Author Archive: momentpunch

Anna Howard Shaw Day

Valentine’s Day has to be the single worst day of the year.  It’s the only holiday where you may end up eating alone when you’re supposed to be eating with someone. Every other holiday has this – even MLK day is good for a round of beers with some friends.

Additionally, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be spending the day with someone aside from your co-workers (who receive flowers) or your friends (who post pictures on Facebook of flowers) or the cashier at Market Basket (who looks at you when you purchase yourself flowers).

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“Is there a MRS Kool-Aid man?”

 

Here’s a list of red non-Valentine’s Day related things to enjoy: Clifford the Big Red Dog, Starbucks Holiday cups (circa 2015), Redd Foxx, stop signs, the Staples ‘Panic’ button, Simply Red, sunburns, Red Robin and red wine. Lots and lots of red wine. I purposely omitted Red Hot Chili Peppers because they’re never enjoyable, but if you want to torture yourself more on this horrible day, be my guest! I’d thought about adding the Kool-Aid Man, but he might just be too sexual.

 

Those that have a significant other on this day say, “It’s no big deal. It’s just a stupid holiday that doesn’t mean anything.”

It does mean something, though, and maybe that attitude arises from the fact that they have someone that loves them every single day when, for some of us, it’s just a reminder that we don’t have that any day.

valentines-day-no-one

(Isn’t this a fun post so far?)

For some the day serves as a reminder of what you thought you had once. Maybe it reminds you that an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend you loved never really loved you at all. That they weren’t there for you: emotionally, physically, for more than a pre-determined amount of time, no matter what changes came up along the way, or for the reasons you thought. I don’t know anything about these situations, though, they’re perfectly hypothetical. At no point did an ex ever say something hurtful to me.

Maybe you’ve spent the last few months thinking that you’re not good enough, attractive enough or smart enough for anyone. I mean, maybe your partner basically told you you weren’t worth being treated as well as you’d always imagined being treated, on your birthday, during a family crisis.

And now it’s fucking Valentine’s Day. As if those “She’s your best friend and eats your farts and don’t you love her for consoling you on a porch?” Kay commercials for some fugly diamond heart-shaped Jean Seymour barf show weren’t bad enough, you have a whole day dedicated to this box-of-chocolates (diamonds) shit storm. A whole day to think about how you’ll continue doing things by yourself the majority of the time. A whole day of Lifetime meet-cute romantic movies where you start to think that maybe a gentleman will show up at your door spontaneously with some food because you’ve had a rough day.

Hang on, pizza’s here.

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You know nothing about my heart, JS.

 

Okay, back.

A whole day to think about how you have never once been on the receiving end of a romantic gesture or had someone do something to make you happy … even when you were in a relationship. Replenishing K-Cups does not count as a “gift” if you drank them. (I mean, I *imagine* this is the kind of thing that *could* happen to someone but did *not* happen to *me*. I also absolutely was not given three types of cat hair removal devices on my birthday.)

So, here’s the deal. Treat yourself well every single day, because there are no guarantees that anyone is going to do that for you. Buy yourself flowers (but not the Jane Seymour necklace. Your heart, open or not, is fine.). Don’t deprive yourself of doing what you want to do because you don’t have anyone to share it with. It doesn’t matter: You’ll come back with cool stories to tell your friends. Spend time volunteering or advocating for a cause you believe in.

Cut yourself some slack. And, if someone ever treats you like less than what you deserve, distance yourself. You’ll be better off without that in your life.

 

 

[2017 Goals] Loving Yourself

The past four days I’ve provided some tips and tricks on life skills management that have served me well or have had noted success. Finding the best methods for yourself will take some trial and error, but that’s okay. Just keep trying new things until something sticks. Don’t expect to fail, but accept it if it happens and find a solution.

When we’re trying to change things in our personal lives we can often times feel defeated before we even scratch the surface. This can lead to a lack of motivation, depression or feelings that we’re not good enough and that we’ll never be successful in certain areas. Realizing and accepting that we might fail is a step in loving ourselves. We’re all flawed and have things to work on and that is okay.

