best workout gear

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I recently got a treadmill desk! For about a year I’d been heavily considering it, trying to determine which model would be the best option, deciding if such a major purchase was even feasible (I do move around a lot, after all.) The Nordictrac Treadmill Desk was my pick, for reasons including reputation and speed (it goes to 6mph, meaning I can use it for running as well as work,) but there are plenty of other more portable and space-saving options out there. When I moved to Chicago, my workout gear took a severe hit – since I wasn’t running much in Nashville, I had gotten rid of a lot of my gear. An in-home treadmill begs for a wardrobe of sweat-wicking saviors, though, so I did a stockpile splurge to re-up. Here are some of my new faves and what I love so much about them!

icyZone Racerback Workout Tanks: I have a long torso, so it’s often hard for me to find shirts that are long enough to be comfortable – let alone workout tops that are comfortable. When these came up on an Amazon search, I liked the colors a lot, so I nabbed them. They’re the perfect length and look really great. After years of wearing lululemon, I can also attest that the quality of these rival many of my Swiftlys.

EMY Strappy Sports Bras: A lot of my shirts have open backs, catering to bras with cute back styles. They’re expensive, though, so these are another thing I’ve let my drawer skimp on. This pack of five for $30 is not only comfortable and true-to-size, but the removable padding also helps my poor undersized girls feel a little more confident. (Okay, so maybe it’s me that they help. Either way.)

Saucony Sport Socks: Along with my long torso and undersized breasts, I have gigantic Dutch feet. It can often be hard to find affordable socks that fit my size 12’s – most women’s athletic socks are only sized to 10, so they come up only midway on my heels. These are thick and comfy, and almost oversized – I’m sure they’d be great for people with normal sized feet, but if you feel like yours are bigger than average, these are the socks for you.

c9 High Waisted Capri Leggings: All high-waisted everything, all c9 everything. My daily pants for the last three years or so have been c9’s high-waist full-length leggings, but since I prefer to work out in capris, I have quite a few of the junior versions in my drawer as well. The high waist is comfortable and makes me feel a little skinny, and c9 always has stylish options for their gear, like the lattice details on this pair.

Contigo Autoseal Water Bottle: My ADIDAS water bottle is finally starting to give up the ghost, but it’s fine, because bf got me the best and fanciest replacement a few months ago. This water bottle is insulated so it keeps things super cold for a long time – even overnight – and it doesn’t leak at all. The handle is really handy too, so when I’m carrying my mobile office (you know, my computer, charger, phone, Kindle, bullet journal, etc. etc.) from the treadmill to the outdoor office, it’s easy to hook it onto my pinky and tote it around.

What are your workout/fitness must-haves?

May 18, 2018
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spring favorites 2018

Posted in Living by

SPRING IS HERE!!! Along with it, I have some new favorite things. Let’s jump right in, because I have a lot ot say this time!

Netgalley: I love to read – surprise! Reading on my Kindle has really ramped up my reading rate lately, and Netgalley is part of why. It’s a platform for publishers to issue galleys and advanced reading copies to readers and reviewers, then collects feedback to send back to the authors and publishers. You don’t even have to be a blogger to sign up – if you regularly post reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, you’re just as likely to land books for review. It’s a really great way to save money on your reading habit and discover new authors and books. If you’re interested in some of the titles they have, I denote Netgalley books in my book club posts. I’ve requested more than one based on the cover or title and had them turn out to be among the best of the year!

Gregory Workman backpack: It’s been a long time since I was a backpack wearer – even in college, I didn’t use them often. Now that I’m using public transit more (which is a good thing!) but the tote-style bag I had been using doesn’t cut it. It’s so much weight on one arm, so I started looking around for a better backpack. I found this Gregory Workman on sale at Sierra Trading Post, and I’ve really been liking it! The quality is good, there’s a built-in laptop case, and there’s not an overwhelming number of pockets in the name of hyper-organization. This purchase may also mark my cross over into official adulthood – there was a “cuter” bag on the website I considered, but this one seemed better quality and more functional. Huh.

