What’s In My Bag: Work Edition

Working full time means that I carry a lot of stuff to and from the office. My favorite bag to bring to the office is the Madewell Transport Tote in English Saddle. I love this bag, because it has everything that you think that you could need. I love this purse, because the color goes with everything that I wear, and it is really great value for the purse. I’ve had it for a few weeks, and I can tell that it’s going to become one of my go-to bags. (Also shoutout to birthday coupons)

This is just an everyday set, but I also can fit my iPad, a book, laptop, and Kindle Paperwhite if I want as well. Furthermore, I also have room to take my lunch and my water bottles, which are not pictured as well. Needless to say, I carry everything but the kitchen sink. Here is what I carry in my purse whenever I go to work:

  • Madewell Canvas Pouch: I use this to carry various items in my purse to keep them contained. It’s helpful to stay organized. This is a link to an item similar to the one in the picture.
  • Louis Vuitton Mini Pochette in Damier Azur: This is basically used as a tech pouch, but I’ve also used it as a mini pouch whenever I go out outside of work. I did get this one off of Poshmark, but here’s the link to the one on the website.
  • Sunglasses
  • Car Keys
  • Louis Vuitton Key Cles (Basically my little card holder that holds my license, cash, cards, etc.)
  • Micheal Kors Jet Set Wallet: Basically holds everything else wallet related, including loyalty cards, pictures, etc. Mine was purchased at the outlets, so this is a link to one similar.
  • Longchamp Makeup Bag: This holds everything in from sanitizers, lip stuff, and hand creams. I purchased a retired color off of Poshmark, so I linked something similar.
  • Vera Bradley Checkbook Cover (I have a retired pattern, so I linked something similar.

That’s what I carry in my purse. Now, these are the items that I carry daily, and it fits. However, as I mentioned earlier, I can fit so many other things, including a water bottle, laptop, iPad, Kindle/Nook, and my lunch. Now, I wouldn’t recommend carrying them all in the bag at once, but you can carry it a lot.

I like this over some of the other totes out there because it’s affordable leather and it holds everything I need. So, if you’re looking for a new ride or die work tote, this is the bag for you. And, if you do decided to get one, be sure to get a scarf. It definitely adds something extra to the store.

What I Love Wednesday: August 5, 2020

I can not believe that it is August already. 2020 is literally flying by. I actually found some pumpkin coffee during my weekly Target run, and needless to say I purchased it. However, I am planning to enjoy the last full month of summer.

I have a few new favorites this week that I am so excited to share. Here’s what I am loving this week:

  • Podcasts: I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I’ve been listening to my go-to ones, including Rise, Gals on the Go, and Back to Basics. However, I’ve been listening to a lot of others, including: I Love You So Much with Kenzie Elizabeth, Mood, and Whitney Port’s podcast. I love listening to podcasts because they honestly are really motivating for me to listen to them, and they also serve as a reminder for self care. Definitely a win-win.
  • Madewell Transport Tote: I bought myself a new purse (thank you birthday coupons)! I love the Transport tote as a work bag, because it holds everything but the kitchen sink. I love that I don’t have to carry five different bags or an additional tote for work as well. Definitely recommend to anyone who has to carry a lot of stuff or even for travel.
  • Madewell Delicate Collection Skinny Rings Set: I love these rings. I purchased these when I got the bags, and I love that they go with my other Demi-fine jewelry as well. They are really comfortable, and they don’t turn your fingers green, which is something that I do experience. I also think that the quality of the rings are really great as well.
  • Storage Wars: I have been bingewatching Storage Wars, and it’s really addicting. I love it because it’s a show you can watch at anytime and still enjoy, and it’s interesting to me to learn about the value of various things.
  • Folklore by Taylor Swift: This album is gorgeous, plain and simple. It is now my favorite album of hers and has been on repeat since it came out a few weeks ago. And, yes. I did order the vinyl. It’s okay.
SV Decker’s gold band makes a perfect pairing with my Madewell delicate rings!
  • S.V. Decker Gold Band: I love S.V. Decker, and what better to end the list than a list than one of my favorite pieces. I’ve been into gold bands, and it pairs with my Madewell rings I mentioned earlier quite nicely. This ring is great for stacking as well, as just by itself. I definitely recommend this piece as well.
  • Happy Planner: I invested in a Happy Planner and I am so happy I did. I got the smaller one so it fits in my purses and is easy to carry. What I love about the one that I have is that it is meant for readers so it keeps track of what I read. I highly recommend it because it’s inexpensive and it helps me remember things that I would forget otherwise. Furthermore, I got the extra sheets to keep track of all I need to do — perfect for when I get overwhelmed.

