Sunday, May 24, 2020

Weekend Reading 5.24.2020

Well hi! I think this has officially been the longest I've gone without updating this blog in the ten years I've been running it – wedding week included. I've been working on something new behind the scenes, which I'm hoping to launch this week, and I've been enjoying the start of nice weather in Maine and trying to motivate myself into job hunting more seriously. With the return of the sun to our state, I've felt as though I've fallen into a semblance of a rhythm, enjoying the outdoors and focusing on my health again, and feeling, dare I say, a little normal? I've even been getting dressed, and not just in loungewear! Sure, on most days it's a tee and leggings, dressed up with simple jewelry, like a pretty, understated ear cuff or gold necklace – I'm all about dressing up a basic outfit with more refined jewelry. But as the weather warms I've been breaking out my dresses and other summer staples – and I can't wait until it's dress weather every day. I'm still loving the dainty jewelry of last summer, but have been adding big hoops and other statement pieces, too.

Not every day is perfect, but I've found that it helps to pencil in some days when I'm not focused on computer work, especially on Wednesdays, which everyone seems to agree is the new Monday. I've also finally started some projects UNRELATED to work of any kind. This is news. BIG news. Because my work and my life are constantly flowing into one another and it has to stop. For my own sanity. How good did it feel to just make something for myself? So good, let me tell you. 10/10 recommend. Five stars.

OK, on to the links. Stay tuned for the aforementioned NEW PROJECT. Because I need to get this done goddammit.

United By Blue is having a major warehouse sale! Reminder that you can save 15% off your order with the code 'orchidgrey15'

The styling in this music video is truly excellent. Let it inspire you. Soak it up. Order a pair of super bright sunglasses.

This tinted serum has been my go-to "no-makeup" look while staying at home. it's light and beneficial for skin, while making me feel a little more put together for those moments I catch myself in the mirror

The joy of... (currently enjoying the Joy Of The Two Mile Run (achievable!))

OGEE just launched a CBD lip oil and it's amazing, I can tell you from experience. Save 15% off your order w/code 'Julie4' (I also swear by this cleansing oil. It removes makeup like nothing else)

A podcast episode on quarantining with your ghost

Just a reminder you can save $10 off your first Thinx order by shopping through my profile! This includes saver sets so you can save even more. They've been a godsend during this whole thing

One of my absolute favorite Etsy shops for beading/DIY supplies – I just placed a huge order (my team at Etsy HQ used to order from her all the time!) This necklace DIY is next on my list of things to make

Dermstore is having a huge summer beauty sale - 20% off with code 'SUMMER'! I'm grabbing this excellent dry shampoo, and restocking this vitamin C serum and

Save 15% off from Brooklinen! We have this linen duvet cover and love it.

These spicy peanut noodles sound so good – and easy enough to make with spaghetti squash if that's your jam (it's mine)

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Weekend Reading 4.18

Suddenly it's Saturday. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling this, but the days of the week are starting to lose meaning. Like everyone else, I'm missing a lot right now, but also so thankful that Chris and I have been healthy and safe. I wish I had something more exciting to report from the past few days, but our activities have likely been much the same as everyone else's: watching a lot of Netflix, Hulu & Prime (I watched both season's of Fleabag this week, and also Blow the Man Down, which is set in Maine and fairly dark, but good. Also Hunters), cooking, baking, working on small projects here and there, and doing lots of reading (about halfway through this book and really enjoying it). Hope you're hanging in there too. xoxo

Shared some thoughts on Thinx this week on IG – remember you can save $10 off your first order if you shop through my profile!

Sephora's Beauty Insider sale is on! Here's what's in my cart: this clean beauty AHA serum (so good), this glowy serum/spf combo foundation (my absolute favorite), this luminizing sunscreen (I've head amazing things), and this body serum (sounds so nice for summer)

As we move into week... week whatever of social distancing, this is important to keep in mind: social distancing is a recipe for depression

I'm so excited for warm weather, if only to wear something other than leggings & sweatshirts right now (jeans are out of the question). A few affordable favorites: this striped mini shift dress, this romantic white midi dress, this pretty gingham dress (40% off with code APRIL)

The most anticipated books of summer 2020

If you're missing a good cappuccino or latte: this top-rated coffee machine is 50% off!

