Swimwear Selection

Happy Monday, folks!

Let’s all close our eyes and pretend that we are on a beach listening to the waves as we sink our toes into the sand instead of sitting at our desks sucking up coffee and wondering how its already September…

This summer I purchased two new swimsuits to replace the ones I have had for many years. When you end up with sheer spots around your derriere unintentionally you know its time to for a change-up!

I shopped early into the season and found two suits that fit my dual beach lifestyle.

The first is this high waist bikini by GabiFresh. I have always wanted to rock a bikini but never found one that hit my curves in all the right spots, until GabiFresh entered my world. I have been following Gabi for a few years and was ecstatic when she launched a swim line through Swimsuitsforall.

bikini

Iridescence underwire.

I can’t help but instantly feel sexy and confident in this two piece and its perfect for a girls beach day where my itinerary includes: basking in the sun, reading Marie Claire, and taking a”dip” in the ocean to cool down (on repeat).

My second find is a “Fit for You” one-piece swimsuit by Croft & Barrow. I purchased it at Kohl’s and love the  geometric watercolor print.

Instant slimdown!

Instant tummy slim down!

It gives the full coverage I am looking for while highlighting my hour-glass figure and decolletage. I wear this suit for family beach outings that are full of: hunting for hermit crabs, building sand castles mounds, playing “shark” in the water, and tossing the football around.

Yesterday’s excursion was a family affair so I opted for my one piece. Here is a peek at the suit on me:

So comfy!

Ignore the bed-head!

It breaks my heart to put these two summer staples away for the season. Maybe I can convince Gear that we need to escape the New England winter with a trip to the tropics? 😉

-Alice

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Primetime Polish Up: Episode 101 – Kristen Wiig

My Sundays are pretty routine.  I do my laundry, grocery shop, and pick out my outfits for the work week. Since I usually reserve Sundays for myself, this is when I catch up on my favorite shows or watch a movie and give myself a manicure.  The Primetime Polish Up is my weekly post showing off my nail polish color of the week and a review of what I binged watched.  I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!  Comment here or tweet to me @gingercouture1 or @JoyAttardo.

 

Sally Hansen Sugar Plum

Sally Hansen Sugar Plum

Happy First week of school! This week I went with [Sally Hansen] Sugar Plum.  I wanted a bright friendly color to welcome everyone back to campus. The temperatures are still in the 80s and 90s this week but fall is around the corner.  As we coast into September I want to start breaking out my darker polish colors and Sugar Plum is a good transition color to kick off the new school year.

 

This weekend was absolutely beautiful, 70-80s, low humidity.  Unfortunately, I spent the weekend in bed with strep throat.  Since I was forced to cancel my beach plans and wasn’t in any shape for doing much, I opted for a Netflix Kristen Wiig movie marathon.  Over the past two days I watched Girl Most Likely, The Skeleton Twins, and Welcome to Me.

I absolutely loved all three movies.  When I think of Wiig I immediately think of Bridesmaids. I started my marathon expecting similar comedic performances.  However, these three dramedies took me on an emotional rollercoaster.

Wiig plays Imogen in Girl Most Likely. Since Imogen’s hoity toity friends lack the supportive skills necessary to get a gal through a breakup, Imogen moves back home with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her quirky brother.  Amidst her own relationship and career issues, Imogen and her brother are forced to deal with some very dusty skeletons they discover in their mother’s closet.

In The Skeleton Twins, Wiig and Bill Hader co-star as twins Maggie and Milo.  Tragedy reunites the estranged sister and brother.  Their sibling dynamic becomes the glue that holds them both together while they face their own past and present affairs.

Wiig’s character Alice is living with borderline personality disorder in Welcome to Me.  After winning the lottery, Alice invests her money in her own talk show because has something to say and she wants everybody to hear it.  Alice’s winnings bought her a captive audience and the control she has craved but realizes that money doesn’t change the past.       

All three movies had elements of self acceptance, family dynamics, and overcoming personal challenges.  Wiig’s performances were entertaining and had me laughing out loud. Yet, she maintained the necessary level of respect concerning the larger issues that unfolded throughout the plots.

