Looking Back On 2018 & Towards 2019

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Tomorrow is my first official day back at a regular schedule and work after a two week vacation and I’m feeling refreshed and re-energized. Something that has been a long time coming. Every year, I like to start off or end with a post that reflects on the year past and looks toward goals and dreams for the new year. Have a seat and grab a cup of coffee because I have a bit to say this year. A lot has happened personally, professionally and emotionally. While I’m on board with everyone who complained about 2018 being a terrible year, I’m also grateful for it because it gave me the kick in the ass that I needed.

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September Spotlight

September! The first unofficial days of fall. That time of year when pumpkin spice takes over even though the weather is still a roller coaster of 60 to 80 degree days. Sweaters are taken everywhere even when they’re unnecessary during the heat of the day. It’s getting really close to my favorite month of the year, October. The line-up for the now “31 Days of Halloween” on Freeform have been announced. Hocus Pocus references are EVERYWHERE and you’ll find me along with many other people in a giddy mood. It’s cool enough to work on the patio again without your laptop erupting in flames and the bugs start to disappear. It’s just a wonderful time of year because it’s the start of all the best holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. I mean, how can you not be loving the change in seasons?

**This post may include affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.**

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Finished two books over the last week which has me motivated to start adding more to my reading list…

I recently start cutting a lot of gluten and dairy out of my diet and have been scouring the internet for ideas and tips. Love these pantry staple suggestions…

All about a cozy fall wardrobe and Lauren Conrad’s new weekend line is killing it…

We got our few fall-like consecutive days which called for whipping out the pumpkin. Get cooking for the season with these recipes

Planning a trip to the northeast during fall is no picnic but photos of what the leaves look like throughout the season are giving me plenty of motivation…

Drooling over this English Country Kitchen design

For dog moms that are into essential oils, these are great tips for how to use them. I use them to help my pup with his anxiety often...

[from top left]
Beef Roast with Fall Veggies & Mashed Potatoes
Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash
Hosting a Girls’ Night In - Tapas Night
Weeknight Chicken Burrito Bowls

[from top left]
8 US Destinations for Solo Travel
9 Spots to Grab Brunch Around Chicago
A Guide to 3 Days in Boston
Hotel Indigo San Antonio Riverwalk - Checking In

Ok, I have quite a bit to share with you guys so I’ll try and keep it as brief as possible. Let’s start with A Simple Favor. I was invited to an advance screening of the movie this week and HOLY CRAP! Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick are on fire. This was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a really long time. The script was genius, the chemistry of the cast was undeniable, and it was straight up entertaining. From the previews, it’s hard to tell if the film is more of a comedy or a thriller. It’s definitely more along the lines of dark comedy with a bit of a film noir twist. Whatever you’re thinking about A Simple Favor, prepare yourself to be surprised because there is one twist after another. It almost reminded me of a Gillian Flynn novel but with a lot more humor. Blake Lively is giving off a ton of Serena Van der Woodsen vibes with her wardrobe and Anna Kendrick is as awkward as ever. I’m afraid to share any real details because I don’t want to ruin anything and it would be easy to do so. Bottom line, Dean Richards even said A Simple Favor is the movie of the weekend on WGN Radio this morning so GO SEE IT! Before the movie, a friend and I had dinner at Pinstripes in River North which is a block away from the theater. Their patio is along the river and absolutely gorgeous. We shared the Hummus and Avocado plate and both got gluten-free pepperoni pizza. AMAZING!

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Next up, I finally finished Paris Ever After by K.S.R. Burns. I will have a full review of this book coming soon but I wanted to pop a few notes in here. This book gave me a lot of feelings: anger, frustration, disbelief, nostalgia. As awful as it sounds, it's not bad though, nowhere close. It started a bit slow because she recapped a lot of what happened in this novel’s prequel which I did not read so I appreciated it. However, all that time that was spent recapping previous events caused the climax and ending to feel rushed. I loved all the descriptions of Paris though. Amy, the main character, details the feelings and smells walking down the streets in Paris vividly. The descriptions of the setting are on point and it transported me back to my favorite place in the world. It was a welcome escape whenever I picked it up to read.

Finally, I am greatly struggling with planning a fall trip to the northeast. It’s going to happen but booking accommodations has been the hardest task. I have never had such a hard time booking travel before, even last minute. So this is going to be very interesting to see how this trip turns out. I’ll keep you posted, mostly on Instagram so make sure you’re following me. If you guys are fans of country music, I’m currently listening to Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Cry Pretty,” and I’m obsessed. I’ve been a fan of hers since American Idol and it’s always fun to see what she comes out with. She’s on my concert wishlist so hopefully I can grab tickets and see her next year!

