Category Archives: Lifestyle

6 Things I Did This Weekend Instead of Interacting With Humans | BEDA Day 4

I really haven’t had a weekend at home, without any plans, in a while. The prospect of an open weekend is always both exciting and a bit scary for me as someone smack-dab in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. I finally have time to check off all the items on my (very extensive) to-do list, yet I feel a twinge of FOMO and the pressure to see people. This weekend I spent 48 hours taking care of my home and myself, with like two social interactions in between. Here’s how I spent my hermit weekend.

  1. Deep cleaned my apartment. After weeks of traveling back and forth to Philly, a little spring cleaning was absolutely necessary. I’m a generally disorganized person, but clearing out the crap makes it so much easier to think and create and just live. Also, I cleaned my sheets which made it much more difficult to get out of bed this morning.
  2. Got a facial. I haven’t gotten a facial in…a while, which was pretty apparent when I met with my skin therapist at HeyDay. Needless to say, I needed some work. My clogged pores aside, they did a great job and I would totally go back. Everyone needs a little pampering once in a while.
  3. Bought an overall dress. Sometimes you see an overall dress on Topshop’s website in a petite size and you just have to go for it. I’m 75% sure this is getting returned, but for now I’m looking forward to cosplaying an extra on Clarissa Explains It All.
  4. Tried and failed to resell old clothes. You know that episode of Broad City where Abby attempts to sell a bunch of clothes at Beacon’s Closet and the pretentious sales lady only takes one bag? That happened to me this weekend (albeit not at Beacon’s Closet). It’s not like my clothes were in bad shape, they just didn’t quite meet the style requirements of that particular shop. My 11:30am walk of shame out of there was pretty embarrassing.
  5. Made coq au vin. Not trying to brag, but I’m turning into a pretty amazing cook. With the ample time available to me on this free weekend, I decided to attempt The Financial Diet’s crock-pot coq au vin recipe and it was delicious. I’m not sure if I got the whole wine reduction thing right, but the whole thing still tasted pretty great. 10/10, would recommend.
  6. Saw Zootopia. Holy crap, you guys. Have you seen this movie?! Come for the adorable animals, stay for the commentary on institutionalized racism. And Shakira as a gazelle. I may have cried a little.

Overall, it was a pretty solid weekend, but I think I’m ready to return to the land of the living again. How were your weekends, friends?

Snapshots | Fall 2015

I’ve decided to try something new. I know you all fear change, but just bear with me. In an effort to put all my recommendations, life updates, and little snippets that don’t necessarily warrant full posts in one place, I’m launching a new series called “Snapshots.” I haven’t decided if this is something that’ll happen every month, every couple of months, or every season, but for now I want to give you a peek into my life over the past few months. This is all heavily influenced by my girl Emily Diana Ruth’s monthly digest, which I adore (along with everything she makes).

Okay, enough disclaimers, let’s do this.

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Queen’s County Farm Museum

In an effort to experience some semblance of fall in the big city, my friends and I ventured out to the Queen’s County Farm Museum for some pumpkin picking. The trip was a bit of a haul from Manhattan, especially without a car, but it was totally worth it. The farm offers pumpkin picking, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and plenty of sweet treats in the fall. Plus we got to hang out with chickens, which is always a good time. I’d definitely go back to the Farm Museum at some point during the warmer months to get my nature on.

 

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Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Eye Gels

Now that I’ve (sort of) passed my acne-prone teen years, I can move on to other skin concerns, specifically protecting the skin around my eyes. I received a few of these eye gels in my Ipsy bag a few months ago, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since. I can’t really justify spending $30 on a pack of 8, but the $15 pack of 4 I bought at Ulta seemed totally reasonable. I don’t get my logic. Regardless, they take care of my sensitive skin and make me feel nice and refreshed. Maybe I’ll actually spring for the big bag one of these days.

