Turn A Cold Shoulder to These Even Colder Skies

I am so. over. winter. I can't say I hate a whole lot of things, but having to wear multiple pairs of pants just to tolerate the weather (not even to be comfortably warm) just topped my list. If it doesn't start getting warm (or at least consistently sunny) pretty soon here, I will probably go insane. My whole winter hasn't been grumpy though. Here are some tidbits I uncovered on my phone, including an outfit post!

Stepped out of the cold and into a favorite bagel shop one day to find these stunning loom art pieces. This is 100% the kind of art that I would like to have hanging in my future-house. Too bad even one of the less-intricate ones of these guys cost upwards of $800.
Been spending a lot of time cuddling with this precious little pumpkin and she's not even mine. There's a good chance that when N's roommate moves in a couple months, I will never see her again so I have been stocking up on phone pictures....and trying not to think about that awful day too hard.

Top: Target;
Sweater: L.L. Bean, thrifted;
Tights: Target;
Skirt: The Limited;
Scarf: Charlotte Russe;
A recent work outfit that got thrown together, but turned out to be one of my favorites! I topped it off with one of my favorite bracelets from Etsy, engraved with the quote "Not all those who wander are lost." from The Lord of the Rings, and then proceeded to have an excellent day full of outfit-confidence.
I tried this place a couple weeks ago. It's an unassuming little spot of burrito delight in an otherwise decent-Mexican-style-anything-bare part of the Midwest. Instead of a burrito, I opted for the Zappatista Salad, which was basically a nacho salad with some fresh homemade salsa and let me tell you, I went home extremely happy that cold night.
Some friends had a 50s Hollywood themed Murder Mystery Dinner Party for their birthdays, so naturally I rollered up my hair and gelled N's back, and we got a little fancy. I was playing a judgy, loud-mouth, 62-year-old cougar talk-show host who thought the deceased was in love with her. N was a film director who had worked with the deceased actor and, as it turned out, killed him!! Apparently, N has a career in acting, because we definitely talked about our characters and I didn't have the slightest clue until the big reveal at the end of the party!

And last, but certainly not least, Valentine's Day. As haters of lines and crowds and cliches, our big V-Day plans were "Mimosas and Samosas" and doing a puzzle together! Let it be known that this was N's clever idea, and not mine, but since it involved barely having to venture out into the cold and some of my favorite things, I thought it was absolutely perfect.


Getting Around to Goals

This new year felt different than years past. Maybe it was because I went right back to work the next day, but I barely had the time or desire to be introspective. The resolutions seemed unnecessary, because it didn't feel like anything had changed. Also, I don't think I made any resolutions at the beginning of last year, so I didn't have anything to measure up to. I learned a while back about SMART Goals, but always thought the method seemed a bit gimmicky. However, as someone who makes lists more often than she makes meals and firmly believes list-making is the key to getting shit done, I thought I'd give it a try. I won't post all the gory details I went into in the three hours it took me to hash these out, but here are my 2015 goals.
1. Improve finances. Save 20% of income each month. Learn about investing and start a portfolio with a small amount of money. Look into Roth IRAs.
2. Improve skin. I've been blessed with the dreaded combination oily/dry acne-prone skin (yeah...still...) and have never really managed to get it under control probably because I have been a lazy bum my whole life about getting into good skin habits. Goals: Less picking/nervous face-touching. Find a dermatologist. Get into the habit of moisturizing daily. Wash your damn make-up off every night.
3. Get healthier. I know that doing even just a tiny bit each day leaves me feeling less stressed out. Develop a routine (even for weekends). Buy at least one vegetable you don't usually eat per grocery trip and figure out a delicious recipe to prepare it. Take at least one dance class this year (see #1 to save up for it).
4. Make two new non-work friends. This sounds so sad, but I have no idea where or how to meet people in a new place.
5. Volunteer locally. I always have and it feels weird not to be volunteering in the community. Also, it's pretty likely this would help with #4.

Also, I am looking for your best resources on achieving these goals, so if you have apps, spreadsheets, advice/finance/skin blogs, peer-reviewed favorites or anything else that are your go-to on these subjects, then please do pass them along! Goodness knows I'm going to need all the help I can get.


A Series of Unfortunate Events

Did any of you read these books when you were younger? A Series of Unfortunate Events used to be one of my favorite series, but sadly before I could get to the end (pun definitely intended), too much time had passed between the releases and I found that I had lost interest just enough that I didn't finish them.

Just before the holidays, however, I found out that a work friend had the complete set, and couldn't pass up the chance to re-read and finally finish this beloved series. There are definitely some aspects of the style that I find mildly annoying as an adult and the font size seems comically large, but more or less, re-reading them has been as charming and pleasant as I remembered; overall, a wonderful experience (contrary to what the author tells you at the beginning of each book). And hey, now, even if I don't read another book all year, I can still truthfully say I read ten books this year!

Do you have books you go back and revisit?


Tuesday Tunes!

It's that time again! Since we last spoke, Taylor Swift's 1989 and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness's self-titled album have come out, and I have been nothing short of enamored of both. The stories of Mugdha and these two artists are just stark opposites. I got into Taylor Swift the hard way {read: spent a lot of time hardcore in denial before deciding it wasn't worth it to pretend I didn't like her music (which, why do we do that to ourselves/each other? Ain't no shame in enthusiastically enjoying stuff, people!)}, but this album was especially good, I think. In contrast, Andrew McMahon has been a staple in the AVM household since way back in 2002 and I have so many t-shirts and pictures and memories and various keepsakes from the years of fandom that I would probably have a panic attack trying to count them. My point is, old music, new music, sugary pop, or piano rock, if it makes ya feel good, shout that you love it from the rooftops! Without further ado, Tuesday Tunes!

1. "I Know Places" - Taylor Swift**
2. "Cecilia and the Satellite" - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
3. "The Hanging Tree" - Jennifer Lawrence (from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I)
4. "Desire Lines" - Local Haunts
5. "Find Love" - Stepdad

**(this is my favorite song on the album, but I can't for the life of me find a stream of the original song, grr)
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