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. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

45 Books to Read While Social Distancing – Recommended By You

A lot has changed since my last post. We've all learned just how much life can shift, the ground beneath our feet moving seemingly by the hour as reports and headlines bring fresh news of what to do – and what not to do, what we thought we were doing right, and what to do now. Chris and I have both lost our jobs, laid off last Friday due to the financial crisis and COVID-19 bringing the businesses we both worked for to a screeching halt – and since then, many of our friends are out of work too. But we have our health at this very moment to be thankful for, and an apartment to shelter us, which we haven't really left over the past week or so, save for a beach walk, a trip to tend to something for my father, and a trip to the grocery store that left me feeling stressed and anxious. We're leaning into staying in, accepting this as one of life's seasons. A difficult and scary one, but one that will pass and that we'll get through.

So while we pass this time at home – bundled up in our coziest loungewear – and spending time on quieter tasks, like baking, organizing, and cleaning literally everything, I thought I'd share some of the books that YOU have recommended to me (and a few I've read and am reading myself). I asked a few days ago on Instagram for your recs, and I've rounded up the books – and books by authors – you responded with. I also included a few I've read over the past several months and enjoyed.

As someone who is usually go-go-go, I'm trying to embrace this time of quiet and focus on things at home. Projects and hobbies that have been neglected in favor of work – I'm keeping cozy (loving these super soft pajamas and these chic activewear pieces for "getting dressed") and getting active when it strikes me (yoga is my movement of choice lately – I like these mats for a bit of cheer). but I'm not pushing it. I've seen a lot out there about "making the most" of this time (and no shade to those who cope by doing all the things) – but guys, I think maybe we can all give ourselves permission to slow down a little right now. So! Books below, and let me know on Instagram what you're reading (click on the image to be taken directly to the book):

Friday, March 6, 2020

Shopping for Spring & Weekend Links

Happy Friday! We've been treated to a little preview of spring this week in Maine and it has me feeling SO excited for warmer weather. I've been taking stock of my closet, pulling out what no longer serves me and making a list of what I'd like to add – just in time for the Shopbop Spring Event. You all know how much I love a Shopbop sale – they're the perfect time to snag that special item you've been eyeing or team up with friends and family to save on closet essentials (like these perfect cozy basics and these cheeky tees). So what's the deal?
The Shopbop Spring Event
Up to 25% off full-price styles with code SPRING
15% off orders of $200+
20% off orders of $500+
25% off orders of $800+

(sale ends March 8th at 11:59pm PT, some restrictions apply)

So good, right? I'm on the search for a pair of dainty strappy sandals to wear for spring wedding, a bright statement piece – loving that mixed floral midi dress! – and some classic '70s-inspired denim.

YUM - definitely making Celeste's collagen blueberry muffins this weekend

Will the millennial aesthetic ever end? (Do we need it to? Can we all just enjoy our spaces and stop worrying about how other people decorate their houses? I have thoughts...)

Related: when everything is "curated" - what does the word even mean?

What else on the sale front? For 24 hours Everlane is having a flash sale on their most popular pant! Love this style too in the new cocoa color (size down)

A place to leave behind your former self

How gorgeous are these new candles from PF Candle Co? This one sounds especially lovely

Finding lost fruit in Renaissance art 

OGEE is still offering 20% off sitewide! I've been using these cleansing cloths after the gym and love them for a quick skin fix

Dermatologists reveal the biggest skincare mistakes they see with patients (taking notes)

Speaking of skincare, I made the switch to this clean serum foundation this past week and LOVE IT so far – plus it contains a clean SPF! Pairing it with this priming serum. Interested in this new sunscreen for summer beach days - have you tried it?