Over our lifetimes we build relationships with many different types of people of varying closeness. Sometimes it can be difficult to see that a person in your life isn’t treating you the way they should be. You should be treated with love, respect, honesty and treated as an equal.

Relationships are give and take. Surround yourself with people that see your worth and treat you well. If you are putting all your energy into meeting someone else’s needs while getting nothing in return, move on. No amount of energy spent on them is going to change how they treat you and they’ll just continue to take advantage of you while you hold out hope for a change in behavior. They are too wrapped up in themselves to care about you at all and none of that is your fault or responsibility. It is not your job to help someone else love themselves. There are a lot of really wonderful and amazing people in this world, find them.

I know plenty of people right now that are feeling marginalized by the incoming Presidential administration because they’re threatening to take away rights. As a woman, I feel disrespected in terms of health care, decision making, equal pay and being treated as though my opinions and requests for what I need are brushed under the rug. We question our self worth when others tell us that we are wrong because of who are at the core. It’s demeaning when powerful people are working against you because they don’t like what you represent to them. Their ignorance can affect how we feel about ourselves. Love yourself.

Now, a quick extra exercise: Yesterday I was at a management training and they guided us through creating our management brand. Okay, yes, “brand” is a yucky word, but hear me out. Your brand is a short phrase that identifies individual management style by using the three words that describe who we are when we are at our best followed by two words for what we stand for. This was immensely helpful in figuring out my style and the results were not surprising.

If you get a chance this weekend take some time to think about those three words and what you stand for in your personal life. How are you when you’re at your best? What do you stand for? How do you want people to describe you? What do you want people to get out of interacting with you?

Hopefully these posts over the last few days have confirmed just how successful you are in your eyes. If you have work to do on yourself, just know that you’re not alone. We’re all struggling in some way and can support each other as we navigate our way to completely loving ourselves unconditionally because we’re all wonderful and have so much to offer.

 

[2017 Goals] Part Four: Organization

Because organization (and cleanliness) are forever on my to do list, I have a plethora of resources to send your way! This is going to blow your mind.

January Cure with Apartment Therapy
This is saving my life right now. Each day Janelle from Apartment Therapy emails me a new assignment to complete and I usually do them, but always mean to do them. Last week I cleaned out my pantry. It took 15 minutes. It was awesome! This isn’t overwhelming and not every task involves cleaning, but also planning. It’s getting me on the right track towards a more organized household.

Designate One Thing a Day to Toss
If mass clean outs aren’t your thing, take a decent sized box and add one item you no longer want or need to it every day. I know people that follow the In One, Out One method where they have to get rid of one item for every new one they bring in.

Scan Important Documents
Paper adds up and somehow multiples itself into multiple piles. If you feel like you’re drowning in paperwork and it’s taking up a lot of space, scan it and toss the paper. Paper statements are quickly being phased out and you can download your monthly statements with banks, electric companies, charge cards, internet.

Konmari
While Konmari is fascinating, it has no place in my house. I like stuff and the memories associated with my stuff which meets the requirement of keeping clothing and items around that “spark joy.” She has a lot of great ideas about organizing (especially clothing) and showing appreciation for your items before you send them on to their next life.

But look at her house.

 

So, once you clean out your old clothes and belongings – what do you do with them?

ThredUp
I’ve written about ThredUp before. It remains one of my favorite places to do second-hand online shopping. If you’re itching to get rid of clothes, accessories and shoes but don’t have a drop off place nearby, request a free clean out bag from ThredUp. Send them whatever you have and they’ll recycle the clothing they can’t sell and sell the others on their website. You only end up with 10% of what they sell the item for, but it’s credit you can cash out or use towards future purchases. Plus, it’s hassle free.

Freecycle
Use this online hand me down system to just give your stuff away. I’ve seen some crazy stuff posted on Freecycle and other buy nothing groups (check Facebook for these) so if you’re not sure someone will want it, it’s worth the effort.

This is also great for requesting items – either to have or borrow. And also keep a look out for things people are requesting, it may be a good opportunity to thin out your mug collection. You’ll be helping someone and reducing waste.