 

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Forever Twenty Somethings

I’m happy to announce that I’m now contributing to Forever Twenty Somethings! FTS is “an on online magazine that helps millennials navigate life in their twenties as they endure the “quarter life crisis.” Their content is fun and informative, very much in the vein of Thought Catalog and HelloGiggles. My first three posts are up now! Give them a read and check out some of their other content while you’re at it.

My School Had A Quarter System And It Prepared Me For The Real World

The Pros & Cons Of Being An Only Child In Your 20s

50 Thoughts I Have During Zumba Class

 

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Must Reads

It’s almost the holidays, which means you’ll have plenty of time to dedicate to those longreads you’ve been saving for later. Here’s a few more pieces to peruse while you’re avoiding your family (and their political opinions).

Racial Profiling on the Main Line  – Philadelphia Magazine

How I Plan to Spend No Money This #NoSpendNovember  – The Financial Diet

Which of Your Favorite Websites Have Money And From Where – The Billfold

The Movie That Taught A Generation of Misfits To Let Their Freak Flags Fly – Buzzfeed

 

Fall Playlist

Traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving? You’ll need some tunes. Here are a few song I’ve had in heavy rotation over the last few months. This playlist includes some Grimes, some Carly Rae Jepson, and some Jesus Christ Superstar. Clearly my musical taste has been a little all over the place this season.

Halloween in the Desert

Okay, so Brooklyn isn’t exactly Arizona. Bear with me here, coming up with witty titles is difficult sometimes.

As usual, I spent a fair amount of time scouring the internet for Halloween costume ideas. I cycled through all my favorite film and TV characters, trying to find one with a look that I could borrow for the night. After several hours of clicking, I came across this post from Studio DIY and knew I had to try it.

This costume turned out to be cute, easy to make, and pretty darn inexpensive. I already had a bunch of yarn leftover from some abandoned knitting projects, as well as a flower crown I made at the BUST Craftacular back in April. All I had to buy was the dress ($14.95) and a hot glue gun ($8.25 for a mini glue gun kit complete with glue sticks). Putting everything together took about an hour and a half total. Of course I waited until the afternoon of Halloween to actually fire up the glue gun. I am truly the queen of procrastination.

I was a little worried that people wouldn’t quite get my costume, but once I struck a pose, everyone was on board. Overall I had a lovely weekend galavanting around the city with my friends, and I looked pretty good doing it.

I want to see your costumes, y’all! Share your Halloween looks in the comments and let me know how you spent the 31st! I hope your weekend was extra spoopy.

#TBT | Great Costumes of Halloweens Past

For some reason, I’ve always been inherently against buying my Halloween costume out of a bag. Don’t get me wrong – I love going to the Halloween store for inspiration. I just can’t seem to justify spending $60+ on a slutty witch costume that will probably have to be altered (petite sizes don’t exist at Halloween Adventure) and will ultimately wind up in the trash. I’d much rather tailor my costume to my own taste. I have my mom to thank for this attitude.

My mom made all my Halloween costumes up until about second grade. Of course I wanted to be a princess/queen/some member of the royal family every year, and mom used her amazing sewing skills to put these dresses together. My favorite was a shiny black renaissance-style dress I wore for Halloween in Kindergarten. The dress made a comeback at some Alice in Wonderland-themed school event when my mom added some strategic red felt to make me the Queen of Hearts. I really don’t give her enough credit for those dresses. 

Someday I’ll actually learn how to sew. For now, I can just arrange clothes into some semblance of a costume. Here are some of my Halloween costume highlights of the last few years.

Jazzercise Instructor (2007)

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I may have retired from competitive swimming two years earlier, but I broke out one of my old practice suits for this costume my sophomore year of high school. I’m pretty sure this was entirely a “shop your closet” look – old swimsuit, old ballet tights and leg warmers, old sweatshirt cut into a crewneck. It was probably also one of my warmer Halloween looks. Work those layers, kids.

“Wonder Woman” (2009)

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This was part of my first (and only) ever group costume my senior year of high school. My school held a costume parade every year specifically for the seniors, and group costumes were more or less required. My friends and I were “generic American Apparel superheroes,” but clearly I modeled my costume off of Wonder Woman. I mean, look at those hotpants. I spent way too much money on this costume.