Talk soon,

Joy

I Woke Up Like This (I Wish)

While I am 99% positive that Queen Bey actually does wake up like this:

All hail the queen!

The mass population (and definitely myself) fall under this category:

Me. Every. Morning (sans cat).

Today is the annual retreat for a Board that I serve on and earlier this week I talked about finding the perfect outfit to last me through the day.

With my attire all set, the plan this morning was to dress up my usual hair/makeup for the occasion. I had my sights set on wearing my hair up in a wavy chignon, but as we all know things don’t always fall into place.

“Ready for the weekend” Alice hit the good ol’ snooze button a few too many times so my up do was replaced with elegant and loose cascading curls. I also made the decision that with my hair now down, I would forgo the necklace and keep it simple. #cutthroatchoices #improviselikehell.

HAIR

My daily routine includes the following products:

Pre Blow Dry

  • John Frieda Root Booster
  • L’Oreal Dual Protect Spray (Color Vibrancy)
Volume: check. Shine: check.

Volume & shine added pre blow dry

Post Blow Dry

  • Beyond The Zone ( BTZ) “Rock On” Volumizing Powder
  • Garnier Fructise Volumizing ant-humidity hair spray (No. 3)
  • Plastic teazing comb
  • Metal teazing comb
Everyday essentials for big hair!

Everyday essentials for big hair.

After the drying process, I curled my hair in large sections using a curling wand and let it set for a few minutes. I then shook it out gently with my fingers while applying hair spray. Quick & easy!

MAKEUP

With a few contouring sessions (self-taught) under my belt, I took advantage of my new-found skill and went the “full face” route for my base. For a full tutorial click HERE.

Once that was done, I decided to go for a simple eye with neutral shadows and a winged eyeliner. Here is a glance at the products used:

  • Maybelline Great Lash mascara in “Blackest Black”
  • Almay Intense I-color (Smokey for Hazel)
  • CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus  eye pencil  in “Black Onyx”
  • Eyelash Curler
Sometimes, less is more.

Sometimes, less is more.

I like to apply my eyeliner first and then incorporate my shadowing. The eyeliner gives me a physical barrier to stay in and I can always give it a once over if needed. My mascara is always the last product to go on.

With a neutral color palette taken from my clothing to my makeup, I decided to spice it up with a bold lip. I LOVE lipliner and tend to use it as a lipstick base before incorporating other glossy or matte products. Here is what I used for today:

  • MaryKay Lipsticks in “Garnetfrost” and “Apple Berry”
  • L’Oreal Shimmered Gloss in “Pink Resistance”
  • Revlon Colorstay Lipliners in “Rose” and “Mauve”
Pucker Up!

Pucker Up!

I started by lining my lips and filling in half way up on both the bottom and top. I  then coated everything with my chapstick before rubbing them together. After, I went back in with my lipsticks and blended them until I came out with my desired color.

The final look:

Fresh Faced!

Fresh Faced!

With that, I am feeling great, looking great, and am ready to dive into the day ahead. But first coffee…. lots and lots of coffee…

Happy Friday!

-Alice

maniCURE

maniCURE is one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs from her ARTPOP album.  This song is about getting ready for a hot night out so you feel confident and have a blast.  Toni Collette’s line from In Her Shoes “…shoes always fit” is one of those quotes that always stuck with me.  For me, manicures always fit.  Fresh nail polish is that little pick-me-up that even when I’m not feeling my best, my manicure gives me that boost of confidence and squashes any doubts about my outfit for the day or night.

I’m not as ambitious as Lady Gaga with my choice of nail shape, I’m not a regular customer at a nail salon, and I don’t get a manicure on a regular basis.  To be honest I can’t even remember the last time I paid for a mani/pedi.  I look forward to painting my nails every Sunday to kick off the work week, it is one of the most relaxing parts of my weekly routine.