Quip: I’ve never had an electric toothbrush – it just hasn’t seemed worth the hassle, especially when I’m still living off stockpiled toothbrushes (thanks coupons!) Boyfriend splurged on a Quip membership a few months ago, and I get the hype now. The toothbrushes have built-in timers so you know exactly how long to brush each quadrant of your mouth, and the toothpaste is really good. The toothbrushes look really nice on the sink top too (I have the gold metal one, of course.) It also comes with a travel case for easy transport and each refill includes a mini travel tube of toothpaste, too.

No. 7 Stay Perfect Foundation: I fell in love with Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra-Long Wear foundation a few years ago, but man, it is pricey. Nothing else compares to it, though (not even the Fenty foundation that everyone loves. I find it to be really drying and that it doesn’t look very smooth on my face.) Last weekend I decided to do a half-hearted Google search for some dupes, and there were one or two reviews of this, so I picked it up at Target. (I forgot how frustrating it is to try to get a good skin color match from the drugstore.) This is probably the best drugstore foundation I’ve ever used. The texture is great (not drying even without moisturizer,) great coverage, and a little goes a long way. It also has SPF which is a big win for me. The shade I got is a touch too light, but I’ve been mixing it with Lancome’s Skin Feels Good foundation (super creamy and light, also with SPF) and it’s a good match until my summer skin kicks in 😉

Jervis Cottonbelly’s Twitter: I’ve talked intermittently about liking wrestling before, but it’s largely something I’m “in the closet” about. (I even wrote an essay about that for a zine full of smart and funny girl wrestling fans!) One of my favorite wrestlers, Jervis Cottonbelly, is an excellent Twitter follow if you’re into wrestling or not. He’s very motivational, optimistic – and, even better, talks openly about his mental health struggles. Every morning, he posts some affirmations for the day – something I need, for sure.

What are your favorite things this month?

May 8, 2018
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april book club 2018

Posted in Living by

I didn’t read quite as much this month, and I’m not sure why. (Maybe it has something to do with the Golden State Killer being arrested and being legally required to read every released article and interview? I’m not sure.) At any rate, my Kindle and library book checkout game was still strong, and there are some definite must-reads on the docket this month.

As always, * indicates that I received a review copy through NetGalley, and ** denotes books I received for review from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions!

The Last Cruise*: I really liked this book a lot, but the end made me super mad. Which is a good thing! Feeling things about books is kind of the point, right? The Last Cruise chronicles the experiences of three different groups aboard a vintage ship taking – you guessed it – its last cruise. This would be a good poolside book if you’re into suspense and drama, but I might not suggest taking it on a boat.

From the Corner of the Oval*: THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. I couldn’t put it down and found myself wanting more and more! Beck Dorey-Stein was one of President Barack Obama’s stenographers, and this chronicles her White House career, from getting hired via craigslist to traveling internationally on Air Force One to deciding that her government days are over. Her writing is incredible, engaging, and I can’t recommend pre-ordering this highly enough. If you’re feeling like you’re making all the wrong choices in your relationships, friendships, career, or in general, there’s going to be something in this book that resonates with you.

The Gutsy Girl Handbook*: A follow-up to Kate White’s 1996 book, I really liked this a lot. I’ve been focusing a lot on my career this year, and the worksheets and advice in this handbook are really helping me shift my mindset, generate big ideas, and not be afraid of intimidating people with those ideas.

Men Explain Things to Me: I really wanted to like this essay collection, and I think I would have if I hadn’t had specific expectations for it. It took me months to finish (I started it back in January or February) expecting it to be funny, or at least have aspects of humor. Instead, it’s more heavily focused on institutional sexism, sexual assault, and crime. It is a good read, but it wasn’t what I had expected.

My Oxford Year**: Not a book I would typically see myself picking up, but Julia Whelan is my favorite audiobook narrator. When I saw that she was publishing a book, I was super excited. This one was a good read – it’s a love story about a girl who doesn’t want a love story – my biggest complaint was basically just that I wish they focused more on the political position she was helping with in America while studying abroad – but it’s an excellent read if you like chick lits or romance.