Eyeing up sneakers per usual and I'm very tempted by these classics to wear with voluminous dresses (size down). Also these are giving me major nostalgia

How to check out e-books from the library

How cute are these handmade beaded fruit earrings? Love these double cherries and these tangerines, too

If you're missing brunch: 4 decadent brunch recipes to make at home

Friday, April 10, 2020

Weekend Reading 4.10.20

How was your week? Mine was… long, a little fraught, with some nice sunny weather in between. True to Maine springtime weather, we got a snowstorm on Thursday night, nearly to the day that we got a storm this time last year. I’m just thankful the snow didn’t stick in Portland, we don’t need to add more of a mess on top of the mess we’re already in. I’ve been struggling to focus this week, but have been trying to remind myself that when it becomes difficult to pay attention to one thing, i can just switch to another, or you know, rest. I spent much of this week trying to finish up this blog transition, editing old photos, and figuring out next steps for putting together some kind of online portfolio for my job search. That makes me sound more productive than I’ve actually been, trust me when I tell you this: every day has been a struggle. A struggle to wake up before 8:30am, a struggle to put on pants, a struggle to figure out when I can reasonably switch from coffee to wine. I feel like I’ve been doing ok, but also, I really, really miss life “before”.
Hope you’re hanging in there. Here’s a few things for your weekend. XOXO

Relatable: Stop trying to be productive (NYT)

My Thinx saved me this week. Seriously with having to use plastic bags again at the grocery store and so many of the planet-friendly swaps we’d made out the window, I love that I can still use Thinx and save money and reduce waste. Shop through my profile to save $10!

If no more movies came out this year, who would win the Oscars?

I’ve been stocking up on loungewear and love this pretty washed sweatshirt. 50% off w/ code ‘REFRESH’

Amazing news: Ogee now offers bundles! Love these sets for trying new products and saving some serious money. Plus, save 15% off with my code ‘Julie2’

How to help frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis

I baked the gluten free chocolate chip cookies from this cookbook last night and they’re SO GOOD. They remind me of the ones my mom used to make!

A DIY I want to make: DIY patchwork jeans

The back of this dress is so stunning - and I love the sleeves. So perfect for spring – and comfy!

Just bought these cute pajamas and they’re so soft! Eyeing this cozy robe to match.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Weekend Reading 4.3.20

Hello Friday and hello friends. How was your week? Mine was... weird, as I'm sure yours was too. I woke up this morning thinking about how I used to feel on Fridays, the wave of relief that in just a few hours, I'd be released for the weekend, a long and oftentimes overwhelming list of to-dos in front of me. Now that I'm living the exact opposite of that, I'm not sure which is the more compelling option (I hesitate to say "worse" option or "better" option because I'm very grateful to be healthy and sheltered right now – but I'd prefer the outlook to be a sunnier one). I struggled a bit this week, with loneliness, frustration, with having a difficult time controlling things and myself in the midst of all this. While my mind logically understands that what we're experiencing as a world is traumatic and there's no playbook, I'm really mourning where I was personally before everything really hit. This weekend I'm going to try to find something to work on that's more tactile. We brought our sewing machine home last weekend, so I might sew, or I might dig my watercolors out of the closet. Chris and I have both been baking a lot, too. Trying to stay busy and fill some hours not in front of Netflix or Hulu (but let me be clear, we've been watching a lot of TV, too). Hope you're doing ok and staying healthy, xoxo.

ICYMI: Cozy loungewear I'm loving (just ordered this sweatshirt, these leggings and these pants... wishing I had ordered this top too)

If you're looking for some fun DIY projects, this site has always been my go-to (we're not big on celebrating Easter, but these naturally-dyed robin's eggs might be on my list)

I finished this book last week (it was fine, readable, a little too heavy on describing every little thing) and started this book (so far I really like it, though it's a little hard to keep track of the years when everything takes place)

Now is the perfect time to try out Thinx if you've been thinking about it! Remember you can save 10% off your first order if you shop through my profile

Speaking of baking things - these homemade Samoa cookies look like a must-make

One of my favorite dresses from last summer is back in a bold new print. Very tempted. I'm all about shapeless things right now. Also please get here soon, spring.

Have you been seeing fluffy coffee everywhere? Me too. And I want to make it! (this is my favorite healthy instant coffee)

How pretty is voluminous puffy sleeve top? Love this navy dress too - both so perfect for summer (I'm dreaming of warmer days)

Are your dreams super weird and vivid right now? Mine are. Here's a theory why.

If you've been thinking of going more sustainable, maybe check out United By Blue's sustainability shop. Save 15% with the code 'orchidgrey15'

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cozy Loungewear I'm Loving – Joggers, Bralettes & More

So I live in soft clothes now. There's something truly miserable about wearing jeans and other rigid fabrics at home and with our new stay-at-home orders, I'm home all the time – like hopefully everyone else – so it's been nothing but sweatshirts, leggings, pretty bralettes, and slippers. At least until it warms up. It may be spring everywhere else, but it's mud season in Maine, which means the temperature is still hovering in the 30's (oh what I wouldn't give to wear a breezy dress on my patio right now!). And I'm beginning to crave a few new items to add to my very limited rotation because the same black leggings are beginning to feel a little worn out. So I'm looking for a couple of oversized sweatshirts, maybe some slim joggers or sweatpants, and some yoga pieces to maybe motivate myself into moving from my couch (baby steps). Staying inside and within our own homes is more important than ever right now – we might as well be cozy, right?