August 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

I still can’t believe that it is already August. July was a great reading month with 12 books thanks to pool days and the Reading Rush. I also discovered a new favorite book, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. That is something that was on my Mashed Potato Reading list, so I’m excited that I got to read it.

So, without further a due, here are the books that I read this month:

1. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover: 4 out of 5 stars

2. Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli: 5 out of 5 Stars

3. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover: 5 out of 5 stars

4. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: 5 out 5 stars

5. One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 5 out of 5 stars

6. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo: 5 out of 5 Stars

7. What You Wish For by Katherine Center: 5 out of 5 stars

8. Roomies by Christina Lauren: 5 out of 5 stars

9. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella: 3 out of 5 stars

10. Before by Anna Todd: 5 out of 5 stars

11. The Great Gatsby — The Graphic Novel: 5 out of 5 stars

12. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah: 5 out of five stars

7 Knitting Tips for Beginners

A little while ago, I wrote a post about how to get started into crocheting. However, I also am a knitter as well. I learned how to knit as a way to cope when my dog Maggie passed away in fall of 2018, but stopped knitting as often once I learned how to crochet last year. So, while I am not a complete expert, I do have some tips to get you started.

  • YouTube: I believe that YouTube is the best resource out there because it gives you a visual how-to on how to do anything. I guarantee that you will find what you’re looking for just by searching. Sometimes written instructions can be difficult to understand, it’s so much easier to watch someone to do it on your computer or tv.
  • Stockinette Stitch all the Way: The easiest stitch is honestly the stockinette. It’s the basic knit stitch and you can use it for so many projects and get acquainted and familiar with knitting.
  • Make a scarf: Scarves are a great first project because they are flat and they keep you warm. They also are pretty quick to make so it doesn’t feel as if you’re plugging away to something that takes forever to build.
  • Invest in Books: There are so many great books to get you started. My favorite is Learn to Knit, which you can find at Barnes and Noble. I like this book because it has everything you need to get you started: pictures, projects and a great pair of needles that can be used for many projects to come.
  • Practice before you do a project: Knitting has a lot of stitches and they are challenging. My recommendation is to do a mini practice swatch so that way you get the hang of it prior to the project.
  • Make sure you have a lot of needles (and the right ones): One of the big things that you need is a variety of needles. Sometimes you need a pair of circular needles for a hat. Other times you need thick chunky needles for a scarf. Different projects require different needles and it’s okay to have a variety of them in your stash. That said, make sure that you have the right needles for your project because in knitting you need the correct needles for the size and for the type of project you’re doing.
  • Get a lot of yarn: Depending on what you’re making, you need to have a lot of yarn. My tip? Get more than you need. It’s hard to gauge how much you do need and sometimes it’s better to have a lot of yarn and not need it versus needing it and not having it.

Why We Need Boundaries

There are so many different aspects in life that you need boundaries. You need to set boundaries with yourself – when it comes to budgeting, when it comes to the food you eat, and even self-care. You also need to set boundaries with others – with how they treat you, how much you do for them, and how much you even make time for them.

So, why do we need boundaries?

I think we need boundaries just so we can do what is best for us. For example, let’s use friends as an example. At this point in my life, I’ve accumulated a lot of friends in different walks of life. After a long week at work, I often decline social events. It’s not because I don’t want to be with that group of friends or hang out. It is simply because I am setting a boundary due to the fact that I need to self-care. And, that’s okay.

While that is one example of setting boundaries, the most crucial is the internal ones. For instance, we need to set boundaries with food, because let’s just be honest we can’t eat ice cream and French fries all day. So, we need to set a boundary that you can’t have Chic-Fil-A daily. This also applies to budgeting – meaning that you need to set boundaries with yourself in what areas you’re spending your money in. These boundaries are really important, because it helps you create a healthy balance in your life, where you’re just honest with yourself.

And, I’m going to be honest here. One of the biggest areas that I continue to struggle with is setting boundaries on what I need. I’m going to be honest. It’s not easy. I am a people-pleaser and am not a huge fan of conflict, so I don’t like to say no. So, I am quick to say yes to something, even though I may ignore my needs for whatever it may be. Or, it could be something that I just genuinely do not want to do or something that I can’t afford. More times than not, it’s self-care. And, that is not okay. Therefore, it’s something that I am trying to work on.