Emergency Contact: Mary HK Choi did a great interview with the New York Times last month, and I found it to be funny and clever. Emergency Contact was equally great – I absolutely loved the story, I loved the way it was told, and I loved how Penny comes out of her shell and allows herself to have friends and really grow outside herself.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: I was about 63% through this book the night that GSK was taken into custody. Naturally, I woke up the next morning, scrambled around to get the audiobook from Scribd, and finished listening with 30 minutes to go before the press conference. Incredibly researched, incredibly written, and incredibly tragic – both the story of the victims, as well as Michelle, who never got to see her good work be rewarded.

Please Don’t Go Before I Get Better*: It was National Poetry Month and I didn’t read as much poetry as I should have, but this was my favorite collection by far. Kuhn’s writing reads like a combination of Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur – gorgeous and light imagery, but with heartache, trauma, and optimism. If you like poetry, I definitely recommend this.

DROPKICKromance**: I really wanted to love this book. It includes so many things I love – poetry! Wrestling! An author from Michigan! – but it ultimately fell really short of my expectations. Author Cyrus Parker is married to Amanda Lovelace, and their relationship is #goals, as the youths say, but his writing style is almost an exact replica of Lovelace’s. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot better if the style had been a little more unique. He writes a lot about a shitty relationship, then falling in love again, which I also relate to a lot and enjoyed – I just wish it was a little separate from his wife.

This Is Where it Ends: This had been on my Goodreads “to read” list for awhile, so by the time I saw it on my library’s Libby system, I’d sort of forgotten what it was about. It’s a pocket story of the 54 minutes of a school shooting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if author Marieke Nijkamp had been involved in a similar situation. She writes with such clarity and experience, you really feel like you’re in the quiet halls with the students as the perspectives shift. It’s an incredibly affecting book that should be read

You’re Never Weird on the Internet: Boyfriend had this on his Audible account, so when I couldn’t find anything on Libby, I started listening to this one day. It was interesting to listen to – Felicia had a super interesting upbringing and was homeschooled, and even went to the University of Texas on a full ride for violin performance. I liked hearing her talk about her internet life – in a lot of ways, I relate, since I’ve been online since grade 4 and some of the most important relationships in my life were forged on the internet.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions: This was a quick, easy read that I really enjoyed. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about feminism and gender lately (thanks Dessa, and trying to read more diverse, “harder” books. This letter to her best friend who had asked her for advice on raising her child a feminist is as funny as it is insightful.

What did you read this month? Anything worth adding to an already too-large TBR pile?

April 30, 2018
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7 companies hiring work from home employees this month: april 2018

Posted in Career by

We’ve finally strung together multiple sunny days here in Chicago, so I’m still pretty cautious, but I think I feel safe enough to say that spring is here. Something about the summer has always made it seem like it’s time for new beginnings – and maybe for you, that means a new job. Here are seven current opportunities – many of them don’t even require prior remote experience!

Fan Happiness Associate at Gametime: Gametime is a mobile ticketing platform, and they’re currently hiring in certain states. Preference is given to those with previous remote experience, or in a tech or live entertainment setting, but don’t let that stop you from applying! If you enjoy providing excellent quality customer service and solving problems (often time-sensitive), this could be the gig for you.

Customer Support Associate at CareMessage: This company is a nonprofit that helps make healthcare more accessible to underserved or rural communities. As a CSA, you’ll help customers find answers, troubleshoot issues in the software, and work with the engineering team to implement user requests. They also have a clear 1/3/6 month plan for new employees, which helps to eliminate some of the stress and imposter syndrome associated with starting a new position. Knowing what the company expects from you helps a lot!

Beauty Writer at Elite Daily/Bustle: This one screams for beauty bloggers or Sephora VIBs to apply. I love mindlessly browsing Bustle, and I’ve found some great beauty suggestions here – if you’re always getting your friends hooked on new beauty items, this is the writing job for you. Bonus if you have a background in commerce writing (if you’re a blogger who uses affiliate links, that’s probably you!)

