ModCloth Stylish Surprise Sale

The first time I heard about ModCloth was actually because a classmate in college asked me if I bought all my clothes from their site. I have a pretty particular sense of style, so the thought of a site that sold clothing that looked just like the clothes in my closet seemed a little too good to be true. Nevertheless, after class I ran straight home to see if it could possibly be true. Could there actually be a collection of clothing out there that perfectly matched my individual style? If this were true, I wouldn’t have to waste hours digging through stores to find one acceptable article of clothing to take home with me.

I found their site, and immediately fell in love.

Honestly, I could imagine just about every dress and skirt as a part of my day to day wardrobe. Ever since I discovered ModCloth, I’ve always yearned for their merchandise. I love going onto their website and drooling over all the unique and vintage clothes.

However, despite my adoration of everything on their site, I’ve never actually bought anything from ModCloth until about a week ago.

That’s right. I have been a secret admirer of ModCloth for over two years, but I’ve only just now been able to partake in buying their product.

You may be asking yourself, “Well if you like ModCloth so much, why has it taken you this long to buy from them?”

Great question! Luckily the answer is very simple.

ModCloth is always very pricy.

Maybe I’m just spoiled, because the clothing prices in this area of Wisconsin are incredibly low, but I never pay more than $20 for a dress. Ever. And I’m not talking cheap, tacky dresses from Walmart either. I’m talking in season, on trend, quality brand name dresses.

So ModCloth boasting about their clearance dresses starting as low as $60, doesn’t really do much for me.

But at last, I found the one opportunity there is for affordable ModCloth clothing!

Their twice a year stylish surprise sale is perfect for bargain shoppers like me.

Basically how it works is you pick a category of clothing you are interested in, pay between $10-$20 depending on the category you select, and then they send a surprise item from that category right to your door. It’s pretty snazzy.

I’ve heard people say that they aren’t willing to take that big of a gamble on what they might get, but I love just about everything on ModCloth so much, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity. I bought a stylish surprise dress for $20 and a stylish surprise bottom for $15. I even got 20% off my order for being a new customer!

I eagerly anticipated my order all week. Which gorgeous ModCloth dress would I get? A print? A classic A-line? Would I be lucky enough to receive a midi skirt or would I be stuck with lame shorts?

After much anticipation, my package arrived.

 

Here’s what I got:

Let’s just say… not exactly what I was envisioning.

The dress is okay. I’m not sure where or when someone would wear a dress like this. I feel like I would only feel comfortable wearing this out in public if I were gardening, going to a farmers’ market, or eating a picnic by a lake. Not to mention the fact that with all the buttons, it takes like three hours to put on. ( I exaggerate, but you get the point.)

IMG_3004.JPGIn all fairness though, it is really cute. I like the pin tuck pleats, and the embroidery is gorgeous. And I must say, the buttons, despite the obstacle they present, are damn pretty. Perhaps when summer rolls back around I’ll be so swept up with the bliss of the warmer weather that I’ll feel inclined to wear a garden ready ensemble.

 

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On the other hand the capris… not quite as satisfied. These are the weirdest pair of pants I have ever put on my body. They fit well, and they are comfortable, but they are bizarre.

They are made out of a navy blue fabric, but have huge panels of elastic on the sides of the waist. There is no fly, no zipper, and no buttons whatsoever. You put them on like a pair of leggings.

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I think these “jeans” have taken the term jegging to the next level. They are labeled as jeans, but there is no way in hell I would call this denim.

They are high-waisted and seem to be designed to mimic pinup girl pants. Ideally they would be worn with a tucked in shirt. This would be fine and dandy with me if they didn’t also have huge panels of differently colored elastic. Over my dead body would I tuck in my shirt to show off the fact that my pants have more elastic that any pair of sweatpants.

 

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I do think I could wear these out with a longer shirt. One so long that no one would realize that the front seam of these pants just keeps on going. But in all honestly, at least in this part of the globe, there are usually only three days a year when I deem the weather to be mild enough to justify wearing capris, so I have a feeling it is going to be a bit of a non-issue.

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Am I thrilled with this experience with ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise sale? Simply put: No. The pieces I received were beyond unique, and almost verging upon the impractical.

Will I participate in this sale again? Definitely.

I probably should have known better than to order from ModCloth’s fall Stylish Surprise Sale. These twice a year sales are used to sell off all the unsold merchandise from the season before. In all honestly, I like ModCloth’s fall/winter stuff way more than I like most of their summer/spring attire. I think I’ll have better luck in their Spring sale.