Furthermore, another example of my need to set boundaries comes from my journey with grief. Last year, my mother passed away and I went through a series of firsts. Those firsts were super hard. That Christmas morning when I woke up realizing that Christmas was different was really hard. That said, I neglected my own grief during that time to try to make Christmas more bearable for those around me. By doing that, I often forgot that I was allowed to be sad, because my mother was gone and I will never eat one of her Christmas cookies. When I realized this, I felt less ashamed by the fact that I was sad, and more open to the pain of feeling whatever I am going to feel.

Now, how do I set that boundary? Simply by being honest with myself and others all around me. That may mean simply by saying no to a holiday dinner so I can have time to myself to journal. And, of course, by realizing that I am not being selfish by doing that.

That being said, I am learning to set the boundaries that I need to be able to live a more balanced life and the boundaries that I need to be true to my own feelings. Now, this isn’t because I don’t want to hang out with my friends or family. It is because I need to take time out for myself.

Which is perfectly okay.

So, how do I create boundaries?

Simply be honest. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with those who are in your circle. For example, if a friend asks you to hang out, but if you’re not up to it because you had a long week at work and need to self-care doing whatever it is you do, it is okay. Just tell them and be honest. It’s perfectly fine to say no.

Sometimes, people are not going to like that, and that is perfectly okay. Not everyone is going to like what you want to do or even agree with something that you need to do for yourself. And, that’s fine. Everyone has a different opinion on what’s essential to them or what they need to do to care for themselves. And, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when you share that reasoning, they contradict it or say “hey but you can’t afford to do this, but you can afford that.”

That is because that is not up to them. It is entirely up to you.

Let me conclude by saying this: boundaries are important. They are important for you to set to live a life that is right for yourself. And, just like it is important to set boundaries, I also think it’s important for others to respect them. Plain and simple.

Women Who Work: Danielle Costa, host of Back to Basic Podcast

Lately, podcasts have been my favorite thing to listen to. However, one of the hardest things for me is finding good podcasts to listen to.

Recently, my friend Danielle Costa launched her podcast, Back to Basic. Danielle and I actually worked together back when I worked at Connoisseur Media a few years ago. Her podcast launched last Wednesday, and new episodes will be going live every Wednesday (that means there’s a new episode today, folks!) Her podcast talks about pop culture and so much more. I chatted with Danielle last week about the new podcast, and what you can expect to hear from her on the new platform.

Photo Credit: Danielle Costa

So, tell me about your podcast. What topics will we expect to hear? 

Back To Basic is a podcast that blends pop culture, nostalgia with anecdotes from my life and my guests’ lives. I will be interviewing creators from all walks of life, highlighting their passions and getting “back to basic” and just having good, fun conversations with them!

Where can I listen to it? 

You can listen on my website! You can also find Back To Basic on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcast! I am hoping to keep adding to that list to make it more accessible for everyone! 


What inspired you to create a podcast? 

I had a local radio show for over a year that highlighted pop culture, events and interviews. When it got phased out due to budget cuts, I knew I wanted to continue in some way and turning it into a podcast format was the perfect solution! I also love any opportunity to be in front of a microphone and I wanted to mix that passion with others’ passions!

What inspired the title? 

The title is a play on words! We are getting “back to the basics” and just sitting down and having good conversations! I feel like sometimes we miss those simple things and I wanted to bring it back. But also, I am a little “basic” so I wanted to play on that a bit and weave in my love of pop culture, too!

In your intro of the podcast, you mention that you enjoy pumpkin spiced lattes. Now that it’s summer, what is your current coffee order? 

A French vanilla iced coffee with almond milk has been my go-to!

What sparked your passion for podcasting?

 I currently work in radio and creative marketing, so media in general is a big part of my life. I have always loved podcasts; I am a huge fan of so many and listen on-the-daily! I wanted to create my own platform and my own space to learn, grow and to highlight amazing people! 

Last but not least, what advice do you give someone who wants to start a podcast, or just make it in the media business? 

Say yes to as many opportunities as you can and learn! It may push you out of your comfort zone at times, but like most things in life that is where you grow. Lastly, you have to LOVE it because it is a hard industry, but if you have a passion for it, it’s worth it!