What are you wearing these days? Are you getting dressed every morning or spending most days in your pajamas?

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Weekend Reading 3.28.2020

And all of a sudden it's the weekend. How are you holding up? We're on stay-at-home orders here, something I welcomed after seeing so many people out and about last weekend and in the weeks between (honestly I'd like to see the state take more concrete actions) – Chris and I are hanging in there, trying to limit the amount of news we're taking in to only the essentials, watching a lot of Netflix, and worrying about leaving our house. We're anxious. Like most people. It's strange to not really have the ability to think ahead right now – there are so many variables. Plans that seemed so set in stone a month ago – a trip to New York, a friend's wedding – have vaporized, replaced with a day-by-day, hour-by-hour schedule that involves a lot of cookies, wine, sleep and, again, Netflix. I've been journaling a lot, that helps. Trying to exercise (though not being super successful with it). And obsessively cleaning and organizing. I've been thinking a lot about what the after of all this will look like. What will we have learned? What will we do differently? How many people will I hug? I'll run out and get a haircut, that's for sure. And gleefully go for a run without worry or fear of breathing in someone else's air. What strange times these are – did we ever imagine ourselves here? Woof. Anyway. On the docket for this weekend? Probably a lot of the same – we've been doing a lot of organizing lately and I'd like to start putting aside things to sell once the post office is deemed a safe place to go. Tomorrow will look a lot like today, a fact I need to come to grips with. Hope you're doing ok, xoxo.

Two posts from this week: Books to read while social distancing, and how to cope with job loss

If you're looking for a more sustainable alternative to tampons and pads now that grocery trips are few and far between, check out Thinx! New customers can save $10 off their order by shopping through my page – and you can learn why I like them here

My favorite cleansing oil is back in stock! Save 15% with the code 'Julie2'

I'll limit the amount of Covid info I share because I think we've all had to take in a lot, but found these two pieces interesting and poignant: That discomfort you're feeling is grief & how the coronavirus will change us

One of my favorite Reformation dresses is on sale right now (can't wait until date nights outside the house are a thing again)

Have you heard of the National Emergency Library? Fascinating and very cool (NYT)

Like most people, I've been living in my softest clothes recently – and looking to add a few pieces to my repertoire. Take 25% off at Lou & Grey – love the colors of this supersoft tee and these wide leg pants as an alternative to leggings (also eyeing this pretty sweater and these adorable shorts)

I've been focusing on getting my skin balanced during this time of less makeup and just bought this enzyme mask after testing it out earlier in the year, I've heard nothing but good things about it. I also picked up this simple face oil and love it so far

Because I think we all need this: the 100 best movies on Netflix right now

Sorry, one more: How to stay married during a pandemic

Thursday, March 26, 2020

How To Deal With Job Loss (From Someone Who Lost Their Job)

As I mentioned in my last post and on Instagram, Chris and I were both laid off from our jobs recently. This isn't the first time this has happened, but it is the first time we've faced job loss at the same time (we worked for the same company) – and with so much uncertainty. And we're not the only ones. While we may have been ahead of the trend when it came to losing our jobs, the days that followed proved we weren't alone. I now know more unemployed people than people with jobs – friends, family, neighbors – we're all going through it. And damn, job loss is tough even without a global pandemic threatening our health and safety. Whether you're laid off or fired – or a freelancer facing dropped jobs – job loss can be incredibly traumatic. The only thing I can compare it to is a bad breakup – one that leaves you feeling confused, abandoned, and unsure of what lies ahead.

When I began my professional career around 2007, the thought of losing my job for any reason was unimaginable – I saw it as a failure of myself. But having been laid off a couple of times since then, and having had to file for unemployment, I now know this is just a part of life. If there's anything these past few weeks and months have taught us, it's that there's no way to know what the future holds. I saw myself staying at the job I lost for the foreseeable future – I enjoyed my coworkers, I was learning, I liked what I did, I worked in a beautiful place – and I aligned with the company, but really, how long I stayed wasn't my choice to make. There's only so much we can control. Am I a pro at job loss? Ha, no. Thank goodness. But I've been through it, so I thought I'd share a bit of what I've learned (and am continuing to learn), in case you're going through this too. You're not alone in this:

Unfollow. Continuing to follow a former workplace – and at times, former co-workers too – on social media after a layoff or firing can be akin to following an ex after they've left you. Their posts popup in your feed, you see them looking all happy and moving on without you (maybe even hiring, to add insult to injury) – it hurts, it's stressful, and it doesn't help you move on. Continuing to follow them can add unnecessary pain to an already extremely painful and at times confusing experience. So I say it again: unfollow them on social media, at least for a time, and allow yourself some distance to heal.

