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    Real Life

    On Turning 26

    Today is my birthday. Today, I’m 26.

    Originally, I planned to write one of those “26 things I’ve learned in 26 years” type posts. But, where do I even begin? I’ve been alive for 26 years, so you’d think I’d have more than a few things to say. Some days I feel like an adult. I do adult things like pay bills, buy laundry detergent and work in an office. But, in many ways, I’m still that same kid, curious and wildly immature and constantly learning as I go.

    In the past year, I lost my job, moved to a new city and moved in with the guy I love. I learned how to deal with comparison and to not feel so guilty all the damn time.

    There’s so much I want to accomplish this year, and my goals are to push myself to think bigger, color outside the lines and not be so afraid to take risks. This is going to be a big year, I can feel it.

    I really want to thank you so much for following my blog, whether you have for awhile or if you happened to stumble upon it today. That is a true birthday gift.

    Cheers to 26!

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    Real Life

    Coffee Talk: The Comparison Game

    Coffee Talk is a monthly series that dives headfirst into real life territory. Consider it like a deep conversation with a friend where nothing is off limits. Take a seat, grab your mug and let’s chat.


    Today’s Coffee Talk topic is one that I’m sure you, your mom, your boss and your friends can all relate to. Yep, you heard that right. No one is safe. So, let’s dive in.

    Think of the last time you scrolled through your Instagram feed and thought to yourself,“This girl literally travels the world, has the perfect wardrobe, the perfect hair and the perfect boyfriend. And, said boyfriend/photographer is always there to capture every perfect moment. HOW is this real life? If only I did things that were more interesting…”

    Sound familiar? I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve been there. In an age of filters and curated feeds, it’s easy to get caught up in someone else’s highlight reel. And when you do, you might wonder why your acai smoothie bowl-free life suddenly looks dull in comparison. And there it is. That word. Comparison.

    Maybe you’re trying to start your own business but growth is slow, and you’re scratching your head, wondering why it’s not as successful as Alice’s, who started hers at roughly the same time. Maybe you pulled several all-nighters studying for finals, and were happy with your B, but then found out Kim got an A and now your grade doesn’t seem worthy of celebrating. Maybe you have a blog, and get frustrated because it’s not growing as quickly as you’d like, even though you put in the time, money and extra effort. Maybe you eat healthy 90% of the time, exercise frequently, but still don’t feel like you look as good as the girls in the magazines you read. Maybe you’re single and feel like all of your friends are in relationships. Or, maybe you’re in a relationship and it feels like all of your friends are getting engaged.

    No matter which industry you’re in, where your passions lie or what path you’re on, there will come a time when you compare where you’re at to where someone else is. It’s completely normal. Sometimes it can even be healthy. It might spark some new ideas or encourage you to work harder. But, when you begin to obsess over someone else’s success to the point where you feel down on yourself, that’s when the comparison game takes an ugly turn and can actually hinder your personal growth and well being.

    When those thoughts creep in, the key is to acknowledge them, and then follow these tips:

    DON’T COMPARE YOUR BEGINNING TO SOMEONE ELSE’S MIDDLE

    My sister called me recently, and told me how frustrated she is because she “doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life” (I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been in this boat at some point). She told me how I seem to have everything figured out, and how I’m doing the things she wanted to do (blogging, planning a new little business venture, etc.). That’s when I stopped her. It made me laugh because a) I don’t have anything together and b) if she only knew where I was at when I was 20. I’m five years older than her, so I’ve had a little more time for trial and error.

    And then it hit me. There have been times when I’ve compared myself to other bloggers and felt like I was so far behind. But, I was looking at everything through a skewed lens. I was comparing myself to girls who have been in the blogging game for five years or more, when I’ve been in it for two. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, just remember, the people you look up to were once in the same spot as you. You’re exactly where you need to be at this moment.

    TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

    Lately, I’ve been carrying my phone with me less and less. Next time you find yourself in a deep, dark Instagram hole, try and put your phone away for at least an hour. Taking a break helps you focus on the present, your friends, family, significant other — the stuff that matters! And remember: you are not defined by your social media stats.

    TURN NEGATIVE THOUGHTS INTO PRODUCTIVE AND BENEFICIAL ONES

    If you start to feel down on yourself, try and approach your thoughts through a different perspective. Instead of thinking, “look what she has that I don’t have,” think of the ways she’s inspiring you to try the new restaurant you’ve been wanting to go to, or to take that road trip you’ve been thinking about for months. And, if there’s someone you know who’s doing great things, reach out to her to schedule a coffee or lunch date. You can learn so much from others in your industry. And, it might surprise you to learn they had their own struggles along the way, too.

