21 Lessons in 21 Years

We’re almost halfway through November, but as some of you may know, I spent the better half of last month celebrating a pretty huge milestone– I made it to 21!  To finish off October, a few of my fellow Libras and I headed to the Big Apple for a Halloweekend party.

These past few months have been a whirlwind of adult undertakings, moments of growth and incredible opportunities.  As I near the fifth week of my 21st year, I’m taking the time to reflect on everything that I have learned along the way.  Check out my list of 21 lessons learned in 21 years, an idea I sort of kind of stole from another QU-based blogger:

  1. Your natural hair is beautiful.  Don’t feel pressured to blow it out and straighten it every day like everyone else because truth is, most others are dying for the kinky locks that you so effortlessly possess.
  2. Positive thinking is a choice, and it takes practice.  So practice it whenever you can.
  3. When God wants you to grow, he makes you uncomfortable.  When things aren’t great, use the circumstances to motivate you to build a better tomorrow.
  4. Tattoos hurt, but the right one(s) will be worth it.  Think long and hard, then get the ink.
  5. You don’t ever actually have to get rid of your baby blanket.
  6. When you’re on vacation, put your phone away.  Continuously make a conscious effort to be in the present moment, especially when surrounded by family and friends.
  7. Sadness is nothing to be scared of.  Don’t keep yourself in slow-burning, toxic situations just to avoid the sting of ripping off the Band-Aid.
  8. All things in life are temporary, even life itself.  Accepting this fact is crucial to making your time count and being able to move on.
  9. You are currently doing things that, at one point, you never dreamed you’d be capable of doing.  And years from now, you will be surprising yourself all over again.
  10. Eyebrow threading is annoying, painful and necessary.
  11. You won’t ever regret staying true to yourself.  You will, however, regret doing things that just aren’t you.  Don’t force yourself to conform or second-guess your intuition.
  12. Falling in love, at least for the first time, is absolutely as glamorous as it seems.  Don’t be afraid of it.  Do it, and give it your all.
  13. When you take care of yourself, all other things take care of themselves, too.
  14. You’re not just “lucky”; you’re incredibly hard-working, and that’s how you’ve gotten this far.  Create your own opportunities in this life.
  15. Boxers are the WORLD’S BEST DOGS.  (R.I.P. to my baby Lib forever <3)
  16. Dressing like an adult isn’t that hard.  In fact, it makes you feel more powerful and in control.  Slay, girl!
  17. Make it a point to step out of your comfort zone fairly frequently.  Take the initiative on that trip to Nicaragua, for instance, and push yourself to perform.
  18. Show your family love every chance you get.  (Friends, too!)
  19. You are not your anxiety or your depression, although it sometimes feels like your emotions are swallowing you whole.  You are not defined by these chemical imbalances.  They are one more piece to your inspiring story.
  20. Everything ain’t for everybody.
  21. It is not up to you to change/fix/save people.  It is, however, up to you to take care of yourself and be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.  (See #13.)

What lessons have you learned– through practice, happenstance or otherwise– in your life thus far?  Are there words of wisdom that you swear by?  I’d love to read your lists!  In the meantime, take care and allow the lessons I have learned to guide you in your own.

So You’re Going for an Interview: Bring This

Hello again, my lovely readers!  I’m back with part two of my interview preparation series, which means it’s time to share more useful tips for landing that position you’ve been eyeing for weeks.

Last time, I discussed the three major areas of expertise that an interviewee should we prepared to elaborate on.  Now it’s time to prove to your potential employer that you’ve done the work and have applied yourself in past workplace-esque situations.  As long as you believe you’ve really got what it takes, don’t be afraid to show it off at the right place and time.