Would you ever participate in a sale like this? Have you done so before? Share in the comments below!

 

 

Short Hair; Don’t Care

People and bots of the internet, I have had a revelation!

For the first time in my life, I found a salon that I actually like.

It’s called Hachi, and I honestly cannot find a single flaw with it. It’s nestled right in the heart of downtown Madison. It has flexible scheduling with weekend and evening appointments all able to be scheduled at your convenience online. Did I mention that they even take walk-ins? I had to schedule at least two weeks out at my last salon in Green Bay, and even that wasn’t enough notice for them sometimes. With Hachi, I could schedule an appointment for tomorrow, any time of day. This is super helpful, because I’m the type of person who just looks in the mirror one morning and goes, “When did my hair get so long? I need a haircut NOW!”

Also, this place charges by the length of your hair. No longer will I have to pay more based solely off my gender! There is no reason I should have to pay the same price for my buzz and trim as a girl with over a foot of hair hanging from her scalp. The level of skill and amount of time necessary to cut my hair is way closer to that of a short haired man than that of a long haired woman as a general rule of thumb.

I paid almost half of what I used to pay going to “fancy” salons in Green Bay and Madison. And for how much more I paid, I did not get a better haircut at those places. It’s so hard to find someone who actually knows how to do a pixie cut. I can’t tell you how many times a stylist has given me a men’s haircut and tried to pass it off as a pixie. PSA of the day: NOT ALL SHORT HAIRCUTS ARE THE SAME. There are some important distinctions between a men’s haircut and a pixie. Namely, a pixie cut is supposed to be at least slightly feminine.

My last stylist didn’t understand me at all. Whenever I requested a shorter, edgier cut, she would tell me no! She would refuse to cut my hair the way I wanted, and insist that “we were going it out.”

I don’t know what she was doing, but I had no intentions of growing out my hair.

My new stylist, Aislinn, knew exactly what kind of style I wanted without me having to tell her hardly anything. She just gets me.

Even though my hair was ridiculously overgrown and shaggy, she whipped out the clippers and went to town. She buzzed the sides of my head, but left just enough length on top for a super cute, texturized burst of pixie cut wonder.

Moreover, she faded the sides and accented my new do with some delicately pointed details trimmed into my sideburns and my nape.

Here’s a picture that showcases the side view of my hair and features everyone’s favorite kitty, Charlie.

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Sorry it’s a weird shot. It’s really hard to selfie with your cat when he’s on top of the fridge. Trust me, this is the best shot I had of the two of us.

My haircut is gorgeous. That’s something I haven’t been able to say for a long time.

It’s fun, funky, interesting, and easy to style. With my baby fine hair, all too often my hair will only looks right if it lays exactly like the stylist cut it. But with this, I can play with it, muss it up, drive with the windows down, who cares! Now my hair always ends up looking at least somewhat presentable.

Not to mention the fact that I have finally found someone who can cut hair as adventurously as I’m willing to wear it! The entire time Aislinn was cutting my hair, she was telling me all about how much she would LOVE to shave a design into my hair. We pro-and-coned types of designs, shading vs. outlines, side vs. back of head designs, length of time between trims with design vs. without. Let’s just say after over a half an hour talking shop about this, I will definitely be getting a design shaved into the back of my head in the near future.

What do y’all think? Have shaved designs already trended out of style? Should I give a flying fuck if they have? Which of the three inspiration pics I have below do you like the best? Please comment your thoughts by clicking above!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Jake!!!

For Jake’s birthday we went out to Monty’s Blue Plate Diner in Madison. Jake told me he just wanted a simple lunch date to celebrate his birthday and he got it. It’s a super cute, old-school diner that serves gravy slathered breakfasts all day long. It’s got that classic, vintage, midwestern diner feel that Jake and I both love. Jake ordered the Meatloaf of the Gods, complete with a heaping helping of mashed potatoes and gravy (his favorite), and a biscuit (which I had the pleasure of eating). I enjoyed a bacon breakfast sandwich with a generous smear of goat cheese and a side of American potatoes.

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Once we got back, Jake and I made brownies. (Box mix of course. Who do you think we are Martha Stewart?) I was just about to put them in the oven when Jake had a stroke of genius and forced me to put them back on the counter. He fetched my jar of nutella from my breakfast shelf, (yes, I have a breakfast self) and ladled the remaining chocolatey, nutty goodness on top of the brownie batter. They turned out phenomenally, obviously.

