Girls’ Spa Night

Moving is a pain, I never want to move again. Needless to say, my apartment is slowwwlllyyyy coming together. I have not really had a chance to have people over, but I did have over a girlfriend for a spa night the other day. It was so much fun!

Spa Night

The great thing about a spa night is it doesn’t have to be really expensive to be fun and it is super easy to throw together (really needed when your place is still a mess).  Here is what I did for my spa night:

  • Water – Step up your water game by adding a few sprigs of mint and some fruit to it a few hours beforehand. Some of my favorite combinations are mint + strawberry, mint + cucumber or lemon + mint.
  • Coconut Oil – The best makeup remover ever! Simply slather on your face and then use a warm wet towel to remove makeup. I like to let the towel sit for 30 seconds first to really absorb everything. (For an added bonus, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the coconut oil)
  • Masks – We used two types: a deep pore cleanser and then a calming mask. For the deep-pore one, we used a clay one that was amazing. I got it from the TJ Maxx clearance section, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get some great masks. Browse the clearance sections of TJ Maxxs, even drugstores often have great single use masks too, and sometimes, I even make homemade masks if I am feeling really into it.
  • Toner –  Once you are done, be sure to apply some toner to lock in all the goodness
  • Night cream – Then finish it up by moisturizing. Don’t forget the neck!!!!
  • A TV Show – I don’t recommend movies because you will get too into them and forget to take off your masks. Commercial breaks are great for washing your face and catching up with girlfriends. Honestly, it ends up being background noise as you talk with friends so it’s nice to have something on that you don’t have to pay too much attention to!

What makes a good spa night for you? I think next time I am going to do a pedicure/manicure, so any tips are welcomed! Also, I woke up the next day and my skin felt amazing, I need to do this more often!

Wise Words: Boring People

Boring People Have Boring Times

I shared one of my mother’s (and now mine) favorite phrases a few weeks ago and here is another good Shea family saying (it goes perfectly with our traveling rules!). Boring people have boring times. Apparently, my uncle came up with this phrase when he was little and it has been uttered ever since in our family. The moment you say you are bored, someone will turn to you and say “Boring people have boring times”. There is no excuse for boredom in our household growing up! From the time I was little, I would have to find a way to amuse myself whether it be while waiting in line to during an ‘adult’ dinner party to long car rides. You can always think of something to do (and that doesn’t necessarily mean with a screen!). Here are some of my favorite ways to pass time without a screen:

 

-Think of backstories about people around you. Why are they here? An important meeting? A date? Are they together? Brother and sister? Where did they grow up? A farm? The city? Suburbia?

-Make lists in your head about what needs to get done. This one isn’t fun but it can be a good use of time.

-Make a guess for how many cars or red cars or jeeps will pass before your bus gets here

 

P.S. Another thing we do is play cards. Gin Rummy is our favorite game and I always have a pack of cards in my purse just in case I get stuck somewhere. I played it a few weeks ago at a bar with friends one afternoon. We had a blast!

Back to Basics: Coloring Books

Mandala Coloring PageA couple of weeks ago, I was in a bookstore and I happened upon a whole section of coloring books… for adults. At first, I was merely intrigued, but curiosity got the best of me and I bought one. This one to be exact.

It’s amazing. There is something so satisfying about staying in the lines and coloring something perfectly.  I absolutely love it. As an added bonus, mine has tear out pages so I always a few torn out and tucked away in my planner in case I have a spare 10 minutes. In case you don’t believe me, the BBC recently did a whole segment on the growth of coloring books for adults.

After coloring, I definitely feel calmer and ready to tackle the next problem and after moving back to the states after a year abroad, I can tell you I totally have been stressing out trying to coordinate apartments, movers, and German bureaucracy. Plus, I still keep waking at 4am. Ugh. Jet lag.

Maybe you feel like coloring book is too small, in which case, I would recommend this whole map you can color! How cool! Or one promising to relieve stress? Or a Kate Middleton inspired ones (I might have gotten this as the best birthday present!). Or just browse this whole Amazon section on them!

Travel Rules

Shea FamilyTravel Rules

Growing up with a teacher as a mother, you get used to rules reallll fast. We had rules for everything,  and while I was young, I certainly scoffed at them. Now that I am older, I really appreciate the rules that my parents put in place. In fact, I still use a lot of them today. My favorite rules are our travel rules. We traveled quite a bit when I was young, partially because of my father’s work, partially because we just really enjoyed it. Our rules are pretty simple but they definitely make trips more fun!

  1. No chain restaurants, especially ones we have at home No Chili’s, Cheesecake Factory, or TGIFs. Exception: Diet Coke from McDonalds for my mother. (She’s addicted)
  2. Try one new thing a day. Can be food, activity, or something else. But need to try at least one new food a trip. (This one has made me the most adventurous from ostrich to smorrebrod to pearl onions) Fun fact: Turns out I hate Pearl Onions.
  3. Do at least one educational activity per trip. This can be a museum, a historical place, or some other culturally significant thing.

