Sunday, January 26, 2014

Under Armour

I’ve decided to become a runner.

Okay, not really.  I’m terrible with running.  I ran a 5k once, and it was actually kind of awful.  I’m not a person who runs and loves it and thinks the hard work was worth it, no pain no gain type.  While I’m running, I hate that I’m running.  When I’m done running, I hate that I ran.  There really isn’t any silver lining in the thing for me.

But I bought this Under Armour and now I just want to run in it.  It’s lightweight and comfortable, but keeps me warm.  The color is gorgeous, the fit is perfect, and I love the thumbholes in the sleeves.  I’ve always envied people on campus who wear their workout-wear with thumbholes, and now I finally have one.  I love the pattern backing behind the zipper as well.  Also, there’s a side zipper pocket that reaches behind instead of in the front.  So instead of keys or a phone or cash bulging in front, they bulge in back, which I decided is infinitely cooler.  Also, mine is blue, but not available online anymore.  But you can get yours in pink or black here, or just find something similar because I feel like it will still make you want to be a runner!

I’m not actually going to become a runner.  But I want to be, because that’s how great this Under Armour is and makes me feel.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

apologies & things.

guys.  GUYS.  I am the absolute worst.  I was in laying in bed on Thursday night when I realized it was Thursday.  I had gone the ENTIRE day thinking that it was Wednesday.

And then yesterday (Friday) was so hectic, I couldn't even do a Things I Love Thursday (on Friday).  Terrible, I know.  The start of the semester was far more exhausting and time-consuming than I thought it would be.  I could have stayed up late either of the nights to crank out the post and publish it, but then I realized something.  I don't want to post Things I Love Thursdays anymore.  When I sit down to write each list, I want to keep writing about each thing.  I want to share more about it with you, or I feel like I just picked something to write about.  When I do Things I Love Thursdays, it's stressful.  I know I said last week that I loved them and they were forcing me to think and challenge myself, but to be honest it was stressful.  It was hurting my creativity and I found myself getting stressed to blog.

I've started blogs in the past and this is the first time I've fallen in love with one.  It's true, what they say, that to be a good writer or to fall in love with writing, you need to keep writing.  Totally and completely true.

I'm not quitting because I think it's hard.  I'm taking a break from Things I Love Thursday because I'm finding I have more to write about than little blurbs about things once a week.  Yeah, I'm thinking of new content to write, but the things I'm writing little blurbs about could be bigger and beautiful, and I deserve the chance to write that.  You deserve the chance to read it.

So for now, I'm taking a break.  It could be a New Kids on the Block break, or a never return to it again NSync break.  But I can tell you that I will keep posting content, and I will give every post my all, instead of half-trying, which was what was happening.

Hope you love it, there's lots of new things coming.


xx Taylor

Monday, January 20, 2014

Carnaval Brazilian Grill

Over the holidays, I went to dinner with my family at Carnaval Brazilian Grill about an hour away from my hometown.  I had been to a Brazilian grill before, and I was so excited to go again.  The last time I went, I had to unzip my dress to sit in the car; this time I had to take my tights off in the bathroom.  I wish I could say I was kidding, but I most definitely am not.  The food there is so good, no sane person can eat there and NOT bloat.

We went to celebrate my Mom's birthday, but it was exciting as well because we brought our Brazilian foreign exchange student.  Ethel was in heaven from the moment we walked through the door.  They were playing one of her favorite Brazilian songs, they had Brazilian soda, the most amazing Brazilian meat (Picanha), and Ethel was able to speak Portuguese with a couple of our servers.  But of course they had all of these - it was a Brazilian Steakhouse after all.

It was such a blast to go out with the family.  Mom, Ethel, and I all ordered the Guarnana to drink, and it was delicious.  It isn't as carbonated as American soda, but mmm it was tasty.  We all laughed together as I tried to pronounce the signature beef - Picanha - because it took quite awhile for me to get a nasal "a" sound down.  Or something, haha.  It was such a wonderful time, and I find myself going back to it in my head as the start of the semester begins today.



The cinnamon grilled pineapple? Um, delicious.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

money money money.

money truths

Money is my least favorite topic of conversation.  No joke.  The year I turned 16 and got my car, my dad made me sit down with him, multiple times, to talk about money.  My stomach would churn and I'd feel nauseous, because conversations about money make me anxious.  Insanely anxious.  The summer before I left for my first year of college, I sat down with him and had money conversations again, and it was absolutely awful.  Awful.  Looking back, I'm glad that he made me have those conversations.  It has given me the ability to breathe through the churning in my stomach and talk to my parents or to Nathan when there is a financial issue in my life.  It is giving me the ability to breathe through it all, and share my money truths with you.