Flo from Progressive (2010)

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I used my newly-short hair as a jumping off point for my first Halloween costume of college. Pro-tip, Amazon has a plethora of Progressive aprons. With the awkward white pants and polo shirt, this definitely made me the least sexy attendee of the crappy Halloween frat party I attended. At least I was warm.

Original Mouseketeer (2013)

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What do you do with a pair of personalized mouse ears and a 50s haircut? Join the Mouseketeers, of course! The real tragedy of this costume is that no one really saw it. As I was in the midst of a show, I didn’t really get to go hard that Halloween. However, I insisted on wearing my costume to class all day. Because I could.

Velma Dinkley (2014)

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Photo Credit: Amanda McLoughlin

I went with another hair-friendly costume for my first Halloween in New York. Since I didn’t have any concrete plans leading up to the 31st, I didn’t want to spend too much energy on a costume. Still, I scoured Amazon/Ebay for the perfect sweater, glasses, and socks and came up with this. And people actually recognized me! Jinkies!

This year I’m getting a little crafty with my costume. No spoilers here, but it does involve a flower crown. Tune in this weekend to see the full look.

Of course, I want to hear about your favorite costumes of Halloweens past. Share your memories in the comments!

The “Me Time” Tag

What do you do to get out of a video-making rut? Film a tag video, of course! I do love a good tag video. They give me structure when I’m at a loss for ideas and want to make a more conversational video. Plus, I just like to see how everyone responds to the questions. It’s like hanging out with your girlfriends (who don’t always necessarily know who you are) (is that weird?).

Anyway, check out the video above to see how I spend my “Me Time.” I woke up early yesterday to record this, so the fact that it exists on the internet is kind of a miracle. I’ve realized that I’m somehow more productive in the morning, so maybe this whole “waking up early” thing will become a regular part of my routine. Not holding my breath, though.

Products/Videos Mentioned:

*Affiliate link.

Brunch and Bowling | A Weekend in Minneapolis

When Minneapolis was announced as the host city for the inaugural Nerdcon: Stories, it didn’t seem like the most obvious choice. I’ve traveled to more “destination” cities like LA and San Diego before for conventions, but never anywhere too far north. Regardless, I was excited to spend some time in Minneapolis during the con. I haven’t traveled extensively in the midwest, so Minnesota is some uncharted territory.

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Unfortunately, thanks to the nature of conventions, we didn’t have a ton of time for sightseeing. We still managed to find some cute places to eat, though. One of my favorite spots in town is Hen House, a bar, bakery and breakfast joint just a few blocks from the convention center. My friends and I had some killer omelettes and mimosas between sessions on Saturday morning. Hen House is known for their giant cinnamon rolls (which are heavenly), but the crown jewel of the menu in my mind is their hash browns. Crisp, delicious, and very filling. I’m a sucker for some good potatoes. Our first breakfast was so good, we decided to come back for more on Sunday.

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On Saturday night, we headed over to Brit’s Pub for dinner and drinks. Most pubs in America are pretty interchangeable in my mind, but Brit’s local charm and great selection of pub grub sets it apart. They have a great selection of local brews and to sip on their awesome roofdeck. We had some great weather all weekend and were happy to take full advantage of it.

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Brit’s also has a super cool green rooftop for lawn bowling and the occasional screenings. Sadly, no one was out bowling that night, but I would happily go back for a round the next time I’m in Minneapolis. We did get to catch an amazing sunset on our way out, which perfectly complemented the old-timey streetlights on the rooftop.

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Of course, what would a weekend in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area be without a cheeky trip to that great monument to Capitalism, the Mall of America? My friends and I actually did a good deal of shopping between MoA and the the flagship Target in downtown Minneapolis. Although we decided to pass on the amusement park, we did score some pretty great deals (no sales tax on clothing in MN!) and put a few miles on our boots. Nick Cannon also happened to be shooting a segment for TeenNick at the mall that afternoon, so we were in good company.