So there are the Shea Family Travel rules! Does your family have any good travel tips/rules?

26 Goals for 26

26 Goals For 26

Yesterday was my 26th birthday. I am definitely starting to feel older, I fell asleep last Friday at 10pm and  it was glorious. I spent the past few months learning some new skills, and I want to continue that. 26 will be a big year for me, I will graduate from Grad School in the Spring and then look out world, here I come! (hopefully). I decided to try to write down my goals for this year because if you write them down, you are more likely to try to work to them.

Self

  1. Stop being so negative on myself. We all do it, and I feel like I just tend to talk myself into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. Just like last week. 
  2. Eat healthier. Always a good goal to have, I grew into some bad eating habits in Berlin (hello 2am döner). I care a lot about what I put on the outside of my body, I need to start caring more about what I put into my body.
  3. Do something outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes, I feel like I get stuck in a rut and I burrow into my own safety net. This year, I want to try things that scare me. Nothing too scary, just outside of my normal zone.
  4. Do more with my hair. I swear I wear the same three hairstyles: all down, half up in a clip or in a bun. I need to expand my repertoire .
  5. Be happy. I have a great life, and really, I might complain about things but really, I need to be better at being happy in the moment. Remember, you eat an elephant one bite at a time.
  6. Exercise more. In Berlin, I walked more but because of that, I stopped really exercising and that isn’t good. Hopefully, having a gym in my apartment complex will help, especially during those cold winter months.
  7. Express more gratitude. Like negativity, I sometimes feel like I don’t express enough gratitude. I am incredibly luckily to live in DC, go to my dream school for graduate school. And sure money may be tight sometimes but I have to remember that I am still better off than a lot of the world, which is sad.
  8. Be okay being alone. I am living alone this year, so first step is already there but I think I need to become more okay just being alone. Too often, I feel the pressure to go out and do something. Perhaps, I need to “say no” a bit more to these things.

Life

9. Volunteer. I used to volunteer in college and before grad school but I haven’t really the past two years and I miss it.

10. Explore outside DC. Sometimes, I feel so trapped in the district, and there are a lot of cool places within a few hours of DC. This year, I want to explore those areas. Recommendations welcome.

11. Go to a new country. Every  year, I try to get out of the good ole’ US of A at least once, because it’s important to explore the world around you. Hint hint graduate gift…

12. Get my finances in order. Spending this past year aboard, I realized I have money squirrelled away all over the place and its not a good system plus, I might have gone over budget on a few things. Hello credit checks and budgets.

13. Grow my etsy shop. It has grown a lot over the past two years on its own but I could be doing more to help it.

14. Make a 5 year, 10 year and 15 year plan. Even if it involves things like become a princess, it would be good to put it to paper and hang it up somewhere so I am reminded of what I am struggling working towards.

15. Use more accessories. Okay, here me out on this one. I am a pretty good dresser, or so I like to think, but I realized that I often lack that extra pop of a statement necklace or cool shoes. I stick to the tried and true classic pieces but seeing so many great pictures on pinterest, has made me want to explore more.

16. Up my skin care regime. I am pretty good at doing certain steps, hello moisturizing at night. But I think there is more I could be doing. Need to figure these steps out.

17. Take control of my clutter. Sometimes I am quite the messy person. Not dirty just messy. Living with a bunch of Germans this year and their need for organization has made me itching to try it out on my own.

18. Become a better cocktail maker. Too often, I stick with my tried and true recipes, but I think at 26, my skills need to be more than just a rum and coke (I do make a great one though!)

Learning

19. Do a better job of connecting with professors. I am so bad at this. I never go to office hours and this will stop this year. I am really good at my connections with my own peers but for some reason, professors tend to scare me. This year I will get better, I have to. Sigh, le job hunt.

20. Take a class for fun. Like underwater basket weaving or you know, a painting class. Whatever it is, I just want to try something new.

21. Learn Python. I have already started to learn this programming language, but I want to complete my codacademy course and maybe learn a new one.

22. Learn to photograph better. Like what is an FSO and the aperture settings.

23. Finish my thesis. Okay, this one a cheat, I have to do it, but I want to do it well and apply some of my new found design skills.

24. Do a better job of connecting with professors. I am so bad at this. I never go to office hours and this will stop this year. I am really good at my connections with my own peers but for some reason, professors tend to scare me. This year I will get better, I have to. Sigh, le job hunt.

25. Up my professional stuff. Resume. LinkedIn, website. Etc. Graduation comes around far too soon.

26. Try new recipes, much like #21, I am a good cook but I noticed I get stuck in a rut this my cooking. Black beans and rice, chicken marsala,, pesto anything and brussel sprouts. Surely there is more to life?

Add one more for luck: Get more active on social media. I have accounts (instagram, twitter, facebook, snapchat) but I could be doing more to understand how they work and how to use them effectively both for my own knowledge and to help me later.

Here’s to hoping this year is better than the next!