I recently sat down, spent about 7 hours on it total, and itemized every transaction and transfer I've made in the last 18 months to the best of my knowledge using  It was awful.  When that was done, there were graphs and charts showing how much I've spent and saved and mostly spent.  It was incredibly terrifying and induced hella stomachaches, but it was more helpful than I imagined.  Seeing each transaction was hard.  Really hard.  I'm not sharing all of my details with you, but I spent over $1500 at Target in those 18 months.  To some people, it may not seem like a lot, but to a twentysomething college student, it definitely is.  I get most of my groceries and home supplies at Target, so the spending could be much higher, but it still felt like I got walloped in the stomach with a baseball bat when I first saw that number.

I make a couple bucks over minimum wage, averaging about 15 hours a week when I'm in school.  It doesn't pay for much, barely covers rent and bills, so like many of my peers, I have to take out loans.  Taking out loans is terrifying, if you didn't know that already.

It's pretty obvious that I don't like money.  I don't like discussions about money, or looking at anything with dollar signs.  Yet, here I am, writing hundreds of words about it.  Ugh, growing up.

I'm making a pride bet, of sorts, with myself and the internet right now.  I'm vowing to be more honest with myself and others about money.  I'm the type to spend a few bucks on lunch, and ignore it.  I justify every purchase to stop feeling guilty, and I'm going to stop that now as well.  And believing that cash is invisible money?  Done.  I'm vowing to be smarter with my money right now.

To some people, it might seem like an easy promise.  With anxiety and depression, I often find myself buying something to make me feel better.  Not huge purchases, just something under $5 or $10, but they are the purchases that add up.  If I feel that way twice a week, it's $10 or $20 from my account that I'm taking, that I shouldn't be taking.  It's the $10 or $20 I don't have when someone invites me to lunch or wants to get coffee.  Those are the purchases I need to stop making.

Another truth is that I'm not good with budgets.  Not good at all with budgets.  If I'm low on one budget and high on the other, I just cancel it out in my head.  But apparently, it's not smart.  It gets me in trouble.  So instead, I'm creating situational rules.  No buying food unless I'm sitting down to eat with another person to catch up.  Not getting coffee unless I'm meeting up with someone.  I implemented those two rules in November, and they've worked extremely well for me so far, so if budgets don't work for you, try creating rules. has been an invaluable source as I've been re-accustoming myself with my finances.  Every night, I'm going to take five minutes to look at it and itemize my transactions and look at my spending over time.  Five minutes.  I can do that as I sit on the bus on my way to class, while I wait for class to start, or while I procrastinate from homework (ha!).  It's an app on my iPhone and iPad for goodness sake!

When I get loan money, I stick it into my savings account and take it out for rent.  My goal is to put in as much as I take out over time, so that by the end of the year, I still have money in my savings.  It's going to be tough, as I'm definitely spending more than I make with rent and bills alone, but I will get it done.  I don't exactly know how, but I will.

This is the year that I face my fear of finances and dollar signs head on.

What are you facing head on?

Friday, January 17, 2014

my real self.

Inspired by TheCollegePrepster's post on the same topic, I'm presenting to the internet my Real Self.  I didn't think I would be as nervous as I am to post this.  So here it goes.

I have anxiety and depression.
I constantly feel like I'm not doing enough.
I truly do not like college and cannot wait to be done.
I could read Harry Potter and nothing else for the rest of my life.
I wish I didn't have dry lips.
I'm not as grateful for my hair color as I should be.
I am terribly clumsy, but afraid of the doctor.
I struggle with being an extrovert or introvert.
I'm a recovering chronic liar.

There are things in my life I'm not proud.  There are things in my life I'm incredibly proud of.  I watch too much television and I see worlds and lives that are created and unrealistically portrayed and I hold my life to unrealistic expectations.  I hold myself to unrealistic expectations.  Everyone does, society does, but there is just something about seeing it printed out that really cements it into my head.  My entire life, I have felt like all I do is disappoint.  That feeling has been a huge wall for me to climb as I battle depression and anxiety.  Accepting anxiety has been a wall - I didn't even know I had an anxiety disorder until I was being treated for depression.  I'm battling with who my real self is, as everyone is.  There are walls to climb and break down throughout life.  Feelings of disappointment and anxiety and fear - but it's part of life.  It is so cliche to say it, but sometimes it has to be said.

