spring

Life is [hectic, but] beautiful

Where have you been all my life?!  Well, my answer lately is “working late in a deserted office” or “cleaning and organizing my apartment.”  It’s that time of year when everything speeds up, double time, and I feel like I’m standing still with the world around me whirling around me like a twister.  Despite everything going on in my life, I feel restless and an urge to clean and purge, to start anew.  It must be something about spring that just gets you going.

Life is beautiful - Jackietara blog

My most recent projects have been redecorating my outdated bathroom and creating a gallery wall above the couch in the living room.  Somehow I took on both of these projects at once.  Just a quick trip to home goods with a couple gal pals, and I was in deep.  I finally got rid of all of my navy towels, shower curtain, and bathroom accessories that I’ve had since college [it was time for them to go] and replaced them with a new sea glass motif.  Even more exciting, I got rid of our terrible “over the toilet organizer” from Target and replaced it with a hanging basket, which makes our tiny bathroom seem so much more roomy [trust me, it’s the little things]!

The gallery wall project is something that has been in the back of my mind for at least a year.  We two lonely photographs on our wall that were just begging for some company, so I watched A Beautiful Mess’ gallery wall tutorial and got to it.  I was also inspired by their DIY art collection blog post and decided to mod podge and paint an empty canvas – what a great outlet for my pent up energy!  Although these projects took up a significant part of my weekend a couple weeks ago, they made me feel incredibly accomplished.  I’m not normally that “handy,” so it was a good feeling!

I can’t say enough how happy I am it’s finally spring.  My list of projects is quickly growing [so I’m glad I got to check two off my list!] and I’m itching to be outside as much as possible.  Sunday brunching, here I come!

Jackietara

Spring To-do List

I love lists and it’s spring, so here is my to-do list for the new season!

1. Go outside!  This “task” may seem like a no-brainer, but working a 9-5 job and then some + teaching makes it hard to get outside during the day.  My goal is to be able to pry myself away from my desk for 10 minutes a day to enjoy the sunshine and get some Vitamin D.

2. “Live it up” and go to brunch.  Brunch has always been something I have viewed as a hoity-toity expensive and frivolous activity.  Having experienced brunch at District Commons and all it’s glory last weekend, I have decided that it’s actually a great way to catch up with friends after a long week, enjoy some comfort food, and have one of my favorite things in the world – mimosas.  I’m going to depart from my usual frugality and go to brunch more often, starting tomorrow ($9 bottomless mimosas at the Argonaut!).

3. Experiment with food.  Not in the Frankenstein or Flubber sense of the word, but to have more of an adventurous spirit while cooking.  Growing up with a French dad I have had it all, from escargot and pate, to venison and Cassoulet.  I am a pretty decent cook and I most certainly have an open mind when it comes to food, so I think it’s time to put the two together.  My first shot this week was making octopus salad (recipe and photos to come!).

4. Discover new music.  I have been listening to NPR’s podcast All Songs Considered a lot lately on my commute to work.  One of my favorites right now is Junip’s new song “Your Life, Your Call,” which reminds me of my best friend’s motto [in reference to all the stupid things that people do], ” it’s not my life.”  Never mind the disturbing video, the song is great.

The Flaming Lips’ new album, The Terror, will be released tomorrow, April 16!  Apparently I have an affinity for disturbing music right now, because The Terror has also been described as being “disturbing” by Wayne Coyne himself.

Another album I am anticipating is Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City.  Take a listen to “Diane Young.”

5. See the cherry blossoms.  Although, I think the storm this morning may have undermined by plans to go downtown tomorrow to see them.  This is how I feel about the situation in haiku form:

Pink and white blossoms
Disappear from the old trees
Untimely cruel storm

What are you planning on doing this spring?  Please share!

Spring Fashion on a Budget

Happy Spring!

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After painting in the grass while the boys played ultimate frisbee yesterday and enjoying a fabulous Sunday brunch at District Commons [I had the pan seared salmon cakes “benedict” and bottomless blood orange mimosas, yum] this morning, I have decided it is officially spring.

With the emergence of spring comes the necessary [and long-awaited] shedding of clothing layers plus the acquisition of new exciting pieces.  When I was out with a good friend she looked at my outfit curiously [I don’t remember exactly what I was wearing, but it must not have been too shabby] and asked, “Jackie, how do you keep your wardrobe fresh while sticking to a budget?”  This got me thinking – how do I keep my wardrobe interesting without crying every time I check my bank account?

Here are a few simple rules that I stick to when a new season comes around:

1. As you pull out your spring/summer wardrobe from under your bed to hang your favorite pieces up in your closet, take this moment to set aside anything you didn’t wear at all last season to donate.  Do not ignore this step: it’s much easier [and feels better] to make room for anything that’s new!

2. There are a lot of fun trends this season, but if you plan accordingly you can get by with just a couple of key purchases.  Here are my affordable staples for this spring/summer:

  • Bright [comfortable] flats.  As much as I love heels, I hate myself for wearing them by the end of the day.  There will be no hating myself as I sport these fun and comfy Steve Madden shoes from DSW!

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  • Simple solid dresses, like this $25 one from TJ Maxx.  I can dress it up with colorful jewelry or down with a cardi, tights, and boots.

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  • Fun studs to pair with clothes that could use some extra umph.  Check out these pretty [and cheap!] ones from the Lou Lou boutique in Annapolis.  Obviously these will go in your ears and not on plants…

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  • A chambray shirt, like the one I am wearing in the photo above.  I have been wearing this shirt silly over striped tops, dresses, even with other denim.

3. There is NO need to go crazy with buying a whole new wardrobe.  You already have clothes, and probably forgot about most of them during the winter, so it’s time to rediscover what you already have!  Some of my own favorites include these old gems:

  • A navy and white tank from Old Navy.  This season I am excited to pair it with with a hand-me-down floral skirt.
  • A black and white gingham collared shirt from Old Navy [apparently I used to shop at Old Navy a lot].  I can pair this top with bright blue skinnies from Gap or a long solid skirt.
  • A vintage pleated purple skirt from my Great Aunt.  I can wear this with a plain white tee [see what I did there?] a belt, and maybe my new flats!

4. Have fun!  Don’t be afraid to try piecing the old with the new and creating outfits you haven’t tried before.  It is a new season after all.