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Sure, most of my non-convention time in Minneapolis was spent eating or shopping, but I still had a great time. I’ll most likely be back next year, hopefully with a bit more time to explore the city.

Have you been to Minneapolis? What are some of your favorite spots in the city? Give me some recommendations for next year in the comments!

Five Reasons Why Fall is the Superior Season

I have a confession to make. I, Charlotte Dow, am a basic fall bitch.

Tomorrow is the first day of fall and I couldn’t be more excited. Don’t get me wrong, every season has its perks. My fragile constitution just can’t handle the extremes of summer and winter. I much prefer the more temperate, in-betweeny seasons of spring and fall. Since spring comes with allergies that have me sniveling for weeks, that leaves fall as the supreme. I feel like fall never really got the respect it deserved until recently. Now every #brand cashes in on the change of seasons well before the calendar even turns to September. I don’t even mind the fall-sploitation. Bring on the pumpkin-flavored everything.

Not convinced? Here are five reasons why fall is the superior season.

1. New TV Shows! New Theatre! New Everything!

The drop in temperature gives us all plenty of excuses to stay inside and enjoy an avalanche of new entertainment. September and October are chock full of season and series premieres on TV. I’m particularly looking forward to the returns of The Leftovers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Luckily, they both air on Sundays, so I can balance the completely grim with the completely silly. Plus, as I mentioned in my Broadway on a budget post, the new theatre season has plenty to offer. Between Allegiance, Spring Awakening, Fiddler on the Roof, and King Charles III, my sippy cup full of theatre wine runneth over.

2. Dat Fall Foliage, Tho

While I still live in the northeast, I feel like I haven’t seen fall in its full glory since I moved to the city. The lack of trees is a bit of a problem and I haven’t had a ton of chances to go frolic in a pumpkin patch (or whatever it is that country folk do this time of year). This year, I’m determined to get in some quality time with the changing landscape. The vibrance of the fall colors up here make the brutal winters almost worth it. Almost.

3. HALLOWEEN

I mean, this should be reason enough to love fall. Yeah, putting together a costume (and plans) for Halloween tends to stress me out, but the night is so fun that I don’t even care. I’m not a huge fan of horror, but I love getting a little spooky. I’m so ready for some witchy-themed drinks, Hocus Pocus reruns, and thinkpieces on the occult. Plus, adorably-packaged candy never really gets old.

4. Peak Sweater Season

Once we hit about mid-October, I start rocking my cold-weather uniform: boots, leggings/pants, and a comfy sweater. I’ll admit, this ensemble does kind of lose its charm around February, but fall is a time to enjoy the novelty of being fully-covered and cozy. After months of freezing in my over air-conditioned office, I can wear something warm without sweating through my commute. I truly thrive in jewel-toned cashmere.

5. Pumpkin. Beer.

Do I really need to justify this one?

Now that I’ve convinced you all of autumn’s superiority, what are you looking forward to this season? If you’re in New York, Buzzfeed has compiled a list of killer fall activities in and around the city.

I have truly proved myself basic. Pass me a PSL.

Sunday Style | A Tale of Two Cities

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Shirt: American Eagle | Shorts: American Eagle | Hat: New Era (similar)

Oh, Sunday. A day for hanging with friends, doing a bunch of laundry, and just generally resetting in advance of the week ahead. I like to keep it super simple on the weekends. T-shirts, jeans, and sundresses are usually my go-to. Today, I decided to use my outfit to honor my dual citizenship.

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This sounds like the most touristy thing I’ve ever done, but as soon as I found this shirt in American Eagle I knew it needed to come home with me. I like anything vaguely resembling a map, particularly those for public transit. I’m particularly obsessed with the MTA’s general design, no matter how much I complain about their actual service.