Here is my real self.  Fresh out of the shower, frizzy hair, dry skin, red spots, bags under the eyes.  I didn't even apply an Instagram filter.  This is me.

photo 1

Now tell me about you.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Things I Love Thursday

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Mm well, it is Thursday again.  Last Thursday before I start spring semester, and there are a few things I'm loving this week.  These posts are both a joy and a burden each week.  Trying not to repeat myself, but also challenging myself to come up with a few things to share with you each week can take its toll on the head.  This week wasn't terribly difficult, luckily, ha.

- Chino Latino
A delicious restaurant in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, I was able to go join a friend in celebration of her twenty-first birthday.  I'm normally not a huge fan of Latin food, and I'm pretty standard when it comes to Chinese, but the two times I've gone to Chino Latino I have had no problem finding something (or some things!) that I want to try on their menu.  I got the chicken potstickers, and Nathan got the empanadas.  Chinos also have an ahmazing bar if you're looking for a place to get drinks!

- Hummus
I don't like chick peas.  I don't like garbanzo beans.  But somehow, for some reason, I've decided I like hummus.  SO WEIRD.  For the longest time, I couldn't stand the taste or the gritty texture.  I was in Target the other day with Nathan and he stopped to look at the hummus to get himself a snack.  For some reason, I also looked at the hummus and was all "oh hey, hummus sounds good, let's get some hummus, yum yum yum".  And here I sit.  Eating hummus.  Yum yum weirdly yum.

- Pride Bets
There's something about pride bets that I love.  There are always the bets for a dollar, or dinner, or a beer, but there is something about making a bet with yourself and telling the world about it that makes it so much better.  I went out for McDonald's with Steph earlier in the week, felt guilty for getting McDonald's and spending money and not being healthy, and I decided that until the semester was over - no McDonald's.  I told Nathan, who is proud but has doubts, and now I'm not only proving him wrong, but myself wrong.  And it is kind of an awesome feeling.  Try it sometime.

- Lip Stain
I love lip color, but have always found problems with every medium I've tried; lipstick dries out my lips, lip gloss is sticky, balm is messy, etc etc.  I tried a lip stain from e.l.f. and was mostly pleased with it.  Unfortunately, it dried out insanely fast - I was only able to use it 2 or 3 times before it dried out completely, which was a bummer.  Anyone have recommendations for a lip product that they've used and loved?  Tell me about it!

- Oscar Nominations
As I've mentioned, I LOVE award season, especially the Oscars.  Well, the nominees are up today and I'm mostly pleased.  Inside Llewyn Davis got completely snubbed, which is a shame, because I loved that movie.  I'm getting seriously excited for the presentation.  Nathan and I are starting our second annual Oscar Picture ballot, which is when we watch every movie nominated for Best Picture, and then try to watch as many more of the highly nominated movies as we can.  We have seen 2 out of 9 so far, and have 6 weeks to watch 7 of them.  So pumped.

What's on your radar?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Globes

My favorite season is the one between winter and spring.  It's called award season.  It lasts only a few months, but it is the most glorious time of the year.  During every show, I'm either furiously tweeting, shushing the person next to me, squealing with glee, or getting very upset with various upsets.  I would love to be a correspondent on the red carpet, reporting on the award shows, or even one day produce the broadcast.  My undergrad thesis was about award shows (and other things but still).  There's the introduction.  I love award shows.

Anyways. I watched the Golden Globes last night with Nathan and definitely had mixed emotions throughout.  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting for the second time was phenomenal, as was expected, and I'm so excited for their third round next year.  Their opening monologue was great, as were all their other bits.  The "there's a special place in hell for you" comment Tina made when Amy won her award was a subtle reference to last year's TSwift debacle.  I, for one, found it hilarious.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jacqueline Bisset won the first two awards and gave two very different speeches (Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy/Musical for American Hustle and Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for Dancing on the Edge, respectively).  Lawrence was gracious and shocked, as per her award speeches, and shared an anecdote about her experience with David O. Russell.  Russell directed Lawrence in her previous film, Silver Linings Playbook (which I loved), and the one she is currently gaining accolades for, American Hustle.  As usual, I was smiling when she finished.  Bisset followed and it was, as many have already pointed out, extremely awkward.  It took her a lengthy amount of time to get to the stage, though her double-back to Jon Voigt was adorable and made my heart squeal.  When she finally did, she was in complete awe of her award and it showed in her scattered acceptance.

To be honest, I found Bisset refreshing.  I know it's the unpopular opinion, but it is refreshing to see celebrities as real people.  Yes, she was up there in a gown that could probably pay for my college education, at an event that is wonderfully and abhorrently frivolous, but she was bumbling and stumbling and showing complete and utter shock.  Real shock, real graciousness.  It was beautiful.