Decluttr
If you have CDs or DVDs taking up too much space, download the declutter app and scan your items. They tell you much they’ll pay you for each item and if you have a load to unload, it might add up to a decent amount of money. (Thanks to my Dad for discovering this one!)

Check out some other decluttering and organization apps that Real Simple put together. 

 

 

[2017 Goals] Part Three: Wellness

The decision to separate health and wellness was an easy one. At times we can feel so let down by our health struggles and our progress reaching person goals that it’s easy to get into a negative tail spin and let your own self care suffer. In order to take care of others, we need to take care of ourselves first. So many of us put others needs above our own, but when we do that we’re not at our best for ourselves or our loved ones.

For me, wellness has always been about being emotionally healthy while health had focused more on the physical aspect of caring for oneself. Everyone processes things differently. Some get their energy from social interactions while others get burnt out.

The good news is: You’re an adult! You can say ‘no’ to things and the best part is…You don’t even need a reason. You just don’t have to do shit you don’t want to do. How great is that!?

Unplug
Been chatting with some friends today about just how stressful Trump’s first press conference has been. Anxiety, hopelessness, negative emotions. Take time to unplug and set some intentions. No television, social media, texting, etc. Just be present with yourself tonight and set some intentions for the year ahead.

Meditate, read, find down time
The last two months were crazy hectic. Between shopping, cooking, working, running to parties, pageants and all those holiday shenanigans, it’s common to feel the need to refresh and recharge. Do whatever you need to clear your mind and take care of yourself.

A Change of Scenery…
Finding time to take a vacation to recharge may be impossible due to many logistics, but it is so important to experience a change of scenery for a day or at least an afternoon. Take a quick road trip to an undiscovered town. If you’re in the city, get out and go hiking. If you’re in the ‘burbs, walk around the city and people watch.

Journal
There are so many different types of journals available. One of my favorites that Kim over at Domestocrat turned me on to is the One Line a Day journal, perfect for those that don’t have the time to sit and write out every thought, but want to commemorate the day. Bullet Journaling is a great way to combine journal/schedule/personal tracking into one artistic masterpiece. It’s yours to make up as you go.

Take Part in a New Activity
Everyone has that one thing they wish they could do, but don’t have the time or know how to go about doing it. Learn the thing! Find a class, watch a YouTube video, teach yourself, ask friends that already do the thing and ask them to show you how to do the thing. You’re not trying to become a pro-[the thing] so just do the thing when you can do the thing. No pressure, just fun. Do the thing!

Cut it out!
If something in your life is bringing you stress, find a way to change it. I know that sounds so basic, but hear me out. Often times we feel like we are stuck where we are and with what we have. If you find yourself in a toxic environment whether it be work, friendships, romantic relationships etc – Find your way out. This is one of those instances where you need to put your needs above others and do what is truly best for you. Once you cut out that stress, oh man, it’s like a totally new perspective. Also, your never ending headache and anxiety goes away. Cool, right!?

Netflix and Chill
Understand when you need to take that time to stay home and binge watch Friends (again). It’s okay. You got this.

 

Need to get organized for 2017? I’m giving away a free, fancy planner. To enter, share below how you practice self-care. Share! 

[2017 Goals] Part Two: Health

Get a physical
Let’s jump right in: get a physical. If you’re lucky enough to have health insurance you are entitled to year physical free of charge. No co-pay, no deductible. If you haven’t had a physical in years (or ever), get one. Although you may feel healthy, you may have questions or concerns about your general health and seeing your practitioner that knows you and your family history, is the best place to go for answers. If you’re using WebMD, just go get a physical. Hopefully it’ll help ease your mind and provide extra assurance. Plus, a focus on preventative care and interventions is the direction our health care system is headed in. Be trendy.

Now, on to taking care of your body…

Getting back on track after the holidays can be challenging. You’ve been eating warm, comfort food for two months and it’s only getting colder. All your social gatherings have increased your alcohol and sugar intake and decreased the amount of time spent at the gym and eating healthy. (Don’t worry so much about the gym. It’s really about your diet, the exercise is supposed to be fun.)