Essie Where’s My Chauffeur

OPI Down to the Coral

OPI Down to the Coral

I also pay attention to this particular detail because I gesture and talk with my hands a lot.  During the work day I go from one appointment to the next, meeting one-on-one with my students. We are usually sitting at my desk reviewing and editing their career related materials together. This means they are watching me red-pen their resumes, cover letters, and personal statements while I point to different areas on the page as I give my feedback.  When I teach my students how to use online resources I am pointing things out on a computer screen.  I also give a lot of presentations where I am gesturing to make my point (more out of habit than necessity.)  So my hands are definitely seen up close and personal by a lot of people every day.

Working in career counseling, my outward professional presentation is very important to me.  I like to put my best foot forward every day.  For me that best foot forward includes a fresh manicure.  While people may not notice the little things like the color of my nail polish, they will notice jagged nails, bitten nails, or dirty nails.

OPI You're So Outta Lime

OPI You’re So Outta Lime

Essie Pansy

Essie Pansy

Right now my regiment starts with OPI Nail Envy Strengthener which I use as a base coat.  I apply two coats of a color, I’ve been enjoying bright colors for the summer season. I finish off with Revlon Extra Life No Chip Top Coat.  Sephora’s Formula X Nail Polish Remover is great, I love the pump bottle, no spills.  I use a concealer brush to tidy up the edges and cuticles.

Formula X DELETE Nail Polish Remover & Concealer Brush

Formula X DELETE Nail Polish Remover & Concealer Brush

My secret to keeping my polish fresh all week is the second top coat I apply the next day.  On Monday night I apply Gelous Top Coat.  I understand that not everybody enjoys painting their nails or has the time.  If this is not your cup of tea, a quick trim and swipe of the nail file is all you need.  Throw a clear coat of nail strengthener or top coat on for a little extra shine.

My other little secret, I get all my nail polish at TJ Maxx.  They have fabulous, quality brands, OPI, Essie, Butter, Orly, and more for a career counselor’s budget.  I rarely leave the store without a new bottle of nail polish.

My Collection

My Collection

Talk soon,

Joy

Fashion & Philanthropy

As a fundraiser, the question I get asked most from those who aren’t familiar with Development is: “So, all you do is ask for money all day?”

The short answer: Yes. The long answer: Development is so much more than that!

Over the years I have worked for a few different non-profits and have learned more about my role through each one.

As an alumna, returning as a staff member to the University has been an absolute joy, and I have brought with me the mentality that fundraising is about connections. It’s building relationships with your community and getting them involved based on what they are passionate about. It’s making them feel good about creating positive change for the underserved and overlooked.

Yes, the conversation eventually turns to financial support and, for me, it should feel comfortable and easy. My own  philanthropic interests have always been drawn to young adults and emergent needs. Being able to incorporate my love of fashion is the cherry on top of the sundae.

I recently had the amazing opportunity of helping one of our donors create a fund for the Fashion Design & Retailing Program. The reality for many of our students in this program is that they are barely scraping by to afford their classes so they often aren’t able to purchase the materials they need to create their portfolios (that are essential for employment opportunities post graduation). While the department receives donations of fabric from local companies, there isn’t enough to serve everyone and our students creativity is stifled as they can’t execute their vision fully with pre-selected fabrics.

After hearing about the need, this donor and I discussed the creation of a fund to allow students the financial resources to purchase the exact fabrics and notions they need to succeed in their program. With that mission in mind, the JG Fabric Fund was established.

As an alumna, staff member, and Board member, I am fully invested in the concept of “time, talents, and treasure”.  I give my time through my work and my volunteer role on the Board, my talents through my knowledge of fundraising, and am thrilled to give my treasure to the JG Fabric Fund.

There is no better feeling than standing behind a cause that I a care deeply for and that aligns with my own interests!

-Alice

Standing the Test of Time

Would it surprise you guys to know that Joy and I both serve on a Board of Directors?  As someone who still thinks she graduated from college less than four years ago (in actuality I am three years shy of my 10 year college reunion…yikes!), it still surprises me to say that I am a Board member.

This Summer marks our first full year serving on our alma mater’s Alumni Association Board. It has been an incredible experience both professionally and personally. Joy will be talking more about our involvement as young alumna and I will be sharing more about my love of philanthropy in a bit so, for now, I am focused on the task at hand: finding a professional & comfortable outfit for our 8 hour retreat this Friday.