Amy Adams, Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for American Hustle, talking over the cut-off music, delivered my favorite line of the night.  She said she wouldn't be stopped from talking about her daughter and that her daughter has taught her to "accept joy and let go of fear".  It's really had me thinking lately, and it is definitely something that will stick with me.

There were notable awards that I loved: Jon Voigt, winning Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television for Ray Donovan, Andy Samberg winning Best Actor in a Television Series Comedy or Musical, Amy Poehler winning Best Actress in a Television Series Comedy or Musical, and their were upsets that upset me that I won't take the time to rant about.  But I do need to see Dallas Buyers Club because apparently it's better than anyone guessed (ahem).

Aside from the awards, there is the fashion of course.  Aubrey Plaza won my heart for favorite look, but you can find almost every look here.


Huffington Post hated her look, but apparently I'm the Queen of unpopular opinions of the 2014 Golden Globes.

Did you watch the show?  What did you think?

Thursday, January 9, 2014


As I mentioned on Things I Love Thursday, I did a little re-organizing.  I have a tiny apartment, and an even teeny-tinier bedroom.  Space is definitely limited and I do what I can to utilize every bit of it.

If I'm not sitting at my desk or the kitchen table doing work, I'm usually found sitting in my bed watching Netflix, crocheting, iPadding, etc., or on the couch in the living room doing the same.  The living room was optimal for awhile, until my roommate needed to take her TV back from the living room.  Then it got silent.  It sounds dumb, but I love Netflix.  I love watching movies and TV shows - I listen to Pandora sometimes, so I'm not totally lazy (guarantee Nathan is rolling his eyes right now).  Anyways.  Once the TV in the living room was gone, I could only watch something if I was sitting on my bed (unless I used my computer, but a television is better, come on).  This was a problem I needed to solve.

It took a little thinking, and a lot of rearranging, but I managed to fit my favorite, old, yellow chair into my room.  It sits right up against my bed, and is just out of arms reach of my door, but I love it.  I've had this chair since the fifth grade.  When my family moved into our house, this chair had been left in one of the rooms.  I refused to let my mom throw it away, and I've kept it with me ever since; it appeared in my senior pictures, and it has fitted in to every residence I've ever had.  My parents are definitely sick of hauling this chair around, and they're so glad I'm not living in the dorms anymore.  When I was there, this chair would be brought to college, tried to be fit into my living arrangement, and then usually packed back up and brought home.

I managed to get rid of and pack up two tubs worth of stuff and throw another tub worth of stuff away.  I KNOW.  I HAVE A LOT OF STUFF.  The point is, after deep cleaning, I managed to fit my beloved yellow chair into my room and it is perfect.  My roommate let me use one of her tiny blue tables and it fits perfectly next to my chair, under my Kissing the War Goodbye poster print.  Officially my new favorite place to hang out.

What do you think? What is your favorite spot?

Things I Love Thursday & an announcement!


It's Thursday again loves!  It's been a long day today... One of those days where it started bad (contact in eye and eye hives rejecting contact), and didn't really get any better (extended hours, missed busses, no busses, etc).  This is coming later than normal because I decided to come home and just take a few hours for myself.  It was much needed.  Made some tea and dinner, worked on some projects, and it was a just a nice break.  So, without further ado, here is what I'm loving this week...

- Re-organizing
I'm going to be doing a more in-depth post on this soon, but re-organizing is definitely something that has kept me sane so far this year.  Yes, all nine days of it!  I live in a tiny apartment, with a tiny bedroom.  Long story short, I was finally able to move my favorite yellow chair into my room and it is heaven.  It's where I've camped out for my mind break, and it is where I find myself a lot lately.  All because of re-organizing.  So bring on the new year, and make a new arrangement!  If you don't believe me, Yahoo has an article about it being beneficial to back me up.

- Emergen C
If you clink the link above, you can get a free sample!  Not even spamming, just true.  I get sick ALL THE TIME.  To stay on top of my game, I take two of these packets every day that I'm feeling under the weather.  And then for a few more days after that.  If I cough too much, I've been known to have one.  The Raspberry flavor is my favorite, but sometimes the fizzy-ness is still a little too much.  I cut it with lemonade, sometimes 7-up/Sprite/Ginger Ale/Sierra Mist, whatever I have on hand.  It's on my list this week because, you guessed it, I'm sick.  So drink up.

- Bow Belt
Courtesy of Madewell, this bow belt is ADORABLE.  Nathan gave it to me for Christmas and it is the first fashionable belt I've ever owned that actually holds my pants up.