100% ready for fall weather which means I’m looking for a strong sweater game. Loving this cardigan from Banana Republic and this one from Anthropologie as well as this cute off-the-shoulder from LC by Lauren Conrad…

Speaking of fall, it’s just about time for blanket season! So excited to start whipping out all the coziness but this one might make a new addition to my collection.

This year has been a bit difficult and I’ve needed inspiration and motivation wherever I can get it. These brand new tote bags bring a huge smile to my face...

August Spotlight + Giveaway

Happy Wednesday! For those of you enjoying the peace and quiet with the kids back to school, I hope you’re having a very productive (or relaxing) day. For anyone personally going back to school, maybe it’s your final undergrad year or you’re heading off to get a phD, I wish you the best of luck and a million wonderful memories. For those of us who are aware that it’s back to school but it doesn’t necessarily affect us, here’s to another Wednesday! Crack open a bottle of wine tonight because you made it halfway through the week! Today, I’m particularly excited for this monthly spotlight because we have a giveaway! It’s been a while since I’ve ran one of these on the blog and I’m super excited because these are products I have been personally using for months. Giveaways are great but they’re even better when you have someone’s stamp of approval on the product you’re about to win. I got a little personal in my update this month because there are a few things I felt I needed to explain so bear with me and next month, I promise it will be all about what’s coming up the rest of the year!

**This post may include affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.**

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With fall around the corner, heartier salads are looking really delightful like this Steak Salad with New Potatoes

Wishing I had an Instant Pot just so I could make this

Life gone crazy? Loving these easy ideas to bring some structure and control back into life to make it less stressful…

I’ve always wanted to make homemade treats for my pups and this recipe looks like a great place to start…

Cedarwood is one of the more inexpensive essential oils and it’s so versatile. These are great ideas to use it more often…

Get the most out of your trip by taking exceptional photos. Great tips from a fellow Chicago blogger…

I can’t stop thinking about France so I’m living vicariously through other travel bloggers right now…

[from top left]
Chicken Milanese with Simple Spaghetti
Chicken Parmesan Sliders
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
Turkey Sliders with Blueberry Compote

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Has it already been a month since the last update? This year is flying by and while I’m counting down the days until fall and cooler weather, it feels like 2018 has gotten away from me. This year has been a whirlwind of one thing after the next. The first few months of this year, I split my time between the city and the suburbs which got out of control really quick. During these months, we found out that a very close family member of mine (I won’t say who for privacy reasons, maybe one day in the future) has terminal cancer. It was a difficult blow but we’ve been surviving and I’ve served as chemo buddy through this process. From February through July, every other week we’d tackle appointments and this particular commitment required me to put travel on hold. While I have plenty of travel content to share that’s built up over the last few years, my first trip for 2018 will most likely be later in fall. Some days I feel like a failure as a travel blogger but I wouldn’t take back the time I’ve been able to spend with my loved one for anything. Life sometimes hands us cards that we don’t want to play but all we can do is make the best of them.

Moving on to earlier this summer, the first week of July I had a bit of a accident and injured my face pretty bad. It required a total of five stitches and several weeks for me to lick my wounds and get my confidence back. I’ve injured myself dozens of times in my mere 27 years but not once have I done something to severely affect my appearance. I’ve healed up really well but the scars will be pretty obvious (at least to me) for a while. During the whole debacle, washing my face was a bit of a challenge. I had to use super sensitive products and had to be careful not to get any moisturizer near the wounds. Well, I’m about to give Aveeno another shout-out. Before leaving the hospital from getting stitches, the nurse ran through the dos and dont’s of caring for stitched wounds. One of them was to use a mild cleanser at which point I asked if my Aveeno gel cleanser for sensitive skin was ok. The answer? That’s perfect! During a time when it felt like everything was spinning out of control, it was a relief to not have to change at least one part of my regular routine. It’s in times of emergency that make you appreciate the small things. Earlier this year, Aveeno sent me a very large goodie box for mentioning them in one of my monthly spotlight posts and it’s been a nice little stash to supply the cabinet for a while.