This retreat takes up an entire day for a good reason: so we can expand our impact and determine how we can best serve the University and its students in the year ahead.

In the past year we have successfully increased alumni engagement at events, awarded two separate scholarships for student leaders, and created an Emergency Grant Fund for our students who are in desperate need of life essentials.

I am looking forward to what we come up with at this retreat and it is a relief to not be a “newcomer” this time around. Regardless of your rank, however, the day’s attire is more formal than your everyday 9-5 outfit.

It doesn’t help that I am itching for some new pieces to add to my wardrobe and with Fall approaching I am eager to switch out my seasons. With nothing striking me at home, and not wanting to spend more than $10 for a new piece, I thrifted my way to victory.

I went straight to the dress section at Saver’s and found a black sleeveless sheath dress by Style & Co. for $9.99. It fit perfectly over my hour-glass shape and has a silk liner that will prevent any wrinkles from forming over the 8 hour day (of mostly sitting):

Comfort & style all in one!

Comfort & style all in one!

What I love about the LBD is that you can do so much with your accessories and it transitions seamlessly from day to evening. This dress will be an incredible classic piece for all seasons. A trip to the dry cleaner is all she needs.

Since I had time to spare during my lunch hour excursion I decided to peruse the shoe section and came across these beauties, which I snagged for $5.99:

Colore me greige.

The side sweeping accents are everything!

me too side

Color me impressed.

The greige tone makes them perfect for any color palette and they are hardly worn. They are from a company called …me Too shoes and if you haven’t heard of them they are definitely worth a look HERE!

Luckily, I had $6 cash in my wallet that I put towards the shoes so if we want to get technical I did meet my goal of only spending $10 via debit card. Worst case scenario: a work dress and shoes for $16 is not a bad haul.

For accessories I decided to play off the transition into Fall and went with these at home pieces:

Slate grey, forest green, and turquoise jewels.

Slate grey, forest green, and turquoise jewels.

My NOLA rose plated ring (pictured left) is a staple. The tourmaline solitaire (pictured right) was a splurge while on vacation in Antigua with Gear years ago!

My NOLA rose plated ring (pictured left) is a staple. The tourmaline solitaire (pictured right) was a splurge while on vacation in Antigua with Gear years ago!

Now that I have my outfit picked out and ready to go I can dedicate my morning routine on hair and makeup. With a higher neckline I like to do a low chignon of sorts that will (most importantly) stay in place throughout the day and open up the top half of my frame.

Paired with a simple eye and bold lip its the perfect blend of professional makeup that isn’t a total bore. I will have more on that process come Friday morning!

-Alice

What’s For Dinner?

Pintrest is a fabulous platform for finding new ideas.  I use Pintrest for fashion where you will find boards for everyday work attire, casual Friday outfits, styles appropriate for office parties, and nail polish ideas any career woman can pull off.

Aside from Pinning all my fave fashion finds, I search Pintrest every Sunday before I make my grocery list and look for delicious recipes.  In some cases, Pintrest has given me a false sense of confidence in the kitchen.  Other times it actually works out.  As a rule of thumb, I avoid recipes with ingredients that I have to Google.  If I don’t know what it is, it means one or more of the following: it is probably a really expensive item sold in tiny quantities, it is inexpensive but sold in bulk quantities, I will never use it again, or I will have to venture to Whole Foods or a specialty store for it.

This weekend I got creative with spaghetti squash and oreos.  Don’t worry, not together.  I was on the hunt for a creative baby shower dessert and healthy meals for the week.  


IMG_20150822_182153_704

I love spaghetti squash but one little squash makes sooooo much. So much comes out of one squash that I quickly tire of the entree I made because it will last me for a whole week of lunch AND dinner.  This week I spread one spaghetti squash over three different recipes.  This took a little adjustment of ingredient quantity on my end but fortunately the math was not too difficult for the novice (terrible) cook that I am.  I started by cutting the squash in half, scrapped out the seeds, then baked for an hour on 350.

IMG_20150823_152817_410

See?! Sooooo much squash!