Take time to grieve. Yes, grieve. Job loss is traumatic, and not recognizing it as such and attempting to move on before you're ready can make things worse. I know this firsthand: When I was laid off from my job at Etsy in 2017, I didn't allow myself ample time to process and grieve. That job meant the world to me – I felt like I'd finally gotten my shit together, only to have the rug pulled out from under me. And by jumping right back into frantically looking for work with a hastily pulled-together resume, I set myself up for a really rocky experience during my job search and at the job where I eventually landed afterward – and didn't last long at. In fact, I'm still talking about that experience with my therapist – partially due to the fact that I never allowed myself that time I needed. So, give yourself a little grace, space, and time to really process the experience, so that when you do jump into your job search, you can do so with clarity and confidence. It may be helpful to talk it out with a therapist – many therapists are offering video sessions, and there are several options when it comes to online therapy that could offer more affordable options.

It may be helpful during this time to count what you're thankful for. As much as I loved my Etsy job, losing it ultimately lead to us moving back to Maine – a dream that we thought was out of reach. It meant I no longer needed to hop a 5:45 am train to Brooklyn. Losing my most recent job means I'll no longer have to drive 120 miles round trip to get to my work site. It means Chris and I are able to spend more time with each other than we have in the past year. It means I could potentially take steps for a total career change – or just take some classes. As much as I'd rather be employed, it helps to find the silver linings. And more often than not, there are silver linings if you look for them.

Get your "house" in order. First and foremost, you'll need to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. If you were laid off from a larger employer, you most likely do – and if so, you'll want to file for benefits immediately. Don't wait to do this, in fact, do it before anything else. I think for a lot of younger people, the thought of filing for unemployment could seem like a failure, but listen to me when I say this: It's your right, it's meant as a way to keep the economy afloat (kind of a laughable concept right now, but still...), and it can help get you through so that hopefully you won't have to touch your savings. Then make sure you've signed any separation agreements and forms from your former employer, and if you need help deciphering them, consider checking in with an attorney.

After you've done the immediate tasks, you might want to consider taking a little time (see above) before you jump right into the job search. When I lost my job in 2017, I hopped on immediately, searching for jobs that most resembled what I was previously doing – without considering that maybe I'd want to do something else. By rushing things, I don't believe I gave myself the time I needed to really refine my resume and hone in my search to the positions that most excited me. This time around I'm trying to do things differently and take my time. For me, this looked like a solid week and a half of no-schedule-floundering, and then today, getting myself back to something that looked a little more like a normal schedule: waking up early, getting some (socially distanced) exercise, and doing some work.

That said, I won't be devoting every day of the week to my job search and freelance work, but focusing three (sometimes four) dedicated days to it. Why? Because I have stuff I want to do! Just because I got laid off doesn't mean I have to pay penance and not enjoy this time. While Chris and I are spending most of our time at home, there's plenty here that we want to accomplish, and I'm looking forward to having the time to do it. We've been cleaning, organizing, and I'm looking forward to finally getting a new Squarespace template installed so I can update my portfolio and this blog.

Call on your network. We need each other now more than ever. In the past, I felt so ashamed about getting laid off – worried what people would think, what they would assume – that I didn't ask for help when I needed it. Not so this time. And because I put it out there, I've received a few opportunities from friends for small jobs. When I'm eventually ready to begin applying, I'll also be reaching out and letting my network know I'm looking and available for work - freelance and otherwise. I'm not saying to ask your friends and network for free services – but this is a time when you could potentially lift each other up. Do you have something to offer that you can help them with? Do they have a project you could assist on (remotely of course)? Now is the time to call upon your networks to see how you could lift each other up.

I also believe strongly in leaving a job on the best possible terms. It's not easy, especially when you're being let go, but the connections you made at that job could help you land your next position – and you may need to call on your former employer for a recommendation. I'm not saying not to vent, but I recommend doing it off social media.

Losing a job isn't easy, especially right now, and to be honest, there's really no "right" way to go about dealing with the loss, but I hope this is helpful. If you want to talk more – please feel free to reach out on Instagram.

We will get through this. We will be ok.