Posted by & filed under On Fashion.

Let me just get one thing straight first: I’m not a hoarder. At all, by any means, I don’t hoard. In fact, quite the opposite – I love going through stuff and giving things to charity, cleansing out, starting fresh. It’s basically cathartic to me, like listening to Britney while workin’ it on the Elliptical and finishing with a scoop o’ mint chocolate chip. (You know you do it, too).

The last time I was at my parents’ house, though, I decided to clear out more of my old room. Innocent enough, right? HA. Of course not.

I threw out oodles of butterfly notepads, fruit-shaped erasers, and old magazines. Out went the Soffe shorts with dry rot waistbands, and – best of all – a still-wrapped rainbow lollipop of male genitalia from my Sweet 16 birthday party. Sick 16-year-olds.

My blast into the past resulted in clothes from the Target Girls Department circa 2003 and brighter-than-bright oversized graphic tees circa the 80’s. I mean, they were mom hand-me-downs, so they were from the 80’s. You decide: charming-to-the-soul vintage, or harming-to-the-eyes vintage?

Either way, I found these goodies too good to not share.

Please note, the crappy iPhone pictures are supposed to metaphorically represent the caveman-esque time where quality technology was non-existant and anything went when it came to modeling.

I went through my childhood closet and found…

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Was anyone else on the Happy Bunny train? It’s like a sassy 7-year-old crossed paths with a caution cone.

 

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I knew these had to go when I found a photo from my 4th grade sleepover party where these were my kickass PJ’s of choice. Size 12 girls. Like what.

 

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“No strings attached.” Get it? It’s Pinnochio? Gotta love punny cartoon t-shirt things from Kmart.

 

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Aerospeed. 100% most definitely from my mother’s wardrobe’s past life. Maybe 70′s, maybe 80′s… All I know is it’s bright pink with purple polka dots and more color. Kaleidoscope shirt.

 

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In honor of my 5th grade basketball superstar self. My collegiate intramural self would be proud. But really though, this shirt.

 

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I don’t know what’s worse: The fact that this was a “crop top” tee back in the day, or that I duck-faced for this picture. And peace-signed it. Stop, Erica.

 

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These sweatpant bermuda shorts were clearly only made better by adding a rhinestone butterfly in the season’s hottest creamsicle colors.

 

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When all else fails, add more Happy Bunny. I mean, “Crazy on the Inside” is the best caption to wear out and about in today’s day and age, amiright?

 

AND NOW. My personal favorites. These are near and dear to my heart thought. Because, as I can’t believe I’m about to admit on the friggin’ INTERNET…I still wear these.

Mind you, they’re also from the Girls’ Department. In Target. From the clearance rack. Where I spent…wait for it…$1.74 per skirt.

$1.74. One dollar and 74 cents. I can’t make this up, guys.

So naturally, I bought one in each color.

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Turquoise florals.

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Summer white florals.

 

What’s the craziest thing you’ve found in your old closet?

I’m looking to unearth the ghosts of your closets past, so lay ‘em on me here, people! Most wacky trend, ridiculous fabric, crazy size or weirdest print, I. Want. Them. All. On the blog…not in real life. You can Goodwill those.

Lastly, have you joined the movement? Even if you’re “not a blogger,” have you thought about what YOU ARE? And you should enter to win a Yo Soy candle at least, because who couldn’t use more Rosemary Mint smelling things in their lives?

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Posted by & filed under On Life.

Too often, we sell ourselves short. We tell ourselves that we’re not pretty enough, not strong enough, not smart enough. Society fuels our ideas of what we should be, and we don’t get credit for the good that we already are. Instead of fueling the “not” in our lives, take a minute to remind yourself of everything you are. It might take a couple seconds to get in the groove, and it might feel awkward at first. But too often we limit ourselves. Eliminate limits. Take a second to think – unabashedly – about everything that makes you sparkle. Start writing it down, and watch your list grow as the oddities that make you shine become more and more transparent.