Recipe #1: Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms Parmesan 

Mushrooms are relatively new veggie for me in the past year.  I really don’t know what to do with mushrooms so I was pumped when I found this recipe.  I went with portabella mushrooms because I can buy those by the pound instead of the giant box of button mushrooms.  Same problem as spaghetti squash, I love button mushrooms but I never seem to see the bottom of the container.  Please don’t let the picture deceive you, it was quite tasty but my display doesn’t compare to the Pintrest visual.  

IMG_20150823_111259_373

Portabella mushroom sauteed in olive oil and garlic

Mushrooms

Recipe #2: Spaghetti and Meatballs

This one is my own “creation,” if you can call spaghetti and meatballs a creation.  Not the most complicated but an all time favorite classic in my house.  Usually the freezer is stocked with homemade meatballs and sauce, but I cooked that a couple of weeks ago.  So forgive the frozen meatballs and jar sauce but it worked for this go around and hopefully my mom whips up another batch of her amazing meatballs and sauce soon.  Definitely not ready to try that on my own.

Mushrooms

Recipe #3: Pizza

I cannot believe it worked and how delicious this came out.  This was a really ambitious recipe for me.  I was a little nervous about breaking out unfamiliar equipment, the food processor has not been my friend in the past.  And anytime I open the bag of flour it looks like a dusting of snow fell on my shirt.  It was a little time consuming so my weeknight pizza craving will have to be put on hold until the weekend, but it was worth the effort.  

IMG_20150823_161854_603

Spaghetti squash pizza dough

IMG_20150823_164807_627

Turkey pepperoni pizza

Recipe #4: Chocolate Covered Oreos

The mother to be has some pretty specific dietary restrictions but I know oreos are one of her approved dessert items.  I wanted to mix things up a bit and a couple bags of melting chocolates and decorative candies later, I ended up with a pretty fancy looking dessert plate.  This was my first attempt at a double boiler so I was really worried about botching it.  Of course I Googled first. The page cautioned several times against getting water in the chocolate.  This was mentioned so many times that I thought the boiling water was going to leap out of the pot and jump into my chocolate and destroy my dessert.  I spilled chocolate all over the kitchen.  It didn’t occur to me to move the cooling rack closer to the stove top.  Otherwise, this was a really successful dessert experience.

Double Boiler

IMG_20150822_185749_664

IMG_20150823_102553_565

Beefing up my cooking skills (haha pun intended) is super necessary because I cannot live off Cheerios, cheese plates, wine, and ice cream.  Please send me any recipes even a newcomer to the kitchen can’t botch.

Talk soon,

Joy

Hold on to your Butts… It’s Wedding Season!

Being a late twenty-something comes with many life changes, including (but not limited to) the nuptials of friends and family. There has been a definite ebb and flow to the engagements, weddings (and babies) and I LOVE love so always look forward to celebrating these big milestones.

The joke is on me however, as Gear and I have 5 weddings this season on the docket: July, August, September, October, and November. Exhausted just reading that, right?

The first were our good friends, Jackie and Jess, whose love for each other and Independence Day runs so deep that they hosted their mid-day celebration in Boston, MA on July 4th. I decided to whip out my extensions for the occasion and though they are dark auburn in color I have managed, over the years, to incorporate them into my own hair for an ombre affect:

Never underestimate the power of great hair extensions!

Never underestimate the power of great hair extensions 🙂

With my outfit I decided to take advantage of the holiday and went with my spin on red, white, and blue:

Patriotic & ready to party!

Patriotic & ready to party!

This  cerulean blue dress was a $20 Marshall’s find that I accessorized with a cream colored patent leather belt from Saver’s ($2) and a chunky coral and pink necklace ( $0 – a gift from my niece for my birthday)!

Wedding 2/5 was this past weekend in Jackson, NH. Our friends, Allison and Nick, chose the scenic White Mountains for their evening festivities. I take all factors (time of day, location, theme, etc.) into account when choosing my wedding attire and knew exactly which dress I would be wearing:

I find lace so luxurious!

I find lace so luxurious!

This Adrianna Papell navy blue & rose lace dress was a Lord & Taylor purchase (courtesy of Gear) for a swanky dinner he treated us to in celebration of a work promotion (his). I am obsessed with this dress and was excited to pull it out for this wedding. Also, not having to hunt for a dress or make a purchase is a HUGE plus!