After lunch and desert, it was finally time for presents. Jake unwrapped a Destiny 2 Pop figurine, a guitar stand, and best for last… drumroll please… seriously I expect you to pat your lap vigorously… I promise it’ll be worth… please just trust me… fine I’ll tell you anyway: a kitty backpack! Now I know what you’re imagining, an adorable mini backpack worn by a kitty, and while that would be even cuter than what I got for Jake, it would not be nearly as cool.

This is a backpack kitty carrier. Charlie goes in. The backpack goes on my back. And all of a sudden kitty can go anywhere. I’ve already taken Charlie on several walks this week to train him to like being carried in the backpack before I gave it to Jake, (let’s be real, I just wanted an excuse to try it out for myself) and let me just say, it’s the bees knees.

It’s designed ridiculously well. It has large breathing holes so I can stick my fingers in to pet or play with the cat or for him to reach out to play with me. It also has mesh panels on the side so Charlie can see out even when he’s lying down. Also, there is a plastic bubble where Charlie can look out into the world.

Basically this is the coolest thing ever.

Jake immediately wanted to take Charlie out for a walk, and there was no way in the world I was going to pass that up. We hit the pavement, Jake, Charlie voyaging on his back, and myself walking a half-step behind trying to document every adorable second of it.

However, I’m still getting the hang of using Jake’s camera, and it turns out it doesn’t take pictures very easily outside. When I got back home and looked at my photos, and every single one was blown out garbage. See?

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This picture would have been perfect! Perfect!
Jake tried to show me what settings on the camera would have prevented this unfortunate series of washed out photos, but during his lesson the camera ran out of charge. Like any rational person, I started rooting around in the camera bag for the charger. Nowhere to be found. Jake tried to explain that the charger got separated from the camera when he moved to Madison, because the camera was already in the car, but the charger was still inside on the day of the move. So for nine months the charger and the camera were on opposite sides of the state. I still don’t understand why they were separated in the first place, but I digress.

We went to our downstair storage unit to dig through Jake’s hoards of salvaged wires, random computer parts, vintage video games, and the largest, most tangled mass of electronics cables you can possibly imagine.

We dug through all the bins, but alas no cable. (Well, not the cable we were looking for anyway.) We did find the battery charging dock, but without the cable itself, it’s pretty useless.

So for now I’m back to stealing Jake’s camera phone, but here are some pictures of Charlie enjoying his time outside.

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He looks like a tiny astronaut!!!!!!!

Yes, I know my cat is spoiled senseless.

No, I don’t think I spend too much time or money on my cat.

Yes, the pictures alone makes the carrier worth every cent I spent on it.

No, I didn’t just buy this because I wanted it; Jake fucking loves it too.

 

Photo Credit: Monty’s Blue Plate Diner

Being Thankful for the Little Things

This week has been exceptionally stressful.

My work has been ramping up as we head into the busy season. Strangely enough it turns out that more people in Wisconsin install furnaces and insulation during the winter. I wonder if there is a white, powdery reason for that… hmmm…

My sector of the program, the sector that processes the income eligibility applications, has been short staffed since before I started. In the summer it was fine. We limped along. It was fine. Now, in the fall, it became very clear that it is not fine, and we desperately need a third person in order to keep up. We hired a third person, and she was perfect.

An accounting major at Drake!

I couldn’t imagine someone more perfect. With her on staff I could finally have someone who could answer my outlandish financial based questions. For example, “Do trusts earn interest?” “Is this what a stock earnings statement looks like?” “Do people still have to file taxes if their only income was business losses?  I have so many oddball financial questions like this, and no one can ever answer them. I usually just guess and pray for the best. Then, like a magically fairy, she fluttered into our lives with all of her vast accounting knowledge.

And just like a magical fairy, she’s nonexistent.

That’s right folk, the numbers whiz, who was going to save me from the current swirling chaos that is my work life,  rescinded the offer before her first day. I never even met her.

So we are back to the drawing board. That means more interviews. More people who cannot handle the demands of this job. And more opportunities to be disappointed by candidates who don’t pull through.

Alas, amongst all this stress and madness, I had a glimmer of hope Friday morning. It was on my way into work that I noticed how lovely the rose bush in the parking lot looked in the early hours.

(Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me, so we’re back to cell phone pics again for this post. Sincerest apologizes to those of you who were looking forward to seeing my advanced photography skills after my last post. I promise there will be more super awesome photos soon. *winks obnoxiously large*)

I try to park my car next to this rose bush every morning, because it is always so lovely. I try to use it as a reminder, every day before work and every day after work, to appreciate the little things of beauty that happen throughout the day. In an understaffed, painfully bureaucratic office position, such as mine, it can be easy to get to a point where you hate the monotonous work that you do and the impatient, unappreciative public that you serve.

These flowers remind me that the most important part of my day is not when a customer calls upset that we haven’t process their application yet, when we’ve been calling them for over a month to give us the missing information the we need. The most important part of my day is not when a contractor gets snippy and rude with me because I asked for confirmation of an installation date, when the date is ‘clearly on the application.’ (It was on the application three different ways btw. We needed to know which one was the correct date. The contractor still hung up on me.) The most important part of my day is not when a customer claims that I denied her application because I am a republican. (The dirtiest insult I’ve ever received btw.)

The most important part of my day is when my supervisor surprises me with my favorite bagel from Panera. (Cinnamon Crunch fyi)

The most important part of my day is when I get to chat with Blair about video games and linguistics at lunch.

The most important part of my day is when my fiance, Jake sends me a picture of our cat on top of the fridge.

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This is Charlie’s new favorite spot in the apartment.

These are the most important moments of the day, and it can be so easy to forget that when my day at work really, really sucks. When people treat me like garbage and the work piles up like mountains around me, and I feel like I’m suffocating under the weight of all the applications and all the deadlines.

But,

If I try to remember what’s important, and I appreciate the little flakes of joy that are sprinkled throughout my day amongst the unpleasant, the stressful, and the boring, then I can get through the day with a smile. On Friday my coworker even accused me of being downright ‘giggly.’ (A bit hyperbolic in my opinion, but it captures my point.)

I wrote this post for all of you today, as a reminder to be thankful the little shreds of good throughout the day. I know September can be a stressful month for everyone, what with school starting up again, applying for college or graduate school, and many workplaces increasing the workload before the end of the year.

So remember, for next week, and the week after that, and the month after that, and the year after that, to look for and appreciate beauty when you can find it.

Go out there. Kick butt. And try not to let rude people get you down.

Do your job the best you can. And most importantly, take care of yourself out there.

 

Kitty Photoshoot!

Yep, you read that right. Jake and I had a Kitty photoshoot yesterday, and yes, it was as amazing as it sounds. And the best part is: It was autumn themed!

Up until this point I have been using my phone camera for most photos on this blog, and Jake’s phone for all selfies. That’s right Millennial generation, I am a disappointment to you all. My very own selfie camera is… is… is… BROKEN!!!! It has been for over two years now. The horror, I know. Not that I’ve missed it too much. I’ve never been one much for selfies. I must admit though, that the lack of personal selfie camera has made blogging a bit difficult though. Luckily I can borrow Jake’s phone pretty much anytime that I need a quick pic.

Despite the fact that I only have a semi-fuctional camera phone, I feel I’ve gotten on pretty well. I mean my Olbrich Garden photos turned out simply stunning. But after five months of blogging, enough was enough, and I begged Jake to bring his DSLR camera home from work.

I’ve been dying to get my hands on an actual camera since I’ve started blogging. I can’t help but gaze longingly at the pinnacle of perfection that is other bloggers’ photos. Most bloggers take just jaw droppingly gorgeous pictures. Most of mine are meh at best. They would pass on Facebook, but they do not compete in the visually driven world of blogging.

So here is my first round of pictures taken while playing around with Jake’s camera.

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Magnificent

 

None too shabby if I do say so myself.

Granted, since I was shooting a live action kitty, (emphasis on the live action) I decided to keep the auto-focus on, since I’m not that fast at manually focusing yet. However, because I was using auto-focus, many of my pictures did not turn out. The damn thing kept wanting to focus on the pumpkin instead of the kitty! What a silly camera. Doesn’t it know that Charlie is always the center of attention? Ah well, it shall learn soon enough.

I’ll be excited to try taking some still life photos this week to hone my manual focusing skills. I have some experience manually focusing from taking pictures with my mom’s camera, but I’m rusty to say the least.

Let’s just say that things are going to get very pretty around here.

Gone are the days of posts without photos!

Gone are the days of poorly light shots where everything present just looks sad!

Gone are the days of graininess, blurriness, and shadowiness!

A new era of flawless photos has begun.

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Not exactly a flawless photo, but look at the tiny pumpkin! So cute.