I decided to create a whole little exercise out of this thought. It all started with a Cucumber Wasabi Cilantro candle that I received from an empowering woman named Adair and her little business, Yo Soy Candles. My affinities for witty wording, candles, self-empowerment and paella all combined into one. “Yo Soy” means “I am” in Spanish, and these soy candles (soy…”yo soy”…get it???) have an “I am” label on top for you to jot down an affirmative reminder for yourself. This little reminder is what got me thinking.

I had no idea what to write on it. I could write a slue of random phrases or ideas of what I might be, some being funny or poking fun at my quirkiness. But when it came time to pick one thing that really “defines” who I am, I struggled.

After some reflection and having to say to Boyfriend, “Hey, what am I?” I decided for myself: I’m unafraid.

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“Unafraid” might be more of a wish than an actuality, because I still have fear in life. But, I think I can sense in myself a determined effort to let fear slide away as I replace it with realistic confidence and Philippians 4:13.

With that, here’s what I am. I would lovelovelove for you to link-up below with your own “I am’s.” If we’re lucky, we can spark a little movement of self-affirmation and empowerment, where we help each other recognize the beauties in one another instead of immediately looking to self-deprecate and point out our flaws and insecurities.

And after sparking our own internal fires, you’ll have the chance to win one of these fiery beauts below…

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I am…

- full of a unique perspective on life and branding and happiness and success.

- beautiful.

- blessed.

- humbled by the works of incredible people before me and around me.

- always equipped with red lipstick and and dry oil to tame summer flyaways.

- in love with the love of my life.

- relaxing after a long work day in the city while my love makes dinner. Again, blessed.

- able to talk myself into eating a cupcake with little guilt. Moderation, people.

- also able to talk myself into a can of whipped cream when I’m just not feelin’ moderation.

- getting stronger from lifting at the gym. I’ve got a routine down, and I’m empowered every time I feel myself upping my weights.

- fluent-ish in Spanish. I never thought I’d get good enough to make it in a foreign country, but I did, and I can’t wait to do it again someday.

- smart. Really smart. Not always the most street smart, but getting there, slowly but surely.

- still rockin’ a curling iron in the age of wand. They say to give second chances, but I’ve been burned one too many times by this one…

- confident enough to not need constant reassurance. But that’s not to say I don’t appreciate you appreciating my good hair days…humidity works against me, and it’s a hard fought battle when won. So, thanks for caring.

- going to wear overalls, maxis, joggers and skater skirts long after they’re “haute.” Come at me, Vogue.

- obsessed with Scandal and completely unashamed. I mean, who isn’t?

- feeling inspired by the love and aspiration that surrounds me.

- good at communicating. I pride myself in having a knack for knowing good ways to get various points across, all with a situational perspective and prowess.

- good at connecting people. Someday, I plan on having my own media group and/or matchmaking business and/or PR and branding full-service agency. It’s all about the connections, baby.

- motivated by good quotes on coffee mugs and babies laughing.

- tactful enough to not call people out on being smartbutt biotches when all I wanna do is call them a smartbutt biotch. You get what I’m saying’?

- finally feeling like it’s OK to not know all the answers. And this feels incredible.

- craving an upside down Hawaiian pizza with sweet sauce and thin crust from the best pizza place on earth.

- in love with learning, and always wanting more knowledge. Knowledge isn’t power – it’s just essential.

- finally getting better at parallel parking. Sometimes, the third time is just the charm.

- still not able to pull an academic all nighter, and still not concerned about it. Not worth it, never will be.

- becoming more patient. THAT, my friends, is an achievement.

- going to learn Polish. There. I said it on the internet, so now I’m held to it.

- so lucky to have my mom and dad in my life like I do. I’ve been shaped because of them.

- still prone to laughing at socially unacceptable moments. Can’t win at everything…

- unafraid of being myself.