This dress also eliminates the need for a necklace as the neckline is adorned with black and rose colored jewels:

The dress has a rose silk underlay with an intricate navy lace overlay.

The dress has a rose silk underlay with an intricate navy lace overlay.

With three bold colors already incorporated into the dress itself, I kept my earrings and rings simple in color:

Crystal beauties!

Crystal beauties!

Ring bling.

Ring bling.

The earrings were a $4 consignment shop purchase and my rings were my rose colored index finger ring from NOLA and an emerald cut crystal ring that was my grandmothers.

I also went with my trusty Franco Sarto heels that played off the black jewels in the neckline:

Franco Sarto wins again!

Franco Sarto wins again!

Here is the overall look:

The look.

The look.

The lighting wasn’t working in my favor so I snapped a few more in my favorite spot (the bathroom) at the venue:

Let's talk lace!

Let’s talk lace!

I had debated throwing in my extensions but opted to go au natural:

Short hair, don't care :)

Short hair, don’t care 🙂

I am sure glad I did as the humidity got the best of my curls shortly into the reception!

With two weddings down and three to go to I am already scouring my closet for outfit #3. It’s a mid-September ceremony in a rustic barn… I am thinking warm tones and a structured fit.

Keep a look out for more wedding buzz and good luck to those of you who are in the same boat. And remember, it could be worse…

You could be a bridesmaid…

-Alice

Contour, Highlights, and Blending …Oh My!

Ever since my sister first plucked and filled my eyebrows at the age of 15 I have developed a love for makeup and exploring different trends.

While the art of contouring* has been around for a few years and made ultra popular by the make up artists and the Kardashians, I have never really given it a try… until last night.

I was overcome with the urge to make myself a contouring queen and before I knew it I had watched three separate tutorials and found myself at CVS purchasing makeup I had never heard. The cashier ringing me up shared my grimace as the dollars racked up just over the triple digits! I said a prayer that this would all turn out and reminded myself that makeup is an investment. Right?

Here was my haul:

Product lines: Revlon, Rimmell, and Cover Girl

Product lines: Revlon, Rimmel, and Covergirl.

All together I had purchased the following:

RimmelStay Matte Foundation:HERE
Covergirl Fix Stick Concealer: Dark: HERE
Rimmel Stay Matter Powder: HERE
Revlon Photo Ready Concealer: Fair: HERE
Revlon Highlighting Palette: Bronze Glow
Revlon Photoready Skinlights: Peach Light HERE
This was the contribution from my makeup stash:
Product lines: Loreal and Revlon.

Product lines: Loreal and Revlon.

It included two lip liners, eye liner, lip gloss, mineral powder, and chapstick.

Here is a picture of me sans makeup for reference. Ignore the bee-hive up do – I needed the hair out of my face and threw it into a clip:

Alice au natural!

Alice au natural!

I first applied the Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation to my face and got to work on my dark contour lines. I was disappointed that the Covergirl Fix Stick Concealer wasn’t as dark as in the videos I had seen. If you look closely you can see the line along my cheek bone and on the side of my nose:

Hard to see contour lines & obligatory pouty face.

Hard to see contour lines & obligatory pouty face.

After blending it in, I put the Revlon Photo Ready Concealer on just as the tutorials had shown me:
Highlights for days!

Highlights for days!

One thing I learned quickly – make sure that you are putting this makeup on with a consistent source of natural light! My contouring adventure began around 7:30pm last night and I was losing daylight so it became hard to judge how much of which cream/powder to apply.

I blended the highlights into my face and then went over it entirely with my foundation brush to ensure there weren’t any harsh distinctions:

Full blend.

Full blend.

Overall I was pleased with the techniques and went into the bathroom to finish my lips and eyes to get the total effect.  Here is the big reveal:

Contour complete!

Contour complete!

Some side action!

Side action.