Friday, February 28, 2020

Weekend Reading 2.28

Happy weekend! I'm going to be real with you – I'm a big ball of anxious, stressed out energy right now. Very tired, equally frazzled, trying to figure out how to maximize my time at home this weekend while I have a work event smack in the middle. It's been one of those weeks – it didn't go well, and all I want is some uninterrupted alone time. Hope your week was better than mine – and that you have a fun weekend planned! xo

Ogee is having a big anniversary sale! Save 20% off sitewide! A few of my favorites: the Cleansing Oil (seriously SO GOOD), the Sculpted Lip Oil in clear and Gardenia, and the Jojoba Glow Face Oil (I mix with a vitamin C powder to make a scrub)

Topical: How to wash your hands (see also, I can't stop touching my damn face)

So excited about the new United By Blue fanny packs! So cute, so handy - and 15% off with the code 'orchidgrey15'

My absolute favorite workout leggings come in fun new colorways – they seriously don't budge (also love the new St. Vincent collection)

How are we feeling about the return of the flare jean? I think I can get behind this minimal style from Everlane

Doja Cat's new video: a tribute to TRL (I can get behind this)

I got a second hole pierced in my ears last week and can't wait for it to heal so I can wear little hoops like these and these – so pretty paired with something like this

On being a "good girl" - important

Amazing news: Scotland is poised to become the first country to make period products free

One bed, two blankets - possibly the secret to getting a good night's sleep with a partner?

I received a sample of this fragrance in an order this week (got this, this and this) and it smells so good - fresh but not fake and just a touch masculine

Friday, February 14, 2020

How to Stay Warm with Shapewear

Hello. Welcome to February, otherwise known as that bad time of year when everything is grey, covered in dirty snow, and otherwise painful to move around in. Also, it's felt like the other worst time of year for the past three weeks: March. Am I whining? Yes. But you need to understand something: here in New England commenting on, and otherwise complaining about the weather could be considered an Olympic sport. A sport in which I am a passionate competitor. Going for gold you could say. I've slipped into a sort of ennui-driven style rut lately, only getting really dressed two or three times per week, so when I actually do make an effort, I like to look nice. But also be warm. But also not wear tights because I'm very, very over tights. Which is a tricky dance to do – so here I am offering you my tips for how to look cute but stay warm in wintertime.

See this outfit above? Looks simple enough, but underneath is a carefully constructed foundation of layers, comfy shapewear (yes, it exists), slips and even a pair of yoga leggings. Here's a handy guide for what to wear under that cute winter outfit so you don't catch cold:

Tops: Silk long underwear is your friend, friends. because I live in the land of LL Bean, I've been lucky enough to find several like-new silk thermal tops at thrift stores, but even purchased new they won't break the bank. These are thin enough to wear under close-fitting dresses and also provide an itch-proof layer beneath sweaters.

Another great way to layer tops is a thin modal turtleneck – super cute under slip dresses and they're a fun way to play with pattern and layers. Or get the best of both worlds with a sleek heatech turtleneck.

Middle: Keep your mid-section warm and makes your dresses fall nicely with the addition of good shapewear. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but in my opinion, the right shapewear can give outfits a more polished, finished look while also adding an extra layer of warmth. My go-to for under dresses like this is a good pair of shapewear shorts.

You could also consider adding or swapping-in a slip – easily found at the thrift store for a little more warmth and to keep your dress or skirt from sticking to your tights if you choose to wear them.

And of course, those yoga pants. I'm wearing a 3/4 length pair under this dress because it was cold but I didn't want the look of tights. Boom. Done. Yoga pants.

Bottom: And finally socks! Good socks. Thick socks. Wool socks. Or synthetic. None of this cotton business. Why? Because cotton stays wet and makes you colder. It's the first rule of dressing for the outdoors which applies to all outdoor situations, whether you're hiking or strolling downtown. My favorites are these for short boots, these for taller boots where I'll be showing them off, and these for any boot or shoe that will have the top concealed.

Of course a good jacket, hat, gloves and the occasional scarf are must-adds (I've been living in my fluffy blue topcoat and this orange hat lately)