial massages. If you haven’t tried giving yourself a facial massage – do it. It is the ultimate way to pamper yourself. I was first introduced to the concept by the amazing Lisa Eldridge in a Youtube video. It’s a wonderful way to care for your skin and to release all the tension you hold in your face. Check out her video and give it a try!

 

Have you tried any of these products? If so, let me know what you think of them! And if you have any recommendations of other products to try, I’m all ears!