- 24 Invaluable SkillsBuzzfeed created a list of 24 Invaluable Skills you can learn online.  The best part of the list is that they're all skills that you can also learn for free.  I myself use Duolingo (number 6 on the list) and I can promise that I will be doing as many of these as I can this year!

- Announcement!
I've been loving Christmas break because it's given me time to work on things that are "me" centered.  I'm working on a new creative outlet that I've never really done before, and I am LOVING it.  I haven't figured out the best way to share it with everyone yet, but as soon as I figure it out, you all will be the first to know!

What's on your list!?

Monday, January 6, 2014

the Book Thief

I can't even begin to tell you.  I started reading the Book Thief after Christmas and finally finished it.  I've heard about it for months, probably years if I think hard about it, and I caved.  The movie is coming out, a couple close friends had read it, and I'm going to do my best right now to tell you what I thought without giving it away.

According to my iBooks, it's 476 pages.  If you're looking for a light and quick read, this isn't it.  For light and quick, read Regis' memoir.  The Book Thief is about a young girl in Nazi Germany, and it's narrated by Death.  Zusack writes it beautifully.  I just texted one of my friends that it was haunting and beautiful and emotional all at the same time.

While following a mostly linear plot, Death lets the audience in on a few secrets here and there, giving us sneaks of different endings.  I cried multiple times.  Anyways.

Throughout the story, we learn about the relationship between main character Liesel and her foster parents, the Hubermann's, Liesel and Rudy, and the part that Jewish man Max plays in their lives.

Everything I want to say about the Book Thief is essentially a spoiler.  I'm clearly really bad at book reviewing, so I figure it's good that that's not what I want to spend my life doing.  Here's what I have to say.  This book is beautiful.  The love that is displayed in this novel is heart-achingly written and able to be imagined.  To quote Death, "it makes my heart hurt".  The history of World War II is weaved through the characters' lives and laid on the pages.  Death speaks of it in numbers lost, and I'm just reminded again of what an event the Holocaust was.  I'm going to be done raving.  Just read it.

What have you been reading?  I'd love to hear.  Especially if it's so good you can't even gush properly.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

things I love Thursday

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Another Thursday, another collection of the things I'm loving this week!  It's exciting, because this one is the first Things I Love Thursday of the new year!  Yay for 2014!

Did you all have a good holiday? I hope so.  Holidays are officially over until Valentine's Day, which means I definitely hate all the snow.  If you're familiar with Minnesota, you know that it is a pointless hate, as the snowiest months are yet to come.  All that aside, let's talk about what I love.

- Cafe Caramel K-Cups
Mm, my mother got me these for Christmas and they are di-vine.  I'm normally a cream in my coffee type of girl, but this has all the flavor and smoothness without even touching the CoffeeMate.  It's my favorite go-to for coffee in the morning, especially if I'm feeling special and creative and peppy, but I am doing my best to ration it - I only have 18!

- Life Less Bullshit - Products, Workshops, & Coaching (oh my!)
A long time reader of Nicole's, there has never been something she's written that I haven't loved.  She flawlessly wrote about mental illness, and challenges of becoming alcohol and sugar free, and switching to a plant-based diet.  Not only does she write openly and honestly about these insane life overhauls, she offers her tips and tricks to her readers.  I'm in love with her 15-Step Bullshit-Free Goal-Setting Formula and its honest approach to life in general.  DO IT.  If there's one thing you do for yourself for the start of the year, do this.

- Old Spice Mom Song
YES YES YES.  I saw this and died with laughter.  I love it more than the Old Spice Man.  I love everything about it. I don't even have words to describe it.

UPDATED: Found the video online, so here it is!

- Thirty-One Bags
These are huge in SW Minnesota, and I'm in love with them.  (A few family friends are brand representatives for the company, so let me know if you want a link to order!)  My mom literally shopped on her phone during an insane holiday sale they had.  For my not-so tech-savvy mother, that is absolutely insane, but clearly totally worth it.  I use my Retro Metro Weekender  (in the now unavailable Party Punch) and the Organizing Utility Tote (in Spirit Maroon with my monogram in gold - go Gophers!) ALL THE TIME.  The Weekender is not only perfect for overnights, but I also have taken it on week-long trips.  There's a separate shoulder strap you can purchase for it, though it isn't something I've picked up yet.  The Organizing Tote is something I use for quick overnights and occasionally for class.  There's nifty pockets and the straps are the perfect length to sling it over my shoulder like my Longchamp.  A little small for my laptop, but the perfect size for my iPad, a notebook, and some folders.  Definitely worth it.

What are you loving this week?