With that said, I have goodies for you too! My Aveeno routine consists of the Ultra-Calming Gel Cleanser in the morning followed by the Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF. At night I use the Ultra-Calming Nourishing Night Cream after exfoliating in the shower. This particular line has become an essential part of my skincare routine and since randomly picking up the night cream at the store during the winter, I’ve noticed a HUGE difference. I can’t wait to share these products and my experience with one of you! Scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win a care package of Aveeno Ultra-Calming Goodies.

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Thinking about investing in this scalp scrub from Goop to give my hair a post-summer cleanse…

I finally made the jump to it Cosmetics’ CC Cream and I’ve been missing out. This is a three-in-one cream, sunscreen, and moisturizer and gives plenty of coverage. A little goes a long way too…

I never got those new sandals for summer but I’ve still got my eye set on these gladiators…

100% ready for sweater season but still in love with summer dresses. This fit-and-flare maxi dress has a floral print I’m obsessed with…

The prize includes:
- 1 bottle Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser
- 1 bottle Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30
- 1 package Aveeno Ultra-Calming Makeup Removing Wipes

For our full terms and conditions, click here. For our full privacy policy, please click here.
- Must be 18+ years of age
- Winner’s mailing address must be in one of the 48 continental states (we will not ship the prize to Hawaii or Alaska)
- Giveaway ENDS Thursday, August 23rd at 12AM CST


July Spotlight

We’re interrupting your regular programming schedule of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale to bring you...something different. I love a good sale but is anyone else sick of seeing a million articles and social media posts dedicated to sale items? So if you’re like me and looking for other links around the web, this post is for you! It’s time for the July spotlight and I haven’t had much time for browsing the last month so what I’m sharing had to be work my time. Translation: these links are good ones. Plus, you guys seem to be loving te Pasta Primavera recipe. It’s been the #1 viewed post for the last two weeks! If you’ve had a chance to try it, let me know. I’d love to know what you think. While everyone is more than likely enjoying the second half of their summer and heading off to one or two more vacations before it ends, I’m counting down the days until fall. Summer has been absolutely awful this year with record breaking heat and annoyance from yours truly. I can’t wait for cooler temperatures so I can wear my sweaters and booties again and start making soup and all things pumpkin.

**This post may include affiliate links. Read our full disclosure here.**

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Throwing a party this summer? Rock your outdoor party with a few entertaining tips

For those of us who would love to meal prep but die a little inside at the thought of eating salads every day all day….

Off the grid is sounding better every single day, especially when I see treehouse getaways like this…

I’m obsessed with this home and dreaming of being able to cook in the kitchen every day…

The podcast episode from Boss Girl Creative talking about overcoming your belief barriers spoke to me on a deep level. If you’re struggling with not feeling good enough or qualified enough, listen up…

I always love finding movie set locations when I travel but the first one on this list is at the time of mine. Any other LOTR fans out there...

[from top left]
Hosting a Girls’ Night In - Taco Fiesta
Hosting a Girls’ Night In - Tapas Night
Southwestern Chicken Pita Pockets
Pasta Primavera

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Hello, lovelies. It’s been a hot minute since I did a check-in, or wrote a post, or did anything productive for that matter. Truth? This weekend was the first weekend I've a minute in a while. Where to start...let’s go back, shall we? The last two weeks of June, as you might have read in the last spotlight, were fabulous yet exhausting. I had an event, meeting or something more days than I didn’t. I saw Lea Michele and Darren Criss in concert on the LMDC Tour (more on that in a second), my friends and I had dinner not once but twice, it was my birthday, oh...and I fell and split my face open in several places and needed stitches. Let’s go back and focus on the good stuff.

LMDC Tour. Holy cow, it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I had expected Lea Michele to be incredible but she is flawless when she performs. Not one note was missed or botched. Lea Michele and Darren Criss came to the historic Chicago Theater June 26th to kick off the second run of their tour. It was fun, nostalgia-filled if you're a "Gleek" and I wish I could relive that night all over again. Darren was funny and personable. These are two people I wish I could have hung out with afterwards. It was truly an incredible concert. I have my eye on a few more concerts coming to Chicago including Panic! At the Disco in February and I’d love to see Ed Sheeran in October but the stadium he’s playing at is way overpriced with tickets so we’ll see. Waitress is also on Broadway in Chicago but it’s only here for a few more days and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going to see it at this point. Believe me when I saw my heart is broken. That just means I’ll have to figure out how to get to NYC to see Katherine McPhee play the lead role instead!