Join a Diet Bet 
If you’re looking for a way to get back on track or begin your weight loss journey, joining a diet bet is a great way to maintain motivation. The average diet bet is between $25 and $35 and those that meet their goal get a cut of the final pot. I’m currently involved in my first one and so far it’s helping me get back in to my old gym routine and eat healthier.

Take a class – don’t join a gym (yet!)
Sure, gyms and fitness centers have fantastic deals every new year, but they’re so crowded with new members that it’s difficult to navigate and keep up a routine. Plus, if working out is new to you, it may take a little while for you to figure out what gym will best meet your needs.

Taking a class is helpful in determining just that. If you love spinning, look for a gym or spin studio that offers classes that meet your schedule. If you enjoy it and it’s convenient you’re far more likely to stick with it. If you take a spin class and hate it, try something else. Maybe power lifting is your jam or swimming or both!

If you hate working out, don’t quit – you’re bound to find something you enjoy.

Don’t restrict yourself too much
At every Weight Watchers meeting before Thanksgiving the leader asks you to design your dinner plate. How much of your plate is dedicated to turkey? Stuffing? Green beans? While some are conservative, I always filled my plate (and sometimes asked for an extra sheet). Thanksgiving is the best meal I eat all year and what’s more important than what I eat that day is what I eat every day after that.

Same goes for vacations, birthdays, other holidays. If you want a piece of cake, eat it, because chances are you’re going to eat everything else to satiate that need and end up eating the piece of cake anyway. I speak from experience here, you guys.

Cook More
If there was one thing I never had to do again for the rest of my life I would choose cooking. Thanks to companies like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot, you can have fresh ingredients with creative, healthy recipes delivered weekly to your home. Graze will deliver a weekly box of healthy snacks to your home (Use codeDANAB842P for a free box). It’s worth the extra cost and takes away the need to navigate a super market.

Since I still struggle with following recipe directions and identifying a cucumber from a zucchini, I’m prone to make bowls of stuff. Just use brown rice, couscous or quinoa as a base, add some chia seeds, throw in some veggies and a protein. It’s easy, quick and helps you use up all that extra produce.

Sleeeeeeeeeeep
The greatest discovery of last year came when I realized going to bed at 9:30/10pm is the best thing I can do for myself. A restful night sleep gives me the focus and energy I need for the day ahead without needing a 5pm power nap.

Last night I had to force myself to stay away past 8pm so I could do all my meal prep. I forced myself to stay awake to be a better adult. What a world.

Need to get organized for 2017? I’m giving away a free, fancy planner. To enter, comment below with either your favorite work out song or a link to a favorite healthy recipe. Share! 

 

 

(Opinions are my own. No monetary compensation received for writing about the above companies. I endorse the above products because I have used them.) 

[2017 Goals] Part One: Money

(Disclaimer: Below are some tips and tricks that I have used to create a budget, control spending and plan for the future. I’m not a financial advisor. (This should be obvious.))

Dave Ramsey is bae
All of this dude’s financial advice makes perfect sense to me. If you are someone with credit card debt (and who doesn’t have even a small amount after the holidays?), Ramsey has an excellent plan for paying it off while saving to prevent a future credit usage.

First, put $1000 in savings for an emergency fund. This may take some time so do not become discouraged if this takes months or longer to do. By having these funds in savings, you’re prepared in the event of an emergent home or car repair or purchasing a big ticket item for a bridal or baby shower. If you want to save a little more to create a better cushion, do so, but it’s better to put your energy into the next step.

If you have more than one credit card, pay the minimum on your card(s) with the higher balance and contribute the most to the card with the lowest balance. This helps to build momentum which Ramsey states is key in making progress in paying down your debt.

The Envelope System
One of the reasons why I love this system is that I hate spending cash. I feel an immense sense of pride by just having cash on me. This helps control spending by allotting a specific amount of cash to different necessary (and unnecessary!) categories.

Every two weeks I put $60 in Grocery, Dining Out, Incidentals (cat food/liter, gas, toiletries) and Fun (movies, records, shows) for a total of $240. $60 goes a long way during those two weeks and helps me to become more creative when I am choosing how to spend my time socially.