Support Team Manager at Trello: I’ve long loved Trello, and their company culture sounds just as great as the product. Apply for this position to manage the support team, develop strategies to improve customer retention and acquisition, and manage daily operations, among other tasks.

Customer Success Manager at monday.com: If you’re in the PST/MST time zone and have excellent self-management skills, this customer-facing role with Saturday hours could be a great way to launch a remote career.

Lead Editor, Home Office at The Wirecutter: If you love home office tech gear and writing about it, this could be your “in” to work with the New York Times. They’re looking for an editor to manage and assign projects freelance staff, project manage content, and interact with the community. Sounds pretty cool for my gear-loving nerd head!

Customer Success Specialist at TaxJar: I’ve been learning a lot lately about taxes, and that’s all due to TaxJar. If you have a retail background, some remote work experience, and very patient, this could be a great option for you to build your support resume!

One of my favorite resources for freelance gigs is AND CO’s The Gig List. Every week they send an email with ten freelance opportunities – while they aren’t all remote options, many of them are (and they always find really cool options and companies!)

If you’re looking for freelance writing jobs, check out this post with tons of websites that pay for your submissions – or check out Contena, where you can search hundreds of new, legitimate writing and editing jobs every day.

April 27, 2018
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monthly roundup no. 8, april 2018

Posted in Living by

The end of April has to mean that this long slog of winter and cold weather has to be on it’s way out. Right? RIGHT?!?! As we ease into yet another weekend that’s too cold to leave the house, here’s some reading from the past month.

Confession: I like wrestling. It’s goofy, it’s funny, it’s storytelling – and wrestlers are real, complex people. Jervis Cottonbelly, my favorite indie wrestler, is often vocal and open about his history with depression and anxiety. Earlier this month, his suicidal ideation led to a hospitalization. His blog post, On Sweetness and Suicide, is a great read for insight into not only what the hospitalization process is like, but also how it feels to have these thoughts you don’t want.

I’ve used Evernote for quite a few years, and I really like this post on how their CEO uses it and stays organized. The idea of assigning a theme for each workday is something I started doing recently, and it’s really helped my productivity to be able to think (and tell co-workers) when something isn’t on the docket for that day.

It’s little secret that Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid is my favorite book, and it tripped me out thinking about the hundreds of different lives we could have depending on the choices we make. Turns out this is an actual physics concept, and I’ve been reading a lot about the multiverse and many-worlds theories of quantum physics. Just some casual reading for your Friday. 

6 Apps That Will Streamline Your Investments Starting Now: I’m really focusing on getting my finances in order this year, and that includes setting up an investment or 401k account. I’m relying on breakdowns and reviews like this from blogs I trust to help cut out some services to help put me on the right track while I research the best option for me. 

My Boston BFF and I are OB-SESSED with these money diaries. They really hearken back to when I first started getting into blogging and almost exclusively read personal finance blogs. Man Repeller has them too – the comments on theirs are often much less toxic or judgey – they definitely make me feel behind on my savings for where I am in my life now, but tracking my spending as though it’s a diary is making it a lot easier to to consistently track. (Today is day 23 – consistency!)

For the last several years, I’ve been feeling the crush of what it’s like to be an only child. This post from The Everygirl puts many of my concerns together – specifically the first and last points. My built-in support system is very limited, and I think a lot about what will happen if my parents die (and now that my mom is sick, I feel a lot of the responsibility on that,) but that kind of freedom can also be a real blessing.

I don’t know why this is sponsored content from Taco Bell, but we’ll go with it. The Muse posted an article with scientifically-backed tips on creativity, and I will admit that I wish it was a little more informational – I don’t need any more encouragement to grab a beer – but it’s a nice reminder sometimes that you could be too “into” your ideas and need to take a step back into your daily tasks, or even reset with a nap or shower.

I’ve really been enjoying the Girlboss blog lately (and the new layout took some getting used to, but now I’m really into it. I hope it was built by women.) They recently featured an article about guitar badass Sister Rosetta Tharpe – she was a killer on electric guitar and probably the first rock ‘n roll woman. She gets overlooked far too often, so do yourself a favor and read their great primer on her.

April 27, 2018
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