Be sure to follow Danielle on Instagram, as well as Back to Basic’s Instagram as well to stay up to date with the podcast. Back to Basic has a new episode every Wednesday, so be sure to check it out!

Eating My Way Around CT: 6 Places to Eat in New Haven You Have To Try

New Haven is home to so many places for excellent dining no matter what you are in the mood for. Yes, it is known for great pizza. I’m talking about Pepe’s, Sally’s, Modern, Bar, etc. But, while the pizza is good, there is so much more that New Haven has to offer. In fact, did you know that New Haven is where the hamburger was invented? So, I’ve compiled a list of places that you need to try while dining in the Elm City.

Pizza:

If you’re in New Haven, you need to get yourself a pizza pie. And, you have a lot of great options to choose from. Pepe’s, Bar, Sally’s, Modern, Da Legna, and so much more. I’m going to be honest here, I don’t have a favorite place to go to. If you can’t decide which place to go with, why don’t you rotate? If you’re in New Haven earlier in the day, I recommend going to Pepe’s or Sally’s earlier, because they tend to get crowded.

The Pantry:

This place is the place to go when you want to have lunch with your girlfriends. Or boyfriend. Or if you want to have great pancakes. In fact, they have amazing cinnamon bun pancakes. But, if you want to stick to the classics, this place has gotten you covered. They have your standard breakfast foods as well. Definitely the place to check out.

Koffee?:

I’m sorry Starbucks, but this is hands down my favorite coffee shop of all time. Let me put it to you this way – they have Nutella lattes. Prior to COVID-19, I would go there and just relax with a book in my hand and sip my coffee. The vibe was really relaxing, and it was my happy place. Since COVID, I haven’t been there, but I know I want to return soon for a treat.

Louis’ Lunch:

This is the home of the hamburger, and in fact, this place serves it on toast. So. Cool. I highly recommend checking this out.

Geronimo:

This place hands down has some of the best guac I’ve ever tasted. It also has a wide menu of delicious Mexican food, as well as drinks.

Donut Crazy:

There are so many locations across Connecticut, but if you’re looking for a good donut in the New Haven area, this is your go-to. They have coffee, breakfast foods and other treats, but hands down the best thing is their donuts. And, true to their name, their donuts are a bit crazy. They are stuffed with cookie dough, Nutella, and so much more. Definitely a cheat day must have.

91 Diner:

I have to end off with a diner. This diner is just before the North Haven town line, and one of my favorites. Come here for the classic diner staples such as breakfast, burgers, and wraps. However, their menu expands to dinners, desserts and so much more. My favorite? Definitely the chicken soluvaki.

These are just a few of the amazing places to eat in New Haven. Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments below and I will check it out.

What’s In My Bag: What I Bought to the Beach

Beach days are the best days, let’s be honest. I am so lucky to be living a mere half of an hour from the shore. Even though we are still social distancing, let’s be honest — a beach day is needed in the summer to recharge your batteries.

Last Friday night, I went to the beach with my friends and broke out this crochet straw purse from LC Lauren Conrad. This straw purse is perfect for summer and it’s affordable. When I first was on the hunt for these purses, they were expensive. However, I paid $20 for this, and now they are on clearance for the summer. Can’t beat that.

What I love about straw purses is that they are carefree. I don’t have to worry about sand getting into my purse, which is something that I’ve struggled with for years. And, it does hold a lot, despite it’s smaller size.

That said, here’s what I bought to the beach:

What is in your beach bag? Let me know in the comments below.

Millennial Money: Tips to Score Amazing Deals While Consignment Shopping

Recently, I’ve become obsessed with consigning. For a while, I would go to the consignment store just to sell some of my mom’s clothes that didn’t fit and were in excellent condition. Since the pandemic hit, I began to actually look through the shelves of the consignment store. And, let me tell you that you can find some amazing treasures. For instance, I was able to purchase a new Dooney and Bourke purse – with tags – for $27. The price tag said it was $200. And, that’s not the only deal that I’ve been able to find. So, here are some tips to help you find some amazing deals.

Make sure you’re buying it because you like it, not because the price is right: Have you ever found something that was a deal that was something that was too good to pass up, only to never use it. We’ve all been there. When buying consignment, really give thought to the items you are going to purchase. What are you going to use it for? What are you going to wear it with? Even though it is a good price, still buying items that you are not going to use is still a waste of money.