Smarty Pig
I’ve been using Smarty Pig for a few years to meet my savings goals. Not only does it have one of the highest interest rates available, but it’s easy to use and let’s you create and contribute to multiple goals. If you’re saving for something big like a vacation or smaller like a special set of knives, you can create separate goals and add as little or as much as you’d like whenever you would like.

Much like Ramsey’s idea behind saving $1000 prior to paying down your credit card debt, you don’t notice the smaller deductions to your savings account and you’re also not spending money you don’t have when the time comes for that vacation or set of knives.

Honey Extension for Google Chrome
If you’re a user of Google Chrome, you need to add the Honey extension to your web browser. The extension automatically runs through every discount available while you’re checking out of whatever website you’re shopping on. This is especially useful for smaller companies and I have saved upwards of 25% from multiple websites.

Swagbucks
This one is great if you have a lot of time on your hands. Earn Swagbucks by watching videos, taking surveys and shopping on eligible websites. Your earned Swagbucks can be redeemed for gift cards  or turned in to charitable donations.

Need to get organized for 2017? I’m giving away a free, fancy planner. To enter, comment below with your favorite money management website or tips for financial success. Share! 

2016 Concert Recap

This year has proved that I am a creature of habit. There are a few repeats on this list, but they’re well worth it. Boston Calling graced us with their Greatest Line-Up Ever. And I saw Beyonce (again)!

Curmudgeon Note: I feel like more and more people go to shows these days just to see if they’re able to talk over the music. My favorite venue, The Sinclair, has a separate bar area/lobby where you’re still able to hear the music and see the show while not ruining anyone’s experience. Literally no one does this. Just go home, turn the album up real loud and then yell at your friend about your upcoming business meeting or your wild card friend that hasn’t shown up yet. Spare me, please.

January 23rd, Torres (w/Palehound) at Great Scott, Allston, MA
Torres is not an easy sell to your average music fan. Her performance was just as raw as the tracks on her album and everyone stood in awe of emotion she put behind it.


February 22nd, Lee Fields and The Expressions at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
One of my favorite shows from this past year. Lee Fields can get it. The connection between him and the audience is palpable and he thrives off of that energy. This was a truly romantic evening.

March 31st, Yacht Rock Review at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
YBR is best enjoyed wearing aviators and a captain’s hat. The baby boomer woman inside of me freaked out over “Arthur’s Theme” and “My Old School” (or any Steely Dan song for that matter.) They put on a hell of a show, but I unfortunately left at intermission. They’re coming back this March, so check them out.

April 14th, San Fermin at Paradise Rock Club, Allston, MA
Prior to the show I ran into a friend of mine outside the venue who was also there for the show. She told me she bought a ticket because I had raved about them. Another strong performance. These are like the most talented musicians in the world, guys.

May 5th, Lapsley at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
First of all, I want her chambray duster. Scratch that, I want to be cool enough to pull off a chambray duster. Lapsley was still a teen at this performance, but, much like Adele, her songs make you think that she has lived a lifetime of heartbreak and relationship strife.

May 12th, Mirah at Club 939, Boston, MA
Confession: I bought tickets to this show and was really looking forward to it, but the Spurs were facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and I didn’t want to miss what would end up being Tim Duncan’s last game ever. From what I heard – It was wonderful.

May 27th-29th, Boston Calling Music Festival at City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA
To write about every act here would be just too much, but my favorite performances were Courtney Barnett, Charles Bradley, and Lizzo with top honor going to Janelle Monae. Least favorite performance was Robyn, but I know that her club remix tour was not intended for me. We cool, Robyn.

May 29th, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
Okay, so I love Charles Bradley. Even though I saw him earlier that day at Boston Calling, I needed to go see him at The Sinclair. He is ROMANCE personified. He’s also the first man to ever give me a rose and only one of like two dudes that ever gave me flowers. Step it up, Future Boyfriends. You need to be on par with Charles Bradley. (Side note: Charles was diagnosed with stomach cancer this past fall and has been undergoing treatment. Reports have stated that he is doing really well. Get well soon, Charles xoxoxo).


(I want this to be my wedding song.)