Let’s talk food for a second. In those crazy two weeks, there were lots of food events. It all kicked off with a mid-week staycation at the Chicago Marriott Lincolnshire Resort with a delightful dinner at Three Embers. It was a meal to remember, that’s for sure. I also attended a Windy City Bloggers happy hour at the Metropolitan in the Sears Tower. The views of the city are incredible and the lamb sliders were to die for. Finally, I attended an event with HomeChef to get to know their chefs and learn more about the company. For example, did you know that HomeChef was started and is based here in Chicago? I didn’t! I’ll have a full post discussing HomeChef soon.

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July itself has been pretty uneventful. The fourth is pretty low-key for me, I don’t really celebrate and at the end of the week I had my accident so I’m confined to my house until I feel comfortable enough to start going to events and crowded places that are not the grocery store again. I'm using this experience as one to learn from and soon I’ll share a few more personal notes about the accident and my injuries. I’m not quite there yet and am testing out a healing method to see if it actually works. On that note, if you have any tips to help get rid of scarring, I’d really appreciate them so leave ‘em in the comments below! Until next month, stay cool and enjoy the rest of summer!

I think I finally found the new bedding for my bedroom! I’m in love with this comforter set from LC by Lauren Conrad..

The one thing I do love about summer is getting to wear super cute dresses. I’m loving this Tie-Waist Dress from Anthropologie in the floral print…

If you’re looking for a comfy t-shirt bra, I’m obsessed with the Breathe Wireless Bra from the Gap. I practically live in mine…

I really love the body positivity campaigns from Aerie and it makes me want to start supporting the company more. This Plush Zip-Up Sweater looks super comfy and perfect as the weather starts turning later this summer..

June Spotlight

Oh, June...the kick-off to summer, graduation parties, birthdays and backyard barbecues. The month where we should all be thinking about fitting into less clothing but end up eating far more than we need. It’s also the month to gather and see friends and family you might not have seen for a while. It’s a great time to catch up, check-in with the people who we might have lost touch with since Christmas. Hopefully it’s the month or leading up to a month with lots of travel planned. Nothing screams summer vacation like actually heading somewhere other than home. And for those of us who’d prefer to get away from the scorching temperatures, it’s a time to escape the heat. Regardless of what June holds for you, I hope you enjoy it and that you have something to look forward to this summer. We all deserve a little summer vacation whether we’re 5 or 50.

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Moulin Rouge is premiering on Broadway in Boston next month and I’m really trying to figure out how to get there to see Aaron Tveit as Christian

I recently looked into hotel prices for Paris on a whim and it looks like a trip might be on the horizon so I’m slowly doing research to get back sooner than anticipated (imagine a thousand exclamation points here)...

Crazy work days have been calling for regular recharging. Loving some of these oils right now…

A few personal reasons have kept me from traveling this year but the bug is very much alive and kicking. I’m trying to decide what type of trip I want to focus on for the rest of 2018…

When you’re in the process of redecorating and can’t stop looking at French country style inspiration…

Beach reads that offer you more than just entertainment...

Ready for all the food festivals this summer...

[from top left]
Blackberry Jam
Garlic Butter Tilapia with Lemon Panko Gremolata
Herb Roasted Chicken with Baby Potatoes
Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Maple Butter

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It’s been a bit uneventful lately. My day job consumed practically the entire month of May and the first week of June. That’s actually why it was pretty quiet around here. Sometimes one part of life takes over and everything else needs to take a backseat. The weekend was a nice reprieve from the insanity and I’m looking forward to another. I have a lot of fun events and plans the next few weeks that will be great to share on Instagram. Next week, I’ll be previewing a new restaurant in the Sears Tower (Willis Tower for you non-Chicagoans), having dinner at a restaurant in the north suburbs and staying overnight as well, plus my girlfriends and I have happy hour next Friday! My brain is exploding with all the Instagram opportunities and since I finally got my story highlights set up, I’m more motivated to use them.

Content for June is all about summer. We’ve got recipes to avoid heating up the house and recipes that are lighter so you don’t feel gross after dinner. There are also a few more brunch recipes I’ll be sharing and these two are just as good as the first one. The Farmer’s Market series is also starting this month which is something I’m particularly excited about. I mentioned it in last month’s spotlight as well but to recap, I’m creating a challenge for myself to use locally grown, seasonal produce more often. Each week, I’ve set a budget for the farmers market and I have to write a recipe using the ingredients that I’ve bought. The first few recipes are a bit sparing since we’re just starting to get our crops in but they’re pretty darn tasty if I may say so.