Along with a positive attitude and professional demeanor– and these tips from Kristine of My Little Box of Tricks— be prepared to bring a few things to the interview.  The key items you need in ordered to be prepared are:

  1. Résumé | Bring multiple copies of your (preferably one-page) résumé, in the instance that the person(s) interviewing you would like to follow along while discussing your skill set.  Depending on the format of the interview, your résumé may set the agenda for the process.  (Plus, it acts as a professional set of notes that you can glance at to jog your memory.)
  2. Cover letter | The cover letter is important because it adds a sense of personal flair to your résumé, which can sometimes come off as a dry work transcript.  The cover letter was the first time it was really up to you, not necessarily your skills, to sell yourself, so reference it directly and bring extra copies.
  3. Work samples | If you can, work up to collecting a portfolio of work samples that you can provide as hard evidence of your applicable skills.  If you’re an artist, bring sketches or photographs; writers should bring news clips and provide web links; psychologists, scientists and researchers could showcase lab reports and experiment results.  (Note that work samples may be more difficult to provide depending on the field you’re in.)
  4. Notebook and pen | I can’t emphasize how important these simple writing tools are in terms of your presentation and preparedness.  Potential employers like to see candidates who are fully engaged in the interview process, and sometimes this includes taking little notes or writing down questions to ask later.  Stick to small, simple styles– no sparkly butterflies, please.

So you’ve gotten your elevator pitch down pat and are prepared to give concrete examples of your applicable skills and work experience.  Now it’s time to pack up that classic, sturdy work tote and hit the ground running…

…But not without the perfect professional outfit, of course.  Stay tuned for the third and final part of my interview prep series, where we’ll cover just that.  Get ready to SLAY!

In A “Perfect” World, There’s Body Merry

Hey y’all!  I’m back after a couple of busy weeks, and I could not be more excited to share some of my new favorite beauty products with you…

While I love dabbling in beauty, I don’t claim to be perfect, nor am I trying to be.  I know myself well enough to know which qualities I am insecure about and which I feel confident about.  I have never really felt a long-lasting, strong sense of hatred toward my physical appearance, but I feel down about certain things sometimes, as does every other human on this planet.

As long I know the unattainable notion of “perfect” disseminating society is just that– unattainable– then I won’t be disappointed when I look in the mirror post-shower and spy some cellulite.  With that in mind, though, I don’t think I’m a criminal for taking a chance on beauty products and really hoping they fix a little bit of what I don’t like.

This is where Body Merry’s facial and body care comes in.

What I love about Body Merry is the brand doesn’t claim its products can fix all of your problems or solve world hunger.  Rather, the Body Merry brand accepts that “perfect” is a myth, and that philosophy extends to their beauty products.  Their 90-day, 100 percent satisfaction guarantee supports this.  Plus, the brand is organic and all-natural!

I recently added three Body Merry beauty products to my nightly skincare regimen.  I really fell in love with their anti-cellulite gel-cream, Cellulite Defense.  This stuff contains caffeine, retinol and seaweed to enhance circulation and reduce fat.  Body Merry does note, though, “For best results, use alongside an active lifestyle and healthy diet.”

Although the Cellulite Defense gel-cream smells like a mix of menthol, Icy Hot muscle pain relief gel and Vicks VapoRub, I loved it because I could feel it working, and I saw results.  It tingles when you rub it in and also feels cooling– as expected, considering what it smells like.  After putting this stuff on after a shower for a few nights in a row, the cellulite I had appeared less prominent.  And hey, that’s all a girl can ask for!  I’m willing to do the squats to get rid of the rest!

I also tried Body Merry’s Stretch Marks & Scars Defense Cream and their Day-to-Night Eye Gel, but I am still waiting to see more effective results there.  Body Merry recommends using their products consistently for six-to-twelve weeks, and since I’m only about two weeks in, I’m willing to give it more time.

Body Merry has helped me partially tackle an insecurity of mine: cellulite.  And while the “ideal” girl doesn’t have a single trace of it on her body– or, at least, she has the money to get it Photoshopped out– I’m OK with being like everybody else in this arena.  This world is not perfect, and neither are we who live in it.  But if there are things out there that can improve the situation then, dammit, I’ll try ’em!