Wise Words: How was the play?

Other Than

Sometimes, you just have really bad days. Days were you just want to crawl into a hole and not come out. It’s days like these my mother reminds me “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how was the play”.  Yes, it’s sad but its also a good reminder that all is not lost and then it could be worst. I had one of those days last week. I can’t believe I am admitting this online but I got really sick in public. On a bus. At 5:20PM. On a Tuesday. In a silk dress. After eating something red. I am sure you don’t need more of a description to imagine the horror that it was. Plus, after I ran out of the bus I had a 15 minute walk home through one of the biggest tourist sections in Berlin. I swear I ran into every tour group. I felt terrible, I looked worse, and then I had to try to avoid eye contact with everyone because the last thing I wanted was to answer peoples’ questioning glazes about what happened to my dress, face, and bag. But I survived it, and while it was awful, my mother reminded me of the phrase. Sometimes, it’s so true. My day could have been worse, the dress was able to be cleaned, my bag was also saved. Yeah, sure, I was super embarrassed for about 20 minutes, but I survived that and now can look back at laugh at it. Sometimes, you just have to be reminded that it could be worse.

Summer Learnin’

Summer Learnin'

This summer has been an interesting one for me. For the past 6 weeks, I haven’t had WiFi. It’s one of those things you don’t realize that you miss until it’s gone. I have a WiFI stick but with 5GB per month, you have to be tricky on how you use it.  Needless to say, I have been spending countless hours in Starbucks and other cafes hording the WiFi. I have had to get creative with how I consume the internet and how I spend my spare time. I have always been an avid reader (well since 4th grade) but I got bored of just plain reading after the few days. At the same point, I have realized I love learning and I miss it during my summer break. Not that I am not thankful for the time off from crazy grad school! Here is how I have been getting my summer learnin’ on:

Podcasts:

You can see my favorite ones here, but seriously, these are the best for commutes or running errands or in general just lazing about.

Coursera:

This summer, I decided I was interested in some subjects but wanted to start learning them now! Enter Coursera, they have tons of free courses (or you can pay for a certificate  to show completion). I am currently enrolled in three, one has a schedule but the other two are go-at-your-own-pace, which is a nice break. There are tons of courses out there!

Lynda:

So I get access to Lynda for free from my university , check and see if you do too! This is almost similar to Coursera but it has just tons of helpful videos on subjects from how to take a better photo (something I struggle with) to excel tips (no fun, but needed!)

Ted Talks:

This is my favorite TED talk of all time. I make all my friends/family/random strangers I meet at parties watch it. I always feel so inspired to go do something better for the world after watching it. Did you know you can download TED talks? Just use your normal podcast player (ie the podcast app for iphones/ipads). I play them while I get dressed in the morning, they definitely pump up my morning.

Codacademy:

I lied, Codacamedy requires the internet while in use, but its super interesting. I have decided in additional to the 1000x other things on my plate to learn Python because a programmer friend of mine recommended it to start. I am almost 25% through (they have a status bar – love it! easy goal tracking)!

Words To Live By: Best Stories

:

I  have definitely used this justification for some decisions made in Berlin. While nothing I choose was permanent, I did make some not so great choices. And no, I am not just talking about the 5AM ner I might have partaken in on the way back from a club. But I learned from them and that’s the most important part. Plus now I have some great stories….

P.S. This is a way better example of my non-graphic designer skills, sigh.

3. Ankle Booties

Ankle Booties

I love Ankle Booties! While they aren’t everyone’s favorite, I just love them. It could be because I pretty much only wear dresses (seriously. I don’t own pants.) and they are perfectly paired with a dress (especially this dress).

Often when shopping, I remark “I like the idea of it, but not the execution.” I feel like Goldilocks, this heel is too high, this heel is too low. It’s hard finding the one that’s just right.  My hunt for the perfect ankle booties took quite some time. Every pair was either too high of heel, too pointy of a toe, or just not perfect enough. I wanted something a bit dressy because my wardrobe is overall quite dressy (I don’t really do normal casual per se).

I wasn’t planning on buying ankle booties, I was originally out shopping with a friend trying to find her a coat when I spotted these beauties. I was in love. The heel is the perfect height. The black matches everything and the gold touches are just right! I wore them all day yesterday and my feet didn’t even hurt. Plus they cost 25 euros. Sold. Eek! Off to go find more outfits to wear them with!

***TKC Tip: Keep the hemline above the knee to make your legs look leaner and longer!

Fall TV Shows

How is it already fall? It seems like just yesterday I was writing about summer shows to watch. Despite being in a foreign country, I am still trying to keep up with my American shows, emphasis on trying. Here are the shows I am most excited for this fall:


 

how to get away with murder

How To Get Away With Murder


 

A to Z

A To Z


 

The Flash

The Flash 


 

scorpion

Scorpion


 

P.S. Have you heard of SideReel? (or is this just my OCD side coming out again in that I like to keep track of everything I should be watching?)