Wedding Planning is the Absolute Worst

Being engaged was the bomb dot com. My proposal was all I could ask for and more. It may not have been at a fancy restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower against a setting sun, but it was a surprise, and that’s all I really wanted.

After the actual engagement, events flew by in a joyous blur. Jake and I both called our parents. I called all my closest friends. (One of whom burst into tears and it was the most endearing thing I think I will ever experience in my life.) And, of course, we carefully crafted a Facebook announcement. Not to mention the dozens of people in the weeks to follow who all wanted to A: touch my hand, B: look at my ring, and C: ask me how it happened for. Needless to say, I got very good at telling that story.

However, once all the initial celebrating was done, all of a sudden things switched from ‘congratulations!’ to ‘did you pick a date yet?’ The answer to which was hell no! I was finishing up my last semester of college and I didn’t even know where I was going to be living in a year. Even now, Jake is still talking of moving out of state around February and I’m still waiting to hear back about whether or not I’m admitted into grad school. How the hell is anyone supposed to plan a wedding when their day to day life is in such flux?

Well, the day came. I’d procrastinated for seven months, but now it was time to start planning. Part of me thought it would be fun. I can’t tell you how many hours I have logged carefully curating my Pinterest wedding board. And when else do you have an excuse to throw a huge, fancy party for all your friends and family? This should be amazing, and delightful, and fun experience.

WRONG.

Wedding planning is already one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done and I’ve only just started. I think I would rather write a ten page essay, about a topic I know nothing about, worth 90% of my grade, within the span of a single night, than plan my own wedding.

Not to say it was all bad. After two hours of searching though ‘rustic’ barns, tacky hotels, and run down convention centers, Jake and I finally found a suitable venue. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art hosts weddings people!!!!!!! This would be an insanely perfect location.

All during high school I loved going there. I looked forward to the art club field trip every year. Whenever I was in Madison, I would find some excuse to go there. Actually, on Jake and I’s one year anniversary, we were in Madison to see a musical, and I tried to walk to the museum from the parking garage, in heels, through near blinding snow. Turned out I had no idea where we were, and I ended up leading us in the opposite direction of the museum, but the point is, this is a place that I love to pieces. I have so many fond memories of going there with friends to view beautiful art together. The chance to use the MMOCA as the venue for my wedding was an extraordinary opportunity. Not to mention the fact that our photos would be unspeakably stunning. (see above)

And get this: The venue was under budget by $250. I literally started screaming when I saw the price. Most venues are $2,000-$4,000 for a wedding. The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is only $1,750 for both ceremony and reception. I was elated.

However, my palms started to sweat when I noticed the asterisk in the corner that read, “MMoCA has an exclusive catering contract with Fresco, the rooftop restaurant.” This didn’t necessarily surprise me, I mean when you have a caterer on site it’s almost rude to have an event there and not use them. But, I knew how expensive their food was, and I was terrified to see how much it would cost to cater an entire event.

I held my breath as I pulled up the pricing for the caterer. Was the dream of a rooftop, sculpture garden wedding right in the middle of downtown Madison, already over?

The catering is… pricey to say the least. At $60 dollars a head, I would be paying for everyone at my wedding to eat a VERY nice meal. Yet, it wasn’t unobtainable. Jake and I were planning on having a very small wedding and for a guest list of about 80 (including possible plus ones) the whole of the catering would cost $4800. Not cheap, but we could swing it if we really wanted too. (Mind you this price would not include booze, cake, or most tables and chairs.)

And just when I thought this whole thing was within grasp, that’s when I saw it. The pin in my ballon. The fly in my soup. The wine stain on my brand new white shirt.

“Minimum Cost: Friday-Saturday, $10,000-$12,000”

That’s right. In order to have them cater my wedding on a Friday or a Saturday, (really the only two acceptable days to host a wedding, especially with out of state guests) I would have to pay them at least $10,000. The food itself only cost $4,800! What am I supposed to spend an extra $5,000 on? Jake and I were hoping for a total wedding budget of $13,000-$15,000. That isn’t going to happen if we spent $10,000 on just food and drink.

Just as quickly as the dream of getting married on the roof of museum started, it ended. Dead in the water like a raccoon that underestimated the distance across a lake.

Hopefully this is just a way for the universe to say, “Hold on, we have a better wedding venue in store for you, Just wait and see!”

Kinda doubt it universe, but whatever. I guess I’ll trust you.