Not too shabby for my first try 🙂 #nofilter #florecentbathroom
Was it worth the dollars? The jury is still out. It definitely felt like I had makeup on and Gear didn’t know what to make of it all when he saw me during the application process! I am not sure I will make contouring a part of my daily routine but certainly will use for special occasions.
Luckily, Gear and I have 4 weddings coming up (starting this weekend) so I will be able to hone my skills. Overall I am just glad I didn’t end up looking like Amy Schumer’s clowny countor sister:
One thing I do know, beauty is certainly more than skin deep and confidence is key!
-Alice
*Contouring your face helps define your features, creating the appearance of higher cheekbones and a slimmer nose and chin.

BF4L

Happy National Friendship Week! My friendships are incredibly important to me. I have been friends with my groups of friends for a really long time.  My college group gets together once a month.  I see my highschool friends once a week, sometimes more especially when a birthday or special occasion arises.  I am lucky to have become close to some of my classmates from grad school. I also have a handful of random friends who I maybe met at a party, worked with briefly, took a class and we keep in touch regularly.  These different circles of people never judge when I opt for the two scoops of ice cream instead of the kiddie cone. They will actively listen as I passionately ramble about Gone Girl the book vs. the movie.  If I Gchat them nonsense during the work day they will pause their work to answer me.  We listen, share advice, divulge the nitty gritty details of our life adventures (not the glossed over version for co-workers and if you’re not giving your co-workers a glossed over version we need to talk.)  We have some entertainment, political views, fashion, hobbies in common and we have complete opposite views and interests too.

As I think more about this, I realized we have stood the test of time because we get something meaningful from each other.  While the people that have come and gone (and will come and go) it’s because the glue that held us together just wasn’t as tacky as it may have seemed when shared work space or class notes.  In my experience, friendship fading happened on its on own.  The thing we had in common like work or class ended and the communication died down on its own.  No major falling outs or anything dramatic.   

I finished graduate school three years ago.  My first year adulting was actually way more exhausting than I anticipated.  I was adapting to a new work environment where the expectations were higher.  I was an entry level employee, no longer the adorable, eager to learn intern.  I had to adjust to my budget, student loans and other financial responsibilities for real. This is it, no more fantasy hope of more money.  After my life adjustment year, I suddenly realized I had free time.  Thats right, time to do things that are fun and not related to advancing my career? Yes please.  I love my regular plans with my friends of course.  We play trivia, eat out, find random groupon activities, get waaaaay to invested in a TV show (we’ve been suffering withdrawal since True Blood ended, any suggestions?) But I realized, the flow of new people in my life really slowed down.  Until now, I always had those fringe friends I met in class or someplace that faded in and out.  Now that I achieved a sense of security and consistency in my work life, I realized my social life was also secure and consistent.  Making new, real, long lasting friendships is hard and so is finding fringe friends.  I love the security of my pack of friends, it feels really good to have those people that I undoubtedly rely on and have so much fun with.  But shaking things up a bit wouldn’t hurt.     

People have raved about their experiences with group sports leagues.  So last year I joined a kickball team.  Why not, right? Oh, I HATE sports and being competitive, that’s why not.  What was I thinking?  I ended up attending one and a half out of eight games.  The only time I came in contact with the ball was when I was up to kick and I got out every time. Is that even correct? “got out”?  I spent $75 and didn’t make any new friends.  I had two vacations planned before I signed up, so that’s two games right there.  Three games got rained out and the opposing team forfeited another game.  That half game was because I got held up at work.  I cannot say I was disappointed about all the canceled games.  Going to the gym is one thing, but I am a tried and true picked last in gym class kind of girl.  I am really glad I stepped out of my comfort zone, I needed it, but I picked something everyone else does instead of thinking about what I actually like.

This year I found my niche, I volunteer at the Museum of Fine Arts.  Most of my friends are not big on art history, so this is the perfect outlet.  I help out with the ticketing and seating at events and then I get to go to the event.  So fun! And, the other volunteers are interested too so I have someone to chat with and I don’t have drag anyone who doesn’t care about museum exhibits.

Sending lots of love to all of my wonderful friends this week, so glad to have you in my life!  You don’t have to spend beautiful Saturday afternoons at the museum with me, but you do have to listen to me rave about it!

Talk soon,

Joy