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To help you celebrate yourself, Yo Soy is giving away a full size Rosemary Mint candle for your own inspiration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now I need to know what YOU are. Get to bragging about your best self, because we could all use a little reminder now and then about who that best self is! Post your ‘I am…’ story on your own space and share it by linking up below.


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Posted by & filed under On Love.

**Erica’s note: Happy Hump Day, to one and all! In celebration of this otherwise seemingly normal Wednesday, I’ve brought my one and only back to the blog. He was a big hit here on Valentine’s Day, and – without getting too mushy – he’s my favorite person on the planet. I love when the boyf takes over here, so be sure to comment below if you do, too! Without further adieu…

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She’s my soon-to-be feme covert.  If you’ve never heard of that term before I can’t fault you since I had never heard of it either until I googled “synonym for soulmate.”  That’s what Erica is to me: my soulmate for life and beyond.

However…

Before we transition to happily ever after, there has to be the “transition stage”: living with each other.  Thus, enjoy my five favorite moments of discovery (from five to one!):

5. Morning Bagels.

I thought I’d have some quirky things to say at numero cinco, but I have to admit that Erica blows me away with consistent morning bagels and love notes.  Seriously.  With salt.  You know if your gal puts a dash of sodium on your breakfast that she wants you long-term.  (Note: Soldiers used to be paid in salt instead of money; they used the salt to preserve their meat; Erica is preserving our relationship.  Get it?  I digress.)

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4. Mid-morning back rubs.

I’m not sure if she remembers them, but there have been six times I woke up during the middle of the night with her tickling my back.  Seriously.  Subconsciously she rocks, too!

 

3. Tie: She cleans dishes and makes brownies for me.  She makes brownies and cleans dishes from me.

Yes. Brownies.  Dark chocolate brownies.  I’m not sure if they were really for me though since guys don’t typically enjoy dark chocolate, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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2. Date nights.

Date nights used to be the weekends, but now they’re almost every night.  How awesome is that?  Seriously.  Wine on Mondays.  Brownies on Tuesdays.  Random trips to Rita’s.  Or maybe these dates are just make ups for the hair I find in the bath tub drain?

And.

Number 1.

 

1. Her.

I mean, come on, did you really think it’d be any other answer?  It is HER blog.  But seriously, her.  I get to spend every day with my best friend, who happens to cook, clean, kiss, and love me.  I’d throw another picture of dark chocolate brownies in here, but you get the point.

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A million thanks to the lovebug for being the rockstar support system and human being that he is.

A note from me now…

Taking the plunge and moving in together with your S.O. – even for a summer – can be a complete whirlwind of emotions. It’s exciting and thrilling, to now get seemingly endless time together (sans work…#realworld), but it can be nerve wracking and daunting, too. What if I get to be annoying? What if he thinks I have too much stuff? What happens if we have an argument…we can’t just hang up, regroup, and call each other back – this is real time and we’re under the same roof! 

This could be a whole post by itself, but my views on moving in with your love have evolved drastically as my own relationship developed. I guess some could say they evolved because I fell in love. I like to think that they evolved because I got to thinking seriously about my future in every sense once I hit college. I mean, really thinking seriously. Once I sensed that Boyfriend could be THE Boyfriend, I became more open to the idea of living together for a period of time. But I don’t think I did it “to see if I could really live with him,” as I’ve heard so many people recommend to others before taking bigger steps in the relationship.

I did it because I just love spending time with him, and having the whole summer to hang out after work, cook dinner, go swimming and binge watch new TV series with my best friend just seemed like a dream. Like any dream, it has it’s rougher moments and times when it needs to breathe. But it’s so worth it.

Have you lived (or do you live) with your significant other? What did you learn? What makes you happy about living with your love?

Let the love(ly) comments commence! I’m off to scarf down some Mint Cookies n’ Cream froyo and read Ad Week magazine. Ahhh, hump day.

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