We’re in the thick of bedroom redesigns! We’ve got the main color throughout my walls and there are just a few finishing touches left. I’m really excited now that you can start to see the transformation. I still haven’t figured out what new bedspread or blinds I want though! It’s such a hard decision. I think I might just have to go to a few stores and check them out in person. I’m in the thick of Paris Ever After by K.S. Burns. I haven’t been the best reader since the last monthly spotlight but I am about 60% of the way through so I call that a success. I like it so far but the main character’s “husband” makes me crazy mad and her current inability to see how awful he is, is even more infuriating. More on that when I finally finish though. Hot Mess by Emily Belden is up next and I am really excited to read that one. I’m still hoping to see Moulin Rouge in Boston but I haven’t been able to pin down dates to make tahe trip. Lea Michele and Darren Criss are bringing the LMDC tour to The Chicago Theater later this month and I am DYING to see them as well. There are honestly so many great concerts coming up this summer, it’s hard to choose which ones to go to!

Currently in love with the Gillian and Maladee sandals from Sole Society…

*NSYNC celebrated their anniversary and now gems like this vintage tee-shirt are popping up regularly. You can even buy their albums on vinyl

I’m still obsessed with everything Magnolia by Joanna Gaines. I’ve also decided I need to start adding more serving platters and fun cutting boards to my kitchen collection...

May Spotlight

April certainly went out like a lion. From the drastic weather change to the insanity that has ensued with not just mine but so many people’s schedules, the transition from April to May has been in a word: chaotic. I won’t complain though because April was just a rough month. And again, not just for me. I know so many people who wanted to move into May barely halfway into the second week of April. Even though it’s been absolutely insanity over here, I’ll take May over April without even blinking. For starters, I’m actually getting a few days off throughout the month with a nice vacation at the end (can I get an Amen). Second, it’s the launch of the Official Lattes, Life & Luggage Shop! This is one of the projects I’ve been working on lately and it’s been killing me not to say anything. Finally, I have a lot of posts that I’ve been working on that I’m really excited about. But let’s dive into what I’ve been looking at around the web, shall we?

This post may contain affiliate/referral links. It’s a way for this site to earn advertising fees by advertising or linking to certain products and/or services.

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I recently got the Monica outfit from Fabletics and I’m obsessed. The leggings are so comfy…

Purification is one of my favorite essential oil blends and it combats even the stinkiest situations like sweaty boy clothes and wet dog…

Quality downtime is something I’ve learned to embrace recently and Katie from Entropy Organized explains why that’s important…

Who doesn’t prefer to travel on a budget. Here are four European destinations that will save you a buck or two…

And while we’re on the topic of affordable travel, here are five destinations that are ideal to visit in May...

The bookworm in me is drooling over this post. Bookshops in Paris for your next rendezvous…

And while we’re on the topic of Paris, get inspired for your spring home makeover by these ten chic and sophisticated Parisian apartments

Finally, bring more positive vibes to your day with these 5 simple shifts...

[from top left]
Chicken Milanese with Simple Spaghetti
Hosting a Girls’ Night In - Pizza Night
Hosting a Girls’ Night In - Tapas Night
Spring Green & Sausage Hash

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Besides the shop launching one week from Friday, I’ve been doing a lot of recipe writing, cooking, brainstorming, and cookbook research for lots of upcoming food content. One I’m particularly looking forward to is a Farmers Market series that will be more of a challenge than anything. It’s basically Chopped but instead of Ted Allen or Food Network producers choosing my key ingredients, the seasons and what looks good for the price will be the deciding factor. I really want to embrace seasonal cooking and support local farmers and businesses while I’m at it so I’m looking forward to making this a weekly thing.

Still on the hunt for new bedding, curtains and a car! I’d love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. As I mentioned last month, the colors we’ll be painting in my bedroom are Magnolia’s Panna Cotta with Cupola accents. I finally picked up primer this week so we can get finished soon. It’ll be nice to reorganize and truly spring clean. The car hunt is going slow but I’m thinking about going with a Jeep Cherokee or Compass. I still haven’t had a chance to look at the Renegade which is still a contender. I really like the Nissan Rogue too.