This post is powered by BrandBacker, but all opinions are 100% my own.

So You’re Going for an Interview: Know This

Hello all, and welcome to the introductory post to a three-part interview preparation series brought to you by These words are my own.  So you’re going for an interview…

You spent weeks hunting down the perfect job or internship opportunities, and after following up once or twice and praying for the best, you’ve finally landed an interview!  About 24 hours before the big meeting, you might begin to freak out, riddling yourself with anxieties and insecurities and wondering whether or not you’re likable enough.

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First, try relaxing into a meditative state for a few moments, then remind yourself that you are Beyoncé.  Second, calm your nerves by knowing the answers to a certain group of crucial questions that pertain to 1) your potential job, 2) your potential employer and 3) your skills.  Test yourself with these:

  • What relevant classwork/work experience do you have that makes you qualified for this job?
  • What specific skills do you have that make you an asset to the company/brand/team?
  • What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?
  • Why are you interested in this position within this company?

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Finally, be prepared to ask a few questions of your own throughout the interview, but especially toward the end.  This shows your potential employer that you have been engaged in the conversation and really care to fully know what you’ll get out of the job, if hired.  Some important things to touch upon include…

  • What skills can I expect to cultivate and develop throughout the length of the internship/employment period?
  • What will a normal day look like if I am to be offered, and I accept, this position?
  • Is this a paid position?  If so, how much are you willing to pay me?  How often?
  • Can I expect to collaborate with my co-workers fairly often, or will I mostly be working on my own?

Now that you’re prepared to say all the right things and do a decent amount of humble bragging about your skills and expertise, you can offer your potential employer a hard copy of your work portfolio.  (That is, if they haven’t asked for one during the interview already.)  In part two of the So You’re Going for an Interview series, we’ll cover what materials, exactly, you should bring with you to present and how you should present them.

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What techniques do you use to study and prepare for the meaty Q-and-A portion of the interview process?  Can you think of any commonly-asked questions that I missed here?  Let me know!

Totes Magotes

July came and went before I could even blink my eyes, and now it’s late August and basically time for all of my friends to move back to school while I gear up for another year of #commuterlife.  Honestly, I kind of love back-to-school season– and, come to think of it, I don’t really know what I’m going to do once I’m a real adult whose years no longer run on a student’s timeline.  But I digress…

While others anxiously wait by the mailbox to receive their class schedules and locker combinations, many of us cool college kids are concerned about bigger things…like landing an internship or applying for grad school or figuring out how in the hell we’re going to carry our laptops around practically and stylishly.

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The solution to that last not-so-huge problem lies in the World of Work Totes.  I’m having a terrible time deciding which of the following bags that I want to claim as mine– and wondering whether or not it’s in my best (financial) interest to even buy one in the first place.  Nonetheless, I’ve taken the time to get schooled in these styles for fall:

Totes Magotes

(counterclockwise, from left)

Transport Tote | Madewell | $168 (also seen in Dark Cabernet)

Downing Tote | J.Crew | $178

Claremont Python Dover Tote | Dooney & Burke | $388

Leila Large Tote | Vince Camuto | $198

Leila Large Studded Tote | Vince Camuto | $248

Have you yet found a bag perfect for everything from classes to an internship to errands and anything in between?  Share your pics and links below, or tell me which of the above options you’re swooning over, then get ready to tote-ally kill it this semester (;

Oh, Canada!

Hello, readers!  Anyone wondering where I’ve been?!  (Anyone? ….Anyone at all…?)  Well, perhaps the better question would be, “Where haven’t you been?”  Today I’m here to share those little details and then some!

Some of my family members and I rounded off the month of July with a road trip to Canada!  (I’m half French-Canadian, after all.  It only makes sense to go back to my roots.)  Our first stop brought us to the Adirondacks of New York, where I have aunts, uncles and cousins and where a family logging company has thrived since the early 1970s.  Shout out to Tupper Lake!