Know if it’s a good deal: I am a frequent luxury browser on the consignment market. For this, you gotta know your prices. For instance, if you’re looking at a mini pochette, and paying $500 for it, it is definitely not a good deal. Sure, those are really hard to get. However, I find it crazy that people upcharge it that much.

Do your research: I am familiar with how things cost because I look them up online. Therefore, if you’re on Poshmark or any other site, take a look at the brand’s website to see how much things cost on there. Sometimes, you can get things for half off. For example, I wanted a Longchamp Makeup pouch. On Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, they go for $55. I picked one up – new with tags – for $25. $30 with shipping.

Hit up your local stores: Sure, sites like Poshmark and Ebay offer great deals. But, the true hidden gems are the local ones. So, google consignment stores in your area and explore.

Go often: Try to hit up your local consignment store at least once a month. Their stock changes constantly, so while they may not have the best deals one day, the next day they may have items that you become obsessed with.

Follow them on social media: Many local shops now have Facebook or Instagram pages. And, they use that as an opportunity to share their newest and awesome finds. What’s even better is that some will let you call to reserve the items and then pick it up.

Make offers: Use apps like Poshmark to get great deals as well. I would say don’t lowball them, but definitely work with sellers to get a good deal.

Favorite items: If you like something, put a heart on it. In my experience, sellers will often create an offer with discounted shipping. Win, win.

Sell unwanted goods: Many of us have those items that we’ve never touch or only wore once and that was it. Why not bring them to the consignment store? What is good about doing this is that many consignment stores offer a discount for using that credit, so you can get items at an even better price.

What I Love Wednesday: July 22, 2020

Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s getting really hot in my state and it certainly feels like summer. That said, this week I have a lot of favorites to share. Some of these are birthday gifts, which I am so happy and grateful for. Anyways, stay cool and here are my favorites.

Pandora Wish Rings:

I treated myself hardcore at Pandora. I purchased the Wheat Grains Wishbone Ring in silver and the Polished Wishbone Ring in Rose Gold. Let me tell you — I am obsessed. I love stacking them together, and the two toned look. I’ve been wearing them since I purchased them, and I am so happy with them.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Beginner Shred:

I started to do the regular shred only to stop within the first ten days. The same goes with this workout program.

After learning I gained some weight, I knew it was time. Part of the reason why I’ve been gaining weight is simply because I’m having a hard time balancing working out with working full time.

What I love about this workout is that it works and it’s 20 minutes. When I finish the video, I feel sore and amazing. Sure, it’s not easy. But, it’s not as intimidating as the regular. Therefore, I am motivated to continue working out hard and push myself to be stronger which I like.

Oh, and the results? I have lost about 2 pounds. But I’ve gained muscle strength. And, my clothes fit better as well.

Madewell Bucket Bag:

I had a Madewell gift card and I decided to purchase two purses that I had my eye on. The first is the Transport tote, which is meant to be more for when I have to carry my computer to work to transfer notes. I haven’t used that one yet, though. Furthermore, I also purchased the bucket bag for everyday use. I’ve used it for a week now and I love it. It fits all of my stuff — minus the laptop— including my Kindle Paperwhite. And it is really versatile — you can either use it crossbody or you can just it over your shoulder. Either way, it’s definitely a great investment.

Camp Rock:

I’m a Demi Lovato fan and I haven’t seen Camp Rock. Yup. This was true up until last week. Thanks to Disney Plus, I was able to watch both movies. And while I enjoyed them then, I know that I would have been obsessed with them when I was a teen. I also have been listening to the soundtrack a bit since then. (Fun fact: This is Me was one of my favorite songs back in my freshman year, so while I was watching this, I desperately wanted my iPod Nano back)

Anthropologie Initial Necklace:

Another fun purchase I bought this past was was the large Anthropologie Monogram Necklace. I am a sucker for anything with my initials on it, so this necklace was perfect for me. The gold goes with my other pieces and it’s so fun. I have been wanting this version of this for a while and am so glad that I purchased this to add to my initial collection.

Listening to Podcasts:

I’ve been off my podcast game as of late. Lately I have been getting into them again more and more and it feels amazing. My current favorites are Gals on the Go and What’s Next With Michelle Reed. I am looking for more so if you have any podcast recommendations, please let me know in the comments below.

Starbucks Refreshers:

Finally, as I said earlier, it’s been really hot outside. To help quench my thirst, I’ve been treating myself to some Strawberry Lemonade Refreshers. And, let me tell you, they are so refreshing. I have been getting them everyday this week and these have become my go-to.