June 3rd, Beyonce at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
QUEEN! I’d seen Beyonce on her last solo tour at the Garden, but she is meant to be EXPERIENCED outside. Fireworks! Pools filled with water being splashed around in and kicked into the audience! Songs about people getting the f*ck outta your face! Seeing this show with some of best girlfriends (who are also some of the strongest people I know) made this night spectacular.

June 19th, Wye Oak at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
I’ll admit that I’m not a huge Wye Oak fan or regularly listen to their music, but they put on a wonderful performance that was much more upbeat and engaging than their music would let on.

July 15th, Rebirth Brass Band at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA
They’re just so great.

July 23rd, Flight of the Conchords at Blue Hill Bank Pavilion, Boston, MA
Sad to say this show was disappointing. They were hard to hear and understand outside at the pavilion. They played only a few songs, one of which clocked in around 17 minutes and was about Bret being Jemaine’s son or something.

July 28th, Garbage at House of Blues, Boston, MA
Holy cats does Garbage still kick ass. I’ve been holding out hope for a reunion tour that I could attend. Like I’ve said in the past I have to really, REALLY like the performer to step foot in the House of Blues (which was hot as hell this night, of course). I was having one of those moments where I didn’t realize how many of their songs I knew or were popular. It’s like P!nk. I like every song of hers, but I’m not aware of how many there are. I still want to be Shirley Manson when I grow up.

September 13th, Jenny Lewis at the Wang Center, Boston, MA
This was such a special performance as she played all of Rabbit Fur Coat in order alongside the Watson Twins. After a brief intermission she played songs from her other two albums and Rilo Kiley’s “I Never.” I hadn’t payed that much attention to RFC, I think I am the only one who prefers Acid Tongue, but it was such an emotionally charged performance (especially the title track) and I gained a new appreciation of the album.
Also, an oil painting opened for her.

November 19th, Letters to Cleo at the Paradise, Boston, MA
omg omg omg omg omg
FINALLY! I ended up with an extra ticket to this show and was shocked that I couldn’t find someone that wanted it, but it doesn’t matter because I got to see Letters to Cleo how I was supposed to: at the dank Paradise.

November 20th, Letters to Cleo at The Sinclair, Boston, MA
While it was great to see them tear it up at the ‘dise, I met Kay Hanley and was leaning on the stage for the entirety of this show. I could barely see at the Paradise (a normal occurence) so to see every expression and gesture shared between them was terrific. It’s obvious that they still love performing with each other. Plus, had a wonderful girl squad for this one too.

December 4th, Lizzo at Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
Lizzo deserves the world. I had been feeling down on myself for a number of reasons that weekend so to spend the night with a body-positive feminist who can rap as well as she can sing was pretty great. I’m so happy for her success and hope that she is showered with love for years to come.

Dating Bingo!

One of my goals for this year was to entirely avoid online dating. I managed to stay away from it for almost 11 months, but now I’m back. And it’s just as terrible as ever!

Below is a BINGO card created for you to use while you peruse Okcupid, Match, Our Time or Farmers Only. Once you yell BINGO your prize is drinking so much that you forget your password and can never log in to the site again. Go out and do stuff instead like swap war stories with others in the same position as you or take up a new hobby or float away in the ocean. Literally anything else.

This one is for the ladies seeking gentlemen. Guys, you can try to use it, but I imagine your experiences are different. Since I’m not a dude, I don’t feel comfortable creating one for you, but feel free to comment with your own examples. I’m equal opportunity and would love to create one for you as well.

Thanks to my friend Janine for sharing her experiences and creating this baller BINGO card. unnamed

Starting Over

Yesterday I volunteered at a half marathon in an attempt to meet new people. Aside from realizing that I actually have no interest in meeting new people, I became nostalgic for when I was at my fittest and happiest. I was running, I was hiking, I was zumba..ing?

It’s been about a year since I stopped monitoring my weight and I’ve gained back almost everything I lost. I use “almost” because I have not stepped on the scale lately. It could be more than my original starting weight, I don’t know. I’m terrified to look. The one thing I took away from Weight Watchers (other than those egg cups that you add water to are disgusting) is that I didn’t gain this weight overnight, so I won’t be losing it overnight either.