Jake and I will keep researching until we find a truly perfect venue. (Both aesthetically and fiscally) Until then, enjoy this inspiration picture from Pinterest. I love it so much. It gives me hope that no matter where Jake and I get married, it will be gorgeous.

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Photo Credit: April Look and Chloe Moore

 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

One of my favorite things about living in Madison, it all the wonderful, free things to do. There are beautiful parks, phenomenal art museums, and many fun musical events. It seems like every weekend there is something going on. This is quite a change from when I lived in Green Bay. There, if you didn’t like beer or the Packers, you were plum out of luck.

Being in the gardens was lovely. I always love going there. Most of the time I go there with friends, but this was the first time I got to take my fiance, Jake. We had a blast together and I got some gorgeous photos.

The best part about the gardens is that they are different every time I go. This visit we saw a ton of succulents hidden everywhere. Including these ones nestled into a rock in the Sunken Garden.

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My favorite flowers are the shrub roses. I was so glad to catch them now. When I was there in May they weren’t in bloom yet, and now in September they don’t have much time left. Aren’t they so dainty and delicate?

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Of course a trip to the Thai Pavilion is always a treat. Can you believe this is in Wisconsin?

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Shout out to the man in blue for ruining my shot.

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The mosaic tile and the gold leaf etching are ever more stunning in person.

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The water features throughout the gardens were also breathtaking.

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Water Lilies!

Honestly, if the weather was a bit more tolerable, Jake and I would have stayed out longer and taken more pictures of the artwork and fountains. However, in reality it was 95 degrees out, and Jake and I were both dying in the heat after just an hour long stroll.

We will definitely return for an evening walk through the gardens, because there is a really cool art exhibition going on right now at the Olbrich Gardens. It’s called Glow, and while Jake and I were in the gardens we noticed all fiber optic lights and LEDs everywhere. During the day it looked kind of junky, but at night when it’s all lit up, I’m sure it looks incredible. I can’t wait to check it out.

 

Why Every Coffee Drinker Should Try a French Press

I am a self-admitted coffee addict. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was fifteen, and I’ve really stopped. In the past, I’ve used a standard coffee maker, Keurig, and I even tried a pour over once, but by far my favorite way to make coffee is using a French Press.

In order to brew coffee with a French press, first you place coffee grounds in the bottom of the glass. Next, you pour boiling water into the glass. Then, you place the top apparatus on the French press with the plunger up, and leave the water and coffee in the French press to brew as long as you desire. (Some people like to stir their coffee after they first pour in the water, but I don’t think it makes much of a difference.) After your coffee has brewed, slowly push down the plunger to force all the loose grounds to the bottom of the glass. Lastly, serve and enjoy your perfectly brewed coffee.

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Obviously I adore my French press. It is probably the number one thing I would bring with me if I was stuck on a desert island. (Second being a lifetime supply of coffee, and Third being a lifetime supply of books. I would be set for life.)

Here are the top 5 reasons any coffee drinker should consider trying out a French press.

1. More Caffeine

French press coffee is often given one of the highest caffeine rankings among brewing methods. Depending on how long you like to brew your coffee, you can alter this either higher or lower according to your preferences. The French press tends to draw more caffeine from the beans, because the grounds remain in contact with the water for a longer period of time. This is why a French press can give you a stronger brew than a coffee maker or a Keurig, which basically just past the water through the grounds as fast as possible.

2. No Waste

Another thing I really like about using a French press is that there is hardly any waste involved. Sure, you still have to throw out the grounds, but you don’t have to throw out a filter or a K-cup. I felt horrible when I was using a Keurig to brew my coffee. The K-cups they use a just so incredibly wasteful. Especially since I would easily go through two every morning. Not to mention the fact that K-cups are expensive as all get out. Save yourself some money, save the planet, and enjoy better coffee? No downside here!

3. Great Taste

Honestly, I think French press coffee tastes better than just about any other method I’ve tried. I REALLY love coffee. The smell. The taste. The whole package. Similar to the way a French press draws more caffeine out of the coffee grounds, it also draws out more of that rich coffee flavor. Compared to my French press coffee, coffee maker coffee is just ‘blah.’

4. Flexible Amount

This is more with regards to Keurigs. You don’t have to just brew one cup at a time with a French press. Depending on the size you buy, you can brew one cup or several. I suppose you still have the ability to brew one cup with a standard coffee maker, but I always feel bad wasting a coffee filter for just one cup of coffee.