Finally, I have to update you guys on Pretty Woman The Musical and Julie & Julia! Last month, I was about to go see Pretty Woman when I wrote the April Spotlight. Now that I’ve seen it, all I can say is “GO SEE IT!” It’s amazing. It will be premiering in New York later this summer and hopefully they’ll put it on tour as well. I was honestly blown away by the entire thing. Samantha Barks is even better than what you can imagine in person. As for Julie & Julia, what a great book. I related to Julie in a lot of ways and learned a few things about Julia along the way. I’m currently reading Paris Ever After by K.S. Burns. I received this book complimentary for a book and so far so good! It’s hard for me to be upset with anything that’s based in Paris.

We made it!!! #prettywomanthemusical #prettywoman #broadwayinchicago

A post shared by Christine Marie (@lattesnlifeblog) on

In case you’re running down to the wire for Mother’s Day shopping, Target has some great ideas broken into themes and styles as well as price points…

Really in love with this dress from the LC by Lauren Conrad collection for spring…

As if I didn’t love The Gap enough already, they have these floral shirts for summer I’m in love with like this tiered ruffle off-the-shoulder design and this twist-strap cami

Is anyone else excited for Joanna Gaines’ cookbook that recently launched in April? Because I am...

10 Things Not To Say To Someone Who Works From Home

WARNING: This post is loaded with sarcasm. You have been warned.

Working from home. It’s a blessing and it’s a curse. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most other people in the world who also work from home would most likely agree. You know what all of us definitely agree on though? Not wanting to hear a few common comments that seem to slip into conversations with friends, family, and even new acquaintances. These are comments that suggest working from home is an easy life and not real work. It’s definitely not something anyone else should take us seriously for. Right? Wrong! So this post is for all you fellow work at home professionals. Keep reading and have a laugh.

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1 - Do you really work though?
Does working from the second I wake up in the morning to the second I go to sleep count as real work? If so, then yes. We really work. Just because I’m at home doesn’t mean my to-do list is any shorter than yours. In fact, it might be longer

2 - It must be nice not to have to wake up early.
What defines early? Because I’m up anywhere between 5 and 7 am every day. Unless the typical morning time has moved to 3am or something, I’m awake earlier than when I commuted to work in the city from the suburbs.

3 - It must be nice to be your own boss.
Oh yeah. Handling my own taxes, insurance, cleaning, office supply purchases, and let’s not forget being my own tech support is exactly what I had imagined when I chose the route of self-employment. Earlier this week when my computer crashed and displayed all different shades of pink and orange, I was jumping for joy because I knew exactly how to fix it.

4 - I’m so jealous, it must be so easy.
If it’s so easy then someone needs to explain what I’m doing wrong. I find myself scratching my head in contemplation a few times each day trying to problem solve. Besides, if it were easy wouldn't anyone do it?

5 - So do you ever get dressed?
What? Is this even a question? Yes, I get dressed. Some days my wardrobe is sporting a cute athleisure look and others I’m dressed to the nines. Would you be able to work in your pajamas? Is anyone productive in their pajamas? I’m not binging The Queen all day. I’m sitting at a desk emailing my life away.

6 - Since you’re home, can you (fill in the blank)...
Because I don’t have anything better to do, right? Listen, working from home doesn’t mean I have an infinitely open schedule to be a babysitter, dog sitter, errand girl, etc. It means my office is in my house. That’s all. Hire a neighbor.

7 - Why don’t you get a real job?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard this one, I wouldn’t need a job. Why is it that my office location somehow manages to discredit the actual work that I do? I don’t get it! I’m almost tempted to invite people inside to see the post-it notes all over the wall and my desk. The planners with every minute of the day scheduled and the notebooks upon notebooks of notes. Does this look like a real job to you?

8 - Must be nice…
There’s something about those three words that make your brain open up with Mount Vesuvius ready to blow. Maybe it’s the condescending tone that typically accompanies it. Or maybe it’s the insulting phrase that finishes the sentence. Needless to say, if these three words are said in my presence, get ready for either intense sarcasm or some kind of passive aggressive response.

9 - Don’t you miss people?
In what sense? Because I’m communicating with people all day and sometimes I want to shut all means of communication off. Sometimes I’ll miss human interaction but that’s what weekends and coffee shops are for. Am I right?

10 - Do you get paid much?
Ok. First of all, no one’s income is any of your business. I would NEVER ask someone who much they made at their job. Second of all, if you work from home and are self-employed, income is something that is not as steady as, say, a salaried position. So having people confront us with something that we already stress about regularly on our own just adds to the fire. Bottom line: don’t ask.