    WORK HARD AND HAVE FAITH THAT YOUR TIME WILL COME

    Keep your eye on your goals, and work hard to achieve them. If you have a passion for something, you have the ability to make it your own. No one else can do you better than you can!


    What are your thoughts on the comparison game? Are there any pieces of advice you follow to help you through it?

    Feature image via Issy Croker for The Magic Elephant

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    Living, Real Life

    Apartment Tour (Before): One Month Down

    Fritz and I recently moved into our first apartment together and despite the slight learning curve for both of us (I’m messy, he’s not), it’s been an amazing month. We now have a legit adult apartment to call home. I mean, seriously. The place has a dishwasher, garbage disposal, air conditioning and a washer and dryer.

    My last one bedroom apartment was 100% mine, and while I loved that place and all of the life lessons living alone taught me, I didn’t always love scrubbing melted cheese off of plates by hand, or shoving my arm down the sink to fish out random pieces of food. Or calling the fire department at midnight because the wiring was so old the place literally almost burst into flames. And don’t even get me started on the creepy basement I had to do laundry in. I’m convinced it was at one time a crime scene.

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    Real Life

    Feeling Burnt Out? How To Find Inspiration Again

    You probably know blogging is not my full-time job (ha, a girl can dream though, right?). I put in part-time hours at this little internet space, but I’m definitely not raking in the big bucks. And that’s cool with me. I didn’t start my site to pay my rent, buy an expensive handbag or gain recognition. This space was, and still is, my creative outlet. I find inspiration and joy in brainstorming new topic ideas, styling posts and curating my own content.

    But, sometimes, the ideas stop flowing altogether (hello, idea drought 2016), and the dreaded burn out starts to set in. I’ve fallen victim to this the past few weeks. If you’re like me and stare at a computer screen all day, you’d probably rather eat sandpaper than stare at computer screen all night (maybe not literal sandpaper, but I think we can all agree the struggle is real). Every once in awhile, our brains need to take some time to relax and reset. And you know what? That’s okay.

    Whenever I feel a lack of inspiration coming on, I turn to a few tried and true tips to get the creativity flowing again:

    TAKE A WALK

    It’s nearly impossible to force ideas to come when they don’t want to. Writers’ block anyone? The worst. When I get to this point (and believe me, it happens more often than I’d like), I step away and change up the scenery. Taking a walk helps clear my head. And we could all use that, right? If anything, it’s a good excuse to get out of the house, explore your neighborhood and enjoy the nice weather.

    VISIT A THRIFT STORE

    This tip is a little off-the-wall, but I swear it works. Thrift and vintage stores are packed to the gills with unique and quirky items. I love shopping at thrift stores regardless, but whenever I’m feeling a lack of inspiration, this setting really helps me find inspiration.

    And if you’re in the mood to shop a little while you’re there (I don’t blame you), take a peek at my top thrifting tips!

    POST UP AT A LOCAL COFFEE SHOP

    Coffee shops are creativity meccas. Not only do they help fuel my caffeine addiction (THANK YOU), but they’re also great spots to go when I need to get work done. There’s just something about the coffee aroma that helps ignite productivity and spark ideas.

    Can’t make it to a coffee shop? No problem. Check out Coffitivity, a nifty little website that brings all of the coffee shop white noise to your apartment. It’s a game changer!

    LISTEN TO AN INSPIRING PODCAST

    I wasn’t big into podcasts. Remember the Serial craze? I know, I know, you probably think I’m a crazy person, but I just couldn’t get into it. And then I discovered Jess Lively’s podcast, The Lively Show. Now I am team podcast all the way. Jess’ goal is to help “bring a little extra intention to your everyday,” and she hits the nail on the head every episode.

    My favorite episodes are: Talking fashion and blogging with Liz Schneider of Sequins & Stripes, How to create a capsule wardrobe with Caroline from Un-fancy, and how to create a beautiful, value-driven outlook on life with Alex Ikonn, author of “The Five Minute Journal.”

    BROWSE PINTEREST AND INSTAGRAM

    I’m a visual person, and I find inspiration in beautiful photography. Have you tumbled down a deep dark Pinterest or Instagram hole recently? It’s a real epidemic. If I’m riding shotgun on the struggle bus and need some blog ideas, I head to one or both. Pinterest is filled with fun projects, and usually, one of them helps spark something great.

    P.S. – Let’s be friends! Follow me on Pinterest and Instagram.

    REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED

    True life: some days, I want to give up blogging altogether. I think about all of the hours and money I’d save. Like any hobby, time is of the essence, so no matter what you’re trying to pursue — whether it’s an art degree, a promotion, launching your own company — getting wrapped up in it is wonderful, fulfilling and stressful. And sometimes when burn out sets in, you want to throw in the towel. When you get to that place, it’s easy to forget why you’re chasing your passion at all. On those days, I go back and read my first post (which I’ll admit, is actually hilarious) and it really helps put things into perspective.


    Have you been in a creative rut recently? What were some of the methods that helped you find inspiration again?

     

    Feature image via The New York Times from “A Simple Feast” Cookbook by Diana Yen.

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    Real Life

    Weekly Wrap Up Vol. 18

    Happy Memorial Day weekend! Here’s to taking it easy, sleeping in and celebrating the fact summer is almost here.

    We’ll be heading up to Lake Erie for the first time this year and I’ve got roller coasters, boats and relaxation on the brain (follow along on Snapchat if you’d like! username: nfolchi). Oh, and probably some watermelon because let’s be real, I’ve eaten my fair share every night for the past two weeks. Fritz doesn’t understand my obsession. I think he’ll come around, though.

    What about you? What are your plans?

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    Real Life

    Lessons Learned from Living Alone

    I never thought I could live alone. Living alone was for the fiercely independent, and I was the girl who relied on people for a laundry list of things. When I felt down, I’d sit on my roommate’s bed and talk it out. If I needed to run to the grocery store, there was usually someone riding shotgun.

    When you think about it, you live with other people for most of your life. Currently, some of you might be living with roommates, your significant other and/or your parents or family members. Then, you might get married and live with your husband/wife in a home where you can grow old together. Sometimes that involves kids, three dogs or all of the above.

    Growing up, I lived with my parents and my younger sister. In college, “home” was a tiny room I shared with a roommate. After the dorms, I lived with three other roommates in a house that wasn’t much bigger. Personal space wasn’t a thing. Styles and personalities and opinions on things like decor were different, and learning how to compromise was a valuable lesson I learned quickly.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved being around people. But even so, I knew I wanted to experience living alone at least once. Before marriage, kids and all of the other “adult” things I had planned for myself, I wanted to know what it felt like to be selfish and not feel ashamed by it. I wanted to live in a space that was 100% mine, where I’d be free to binge watch Netflix, drink wine out of the bottle and walk around sans pants on a random Tuesday.

    Was I afraid to live by myself? I was terrified.

    Do I think everyone should experience it at least once? Absolutely.

    Here’s why:

    YOU LEARN HOW TO FIX THINGS

    Living alone taught me a number of valuable life lessons — like how to fix a running toilet, replace burnt out light bulbs, get over my fear of spiders, cope with noisy neighbors and pay bills on time. I learned that a can of paint and a little creativity can go a long way. And I learned that when said paint gets all over the floor, Goo Gone is the perfect solution.

    YOU LEARN TO BUDGET

    This was a big one for me. When you’re not splitting bills with someone else, you learn how to manage paying for everything yourself.

    YOUR MESS IS YOUR MESS

    I wasn’t judged for eating dinner in bed, or for binge watching Netflix for longer than I’d like to admit on the internet. I left dishes in the sink some days. I was guilty for leaving a pile of laundry on my bedroom floor for weeks. But, it was my mess.

    YOU GET TO KNOW YOURSELF

    Being alone and loneliness are not the same. Living alone taught me that. I learned to be comfortable with and actually enjoy my own company. I gained independence, and it gave me the extra push I needed to grow up. I learned what I liked and developed my sense of personal style.

    Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 5.20.55 PMFritz and I moved into our new place a few weeks ago. It’s charming and modern and the perfect place to share together. And while I’m excited to create a new home with him, I’ll always look back fondly on my former one-bedroom apartment, and the brief period in my twenties when I lived alone. The time I had to learn and live by myself helped shape me into the person I am today.


    Have you lived alone? What are some of the lessons you learned?

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    Real Life

    Every Day is Mother’s Day

    To all of the strong women in my life, today and every day. I’m so blessed to have an amazing mom, nonnas, cousins, aunts and friends. Thank you for teaching me to be brave, have a little faith and never lose the spirit, wonder and curiosity all kids are born with. You make me feel better on sad days, when all I need is a hug and a hot cup of soup. You encourage me to chase my dreams, and you pick me up on days when I feel like they’re out of reach.

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