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Brows: NYX | Eyeliner: NYX | Mascara: NYX | Blush: Physicians Formula | Lips: Urban Decay

I kept my makeup pretty simple since my day mostly consists of errands and brunch. I recently discovered the NYX Felt Tip Liner and I’m liking it so far. The brush is a little stiff, but it’s a good alternative to my beloved Soap & Glory Supercat liner, which is sadly not available in the US. I also dug out a sample of the Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in F-Bomb to get some red lip action going on. No work means no makeup rules, y’all.

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Of course I’m still a Philly girl at heart, so I’m getting some shade with this vintage Phillies snapback I got at Citizens Bank Park last season. They may be struggling right now, but the Phils will always be my faves.

What’s your go-to weekend look? Let me know in the comments! And of course, if you want to keep up with all my nonsense, follow my blog with Bloglovin!

The One About the Jacket

My leather jacket is filthy. I’m pretty sure it’s never been cleaned in the year I’ve had it. Frankly, I’m not even sure how to clean it. I don’t even know if it’s real leather (I know it’s not, but part of me wants to keep the dream alive).

I found it at a Bloomingdales outlet in Miami’s infamous Dolphin Mall (is it infamous? IT IS TO ME.) I saw it as an inferior replacement to my Topshop jacket, which I foolishly left behind on a plane coming back from Los Angeles the summer before. The cut wasn’t quite as trendy, the sleeves were too long, and it kind of felt like plastic. But every good city girl needs a cool leather jacket, so it made the trek back to Philly with me.

Of course I needed to get the sleeves hemmed in order to not look like a tall baby in it. I took the jacket to my usual tailor. She was out, but her partner promptly remedied the issue. Sure, one sleeve was a little longer than the other. Nobody’s perfect. You can really only notice it when you squint. Right, guys? RIGHT?

I wore that jacket everywhere that spring before it got too hot. It kept me warm through debauched college parties, study sessions, play rehearsals, concerts, the whole nine yards. I pulled it out once again this fall when I moved to New York. Maybe it’s not the most on-trend, but it makes me feel like I actually belong here. It’s the finishing touch on any hard-femme look I try to pull off. It’s even pretty work-appropriate (for my office, at least). It makes me feel like one of the Cool Girls, even if I am such a dork that I dedicated an entire blog post to a dirty “leather” jacket.

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Did this sound weird? Probably. In an attempt to kick my creative ass back into shape, I’m doing BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo challenge (yes, I’m aware that I’m starting late, why would this project be different from anything else I’ve done). Check out this month’s prompts here! And if you want to keep up with this nonsense, follow me on Bloglovin.

Home

Things I Like About Being Home:

  1. Food, for the most part. Mom’s been on another health kick lately, so the refrigerator is full of almond milk and old oatmeal. This is a good thing, since my diet at school consists mostly of microwavable meals from Trader Joe’s (nom) and spaghetti. Being home also usually means that I’m going to visit family in the near future, which means I get to gorge myself on whatever that family member or the restaurant we decide to go to is serving. And that is usually quite good.
  2. Being able to see the stars at night. I think I kind of took advantage of that privilege when I was in high school. I never really noticed how amazing a clear night can be until I moved to the city where the night sky is constantly blank.
  3. My dog, Teddy. He’s kind of the best. If you ever have the opportunity to adopt a cockapoo (cocker spaniel and poodle mix), take it.
  4. Tea. And lots of it.
  5. My car. I really enjoy the freedom of being able to drive wherever I want. I love public transportation, but it’s very limited in Philly. Having the freedom to drive to the mall without worrying about walking through a sketchy neighborhood or getting dropped off five miles from your final destination is the best.
  6. Coffee shops galore! Sure, there are hundreds in Philly, some just a few blocks from campus, but again, they’re a hassle to get to. The ones in my hometown are easy to get to and I feel super comfortable working in them. Milkboy Coffee and the Gryphon Cafe are my two homes not so far from home.
  7. Netflix on my Wii. I don’t often watch Doctor Who on an actual television, but when I do, it is glorious.
  8. High school friends.
  9. My parents.
  10. My baby grand piano. I only really play it when I’m alone in the house (self-consciousness for the win), but I really love it. It looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, and is beautiful.