5. Classy as Fuck

Last, but not least, French presses are absolutely fancy as fuck. Friends and family will all be super impressed with your brewing skills. I’m not joking, my mom was amazed the first time she saw me do it. And the best part is, it isn’t even hard! Pour the grounds, pour the water, let brew, and viola. Sure, you have to boil the water separately, so it’s one extra step, but with all the benefits, why the hell wouldn’t you?

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Photo Credits to CAFFEINEGALORE and STUMPTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS

My First Pair of Zenni’s

After hearing rave reviews from both friends and coworker, I decided to try out Zenni Optical. I was a little skeptical after hearing that there was more selection and great quality at a fraction of the price, but I figured it was worth a try. Let’s face it, even if it didn’t work out, at about $20 a pair I wasn’t going to lose out much by trying it out.

I had been planning on getting new glasses anyway. My last glasses were about four years old. Granted my prescription didn’t change that much, but the acetate frames were beat to hell.

I went online and was thrilled with all the styles to choose from. I like an interesting pair of glasses, and through Zenni, the choices are just about endless. I have a bit of a hard time finding glasses, because I have a small face. My pupillary distance (PD) is 56 which is about the lowest an adult frame can go. I usually only have a handful of frames that will actually fit my face, and usually these a frames made for awkward, growing teenagers. Inevitably I will hate all of these frames, and I will be left to choose whether I want a child’s frame that will be slightly too small or an adult frame that will be way too big. Through Zenni my selection was limited because of my small PD, but I still had ten fold the choices of what I did through a glasses store. Also, it was way easier to filter out the glasses that didn’t fit me using the online tools. In store I would have to check the tag of each pair of glasses individually. What a pain.

Through Zenni it was also really nice to have the Zenni Frame Fit tool. I uploaded a picture of myself, and was more or less able to “try on the glasses” in the picture. Was it perfect? No. Did it help me tell whether or not a pair of glasses looked good on me? Absolutely. Honestly, I was really nervous about buying glasses online. I was afraid I would like them online, and then they would look terrible on me in person. The Zenni Frame Fit tool helped me make an informed decision, and took away some of my online shopping anxiety.

All my life, I’ve been told I should only wear rectangular frames, because of the shape of my face. Nonetheless, I’ve never been able to look at a square, cat eye, or circular frame without a tinge of longing. I’ve always wanted to buy a more interesting frame shape. Rectangular frame are so dull, I bought my last pair in blend of five different colors just to make it palatable. I used to describe them to others as a “fiesta on my face.” They were a good pair of glasses, and their colorfulness suited my bubbly personality pretty well. The only problem with them is that I love to wear colorful outfits, and I can’t tell you how many times in the past I wore an outfit that completely clashed with my glasses. This time I was determined to get a neutrally colored frame that was still somewhat interesting in shape.

After searching high and low through Zenni Optical’s website, I found the perfect pair. They are a square frame with a black and white tortoiseshell pattern. I was terrified that even though they fit my PD, the square frame would still look too bit for my face. I was dying for a change, so went for it anyway, and they look stunning if I do say so myself.

Many people view wearing glasses to be a chore or to be downright embarrassing, but I have always loved wearing glasses. In my opinion, they are basically just jewelry for your face.  I have no interest in ever wearing contacts. Especially when my glasses make me look this cute. However, being a glasses wearer has not always been easy. It can be really costly and very hard to find a pair of glasses that you’ll want to wear everyday. Zenni has liberated me of the high prices and small selection of a traditional glasses shop. Now, I can find any shape frame, in any style, and still find something that will look good on me.

That’s not to say that there is no difference between my $30 Zenni’s and my $200 dollar traditional glass. I will say that my Zenni’s do not fit around the side of my head very well and they sit funny on my ears. At some point, I will probably have to go to an optometrist and pay to have them fitted properly. Also, I do have a lot of glare off these glasses. Of course, I could have upgraded to get an anti-glare coating on my Zenni’s, but I didn’t, because I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like them. When I order from Zenni again, I will definitely splurge to get an anti-glare coating.

Another common complaint among Zenni buyers is that the glasses don’t last as long as traditional glasses. All I have to say about that is DUH! You get what you pay for. Plain and simple. If you want glasses that are perfect in every way and are going to last forever, go to an optometrist. If you want stylist glasses, that will get the job done, at an affordable price, shop at Zenni Optical. Honestly, for how much I paid for my last pair of glasses, I could have bought a new pair of Zennis about every year. Personally, I am a very style conscious person with a really weak prescription, so it is worth it to me to buy cheap, gorgeous glasses, and be able to switch things up about once a year.