The weight came back while I was ignoring the gym in favor of my biostatistics class, falling in love, undergoing treatment for my back. My gym routine became boring because everything I had to do was low impact. My pants got tighter in the thighs. My boyfriend and I would crush a Bota Box over the course of a weekend. My shirts became too short and tight. I went on wonderful vacations and told myself I would pay better attention when I returned home, but I didn’t.  I stopped preparing my meals. Pumpkin Muffins came back at Dunkin Donuts. I ordered new winter jackets a size up and expected them to fit, but they barely zipped and buttoned. The entire time I knew that I needed to be paying better attention to my caloric intake and physical activity, but I had excuses.

And here we are. Again.

I made good on two of the promises I had for myself this year. I promised myself I would travel more and I put a lot of my focus into work and school which has been rewarding so it’s not all bad. My health isn’t the only thing that fell by the wayside this last year and I’m looking forward to getting back into doing the things I love that make me the happiest #shaqbrunch.

Right now there’s a lot of hate, anger and sadness going on in our country. In these situations it’s so easy to become fixated on the negative and wrapped up in proposed changes that affect our friends and loved ones. More than ever it’s important to take care of ourselves so we can be our best for other people. But don’t let your need to help others affect your own self-care. You are important.

[Review] Gwynnie Bee

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by Gwynnie Bee. I took advantage of their 1 free month promotion for new members. The opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own. The link to Gwynnie Bee posted is my personal referral link. 

Tim Gunn’s op-ed regarding the state of fashion choices available for plus size women is spot on. So much of what is currently on the market is unappealing to a national audience. There was a demand for more trendy and designer stores which has led to over saturation. It’s not that I don’t want to wear spaghetti strap dresses (even though I don’t) because of the way I look, it’s that they’re not work appropriate and I have yet to reconcile my relationship with cardigans. I struggled this summer trying to find appropriate wear to work dresses. It was frustrating AF.

Enter Gwynnie Bee a subscription based clothing rental website for sizes 10-30 . I’ll admit that I put all my biz cash eggs in this basket. If you’ve ever tried Le Tote (sizes 0-16), Gwynnie Bee  operates the same way. You create an account, browse their offerings, add pieces you’d like to receive to your wardrobe and once you have save 25 items, they’ll start shipping them out to you.

GB costs $90/mo for their three at a time option which I feel is far too much for what little options they have. I prioritized 10 of my items out of the 25 in my wardrobe, but none of the items I received were my priorities. The two sweater dresses currently headed my way are unwearable in this unseasonably warm fall. I sweat enough already.

A far as options are concerned they offer a wide variety of designers including Jessica Howard, IGIGI, Seven by Melissa McCarthy, Poppy and Bloom and Eloquii. This summer showcased a specially designed for Gwynnie Bee line from Rachel Antonoff featuring cute animal and fruit patterns. These brands can be challenging to find in stores and having the option to have them sent to you is a game changer.

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A peek inside my Gwynnie Bee wardrobe. That dress on the left tho.

There are a few issues though. Many of the items they offer are rated low by members due to fit cutting down on the number of options available. The things you really want to receive are often unavailable when you want them. This has made finding 25 items that I would actually want to wear a daunting task. I was really hoping they would offer some basic outfit staples, but it’s mostly prints, dresses and awkwardly cut tops.

Returning items is a cinch. Once you’ve decided that you’re done wearing something (which you can return dirty, by the way), you notify GB through their website and they’ll begin prepping your next item. You mail back the dirty dress in one of the prepaid envelopes they’ve sent you and wait for the next package.

Overall, I really like the concept. I fluctuate between sizes and it’s nice to have temporary options available. However, I don’t think spending $90/mo on clothing is reasonable. Especially when compared to Le Tote’s $60/mo for a greater variety. I much prefer the Stitch Fix model of surprise clothes for $20 and buying what I want.

Right now I am giving GB another shot thanks to their half price WE MISS YOU promotion. I’m hoping to find one or two things to add to my fall wardrobe and try some styles I haven’t before. I’m not expecting to continue my membership when this promotion ends, but I could be pleasantly surprised!

If you’d like to give Gwynnie Bee a try and form your own opinion,  you can test it out free for 30 days here.