The point? If you know someone who is working from home, leave the judgement at the door. Leave the dumb questions too because they’re annoying and frankly rude. Self-employment is hard and it takes some serious guts to embark on that journey. Kudos to anyone who made it work! Instead of questioning someone on their decision or downplaying their everyday life because of their office location, ask them how it’s going and if they’ve gotten any exciting new opportunities lately. Inquire positively like you would want someone to do about your career.

New Beginnings & Reflections - Welcome 2018!

New year, new beginnings! The turn of the year is always a little bittersweet for me. Change is not something that I like and a new year screams change. It always makes me a little sad to say goodbye to the current year and move on to the next but at the same time, I also get excited for a fresh start. Needless to say, it’s complicated. I didn’t choose a word of the year for 2017 because I couldn’t commit to one. I didn’t know what I wanted for the new year, I didn’t have good feelings about the coming year and I was all sorts of confused.


I turned 26 in 2017 and all these thoughts came rushing through my brain. I felt that because I was now closer to 30, I should have so many things figured out. Where I should set down roots. What my 10-year financial plan looked like. At least one long-term relationship down on the books. I felt like I should have answers to so many questions and I didn’t. So for the better part of 2017, I was in a panic which caused me to withdraw from life. While this inner turmoil was happening, I also had a lot of stressful family issues going on and I seemed to somewhere along the way take on the role of rock for everyone. It caused me to take on this false sense of responsibility for so many things and it tore my life apart. I started slacking in my career, making mistakes that I never make. I took a long blog hiatus, turning away my passion and number one outlet for embracing my creativity and interests. I didn’t see friends hardly at all. I pushed family away. I was a very dark version of myself. It wasn’t until I visited family in Texas back in early November that I even realized any of this. Talking to a few older cousins who had a more objective perspective was integral to a much needed change in my own perspective.

Why is this important? I don’t normally share information so personal but a new year gives us all a blank slate. It gives us a chance to work on ourselves and reach for new goals. I lost track of my goals in 2017 and my personal conundrums were the reason why. I let things that I had no control over dominate my life. I let them damage relationships and negatively affect my health. I know that I am not the only one who had a rough 2017. It seemed to be a hard year for a lot of people which is why I wanted to share a little background to the reason I chose CHANGE and COMMITMENT as my not one, but two words for 2018.

I chose CHANGE because I need to stop being so resistant to life! I need to stop resisting every small decision and anomaly that comes up. For example, it took me almost two weeks to decide to move in with my best friend part time. I lost hours of sleep over the decision and there was no reason for it. I have delayed launching new things with the site because I was too afraid all of you would resist it. And it’s not personal, it’s 100% me! I am terrified of anything new. So 2018 will be half about CHANGE for me. I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate change into my life on a weekly basis to become more accepting of it, but I will figure it out.

I also chose COMMITMENT because my fear of commitment has hindered me in every single aspect of my life. I cried for a week after adopting Scooby, my new pup, because the thought of having to commit myself to the care of a living, breathing animal was terrifying. My fear of commitment coupled with my fear to change just about paralyzed me. Relationships with my family and friends may as well be non-existent. It’s not conscious but I also haven’t made a conscious effort to change it. So this year, each week I will be choosing one person whether it’s a friend or family member and I’m going to reach out to them. I’ll give them a call, shoot them a text message and see how they’re doing. If they’re local, I’ll see if they want to meet up for coffee or lunch. Relationships are vital to a healthy existence and you get what you give. So 2018 is all about committing to giving more. COMMITMENT is about more than relationships though. It’s also about committing to goals. Each month, I’ll be setting one or two larger goals for myself and following through by committing to three smaller weekly goals in order to accomplish the larger goals. These might be personal goals, work goals or side hustle goals. Whatever the goal, I am committing to it and embracing the change that comes with it.

My two largest fears are CHANGE and COMMITMENT. Those fears have held me back in so many ways it makes me regretful thinking of the time I’ve wasted. I want to stop the regret this year and learn to embrace the curveballs in life. I’m going to stop giving myself a false sense of responsibility to the things that are out of my control and instead commit to my own goals, my own success, and my own relationships. If that means I have to ride out a few changes, so be it. It’s the year of the dog and I am a dog lover. That has to give me an edge to conquer 2018. Right?

Tell me about your word or words for 2018. What made you choose them and how did 2017 affect your decision?