All I can say is that I am so happy that I found Zenni Optical, and I cannot wait to go back and get a pair of prescription sunglasses next!

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Also, here’s a blooper pic of my cat photobombing me. You’re welcome.

 

My Hot, New Set of Wheels

Finally, my car shopping has come to a close. It was a long and arduous process, but I finally traded in my hand-me-down minivan for a sleek, new-to-me sedan.  To my complete and utter surprise, I ended up buying a 2012 Chevy Cruze with only 43,000 miles on it. Honestly, this car is way nicer than anything I  thought I would be buying. It gets 42 MPG highway, has bluetooth, fold-down backseats, a USB port, and a reeeaaaalllly cool switchblade key that I cannot stop playing with.

I just can’t believe what a difference it is between driving this car versus my old van. This car is so much smoother. It accelerates and decelerates with ease. You may be thinking to yourself, ‘What the hell is wrong with this chick? Shouldn’t it be expected that your car accelerate and decelerate easily.’ I would heartily answer yes, dear skeptic. Cars should accelerate and decelerate easily. My old minivan, however, did not. The van struggled to accelerate up to highway speed even on the longest ramp. I would inevitably be merging into traffic that was going significantly faster than me. Not to mention the fact that once I got going highway speeds, it was really tricky to stop quickly. There was just so much momentum in a heavy vehicle like that. In that vehicle, had far to many rear end close calls, and now that I drive during Madison rush hour everyday, with the constant ebb and flow of stop and go traffic, and near constant sudden stops, the whole minivan thing was not working out. To add to the joys of minivan ownership, I used to be able to tell how fast I was going in the van by the rumbly sounds coming from my engine and how much my steering wheel would shudder.Now, no more! My engine now is actually so quiet, I really don’t realize how fast I’m going. I have to watch my speedometer like a hawk, because it is way to easy to speed in this thing.

Did I mention the difference in fuel economy!? I used to spend about $80 a month on gas. Just one tank of gas in the minivan would reliably cost me $40. Didn’t matter if gas prices went up or down. My gas bill would always be $40 give or take a couple bucks. My gas bill will be cut in half with this new car, if not more. I am so unbelievably psyched for this. Just the savings in gas pay for about a third of my car payment. Sure, I’ll miss the ability to drive seven people and haul a dorm room’s worth of stuff, but I didn’t use that ability more than one or twice a year.

The experience of buying the car itself, however, not so smooth and effortless. The car salesman who was working with us was super nice to us in the lot, but it turned into a bit of a Jeckle and Hyde situation in his office. He got really angry with me when I tried to barter down the obviously jacked up price, and after we got to an acceptable price point he left us in his office for hours. We started the paperwork at 2pm in the afternoon and it didn’t end until after 5:30pm. Mind you this didn’t include the driving to Baraboo and back, the test drive, or the uncomfortable ‘let me show you all the features of your new car’ spiel after I had signed all the papers.

While sitting in an office for three and a half hours straight is never my idea of a thrilling Saturday afternoon, this was even worse, because I was freaking the fuck out the entire time. It’s just so scary to sign that paper that reads, you will pay X amount of money for X amount of years. A four year loan! I don’t know what I’ll want from a car in four years. I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. This car is perfect for me now. I love it. But what if it breaks down in the next four years? What if I get into an accident? The last thing I want is to owe money on a smoldering wreck of warped metal and busted glass. Granted that’s what insurance companies are for, but it’s also their business to screw over their customers. Let’s just say I’d rather not put all my eggs in that basket.

In all honesty my loan is not that bad. I was able to take way about a third of the final price with my sizely down payment, and I was able to knock it down a little more with the awesome trade-in value we got on the van. Granted fee and taxes took their toll on my overall loan, but all in all I only took out a loan on about half the value of the car. Also, as intimate and sexy as this is, I had a sinfully low APR through my credit union. Overall the total amount I’m going to pay from interest is about $300. Not to shabby if I do say so myself. Did this fact stop me from breaking out in stress hives while waiting in the car dealership? Hell no. Does it make me feel better now that I am my regular rational self? Of course!

After this entire experience, I can say it has been about as much fun as going to the gynecologist, but I am super proud of myself for taking the initiative, doing the research, and closing the deal. I’m walking away with a gorgeous car in great condition at a steal of a price. Although the whole first time into debt thing was painful as hell, I’m happy with my loan and I’m glad I could go through the process before I into more serious debt like a mortgage or master’s student loans.