Next we spent a few days in Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada, where we were reunited with even more aunts, uncles and cousins.  I even met some family members that I was unaware of before!  We also casually crossed the border into Madawaska, Maine for an afternoon.  It was so incredible to spend time with family and get to know the people that my father had grown up around for most of his early childhood.

On the trip back home, we spent a beautiful afternoon in Montréal, Québec.  We shopped along Saint Catherine Street downtown and dined at Reuben’s, a swanky restaurant specializing in smoked meats and, of course, reuben sandwiches.  I had to go with the filet mignon.  C’est bon!

I didn’t go crazy on our shopping trips because the time was mostly spent with family that I hadn’t seen in years.  But between Montréal and the huge tax-free store right before the Canada-U.S. border, I made out with some quality finds, detailed below.

Oh, Canada!

Angelica Hydra Vital Cream | L’Occitane

Cropped Racerback Ribbed Tank | Garage

Indigo Ink Super Soft High Waist Jegging | Garage

Nadine Top | Brandy Melville

Full Exposure Palette | Smashbox

Some other finds included my favorite face wash, a black cropped tank, a dainty necklace and a sweet set of rings.

Surprisingly, I’m most excited to have invested in some of the basics, like those jeans and that fancy moisturizer.  These are things that I know I’m going to use the hell out of, and with fall fast approaching, I knew it couldn’t all be cropped tops and cut-offs.  I’m also not much of an eyeshadow girl, so I’m hoping this palette of nudes, and Urban Decay’s Naked palette, will continue to inspire me to at least try it out.

It was a vacation well spent, but at the end of the day, there’s no place like home.

Where are you headed before the summer’s over?  I’d love to hear about your travels or whether you’ve been anywhere that I visited recently.  And follow me on Instagram for more of what I’m up to this August!

Every Week Has a Weekend

Happy Tuesday, readers!  I hope this new week is off to a great start for each and every one of you.  (And if it isn’t, make it that way!)

I have been so busy lately, working six days a week and applying for internships, as well as trying to maintain some semblance of a fitness routine and tackling what seems like a bottomless pile of laundry.  Still, I think I’ve been doing a decent job of getting enough sleep, catching Big Brother, reading, relaxing and socializing.

Which brings me to these past few days, which were packed with lots of work but also lots of play.  In the words of the super talented (and super handsome) Brad Paisley, “every week has a weekend”…and this is how I spent mine:

On Friday evening, the girls and I decided to check out Hartford’s Riverfest Food Truck Festival.  The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed a few hours of music and delicious food (fried dough and thai cuisine, to be exact.)  We were all dying to try grilled cheese from Cheesy Street Grill but were too impatient to wait in the long line.  In hindsight, I’m sure the wait would’ve been worth it, but what can ya do?  We also decided that we would try the New Haven Pizza Truck the next time it came around.  Yum!

After the sun set, we made our way from the festival and poked around the surrounding area a bit.  Since we had only really snacked a few hours before, we settled in at Ted’s Montana Grill for a late dinner.

The coasters were cute, but the food was even better.

I was feeling adventurous, so I ordered the bison pot roast.  (It’s pretty hard to screw up a pot roast, and our waiter said bison was like beef but a little sweeter.)  It was delicious!  The shredded roast was falling apart in the best way, and it was complimented by roasted carrots and chunky mashed potatoes.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Needless to say, I’m definitely a bison fan.

The rest of the weekend was pretty quiet in comparison, but I did get a chance to run some errands, lounge poolside and get some shopping done.

Can we just talk about how excited I am to have wandered into Barnes & Noble and found this 17-month Lilly Pulitzer agenda that I have been swooning over for like, two years?!  I feel like a real person now, and I can’t wait to use it.  My sister was poking fun at me, but I can’t help it that I geek out over cute, useful stationary.  (Did I mention I’m Type A?  That means my planner is life.)

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend.  I’d love to hear how you spent yours and how you’re planning to kick some butt this week!