A Fresh Start

11 Apr

Hi dreamers!

For today’s Worth-It Wednesday, I want to talk about when we make fresh starts in our lives. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to fix or change, do it. Make the decision today to turn over a new leaf. Step outside the box and take the risk you’ve been considering. Don’t be hindered by your past. You’re new today and have a fresh start. Take advantage of it. :)

That last thought it probably my favorite. My human nature so quickly jumps to judgement and criticism. I need to focus more on what I need to fix and how I’m helping others. Today I’m making an active fresh start.

Will you guys be joining me today? What are the things you’re actively improving in your life?

Happy Wednesday everyone!
Lauren

For God SO LOVED the world

4 Apr

Hi dreamers,

Today, I wanted to share with you all something that’s really special to me. Those of you who know me personally will know that my Christian faith is a big part of my life, but if we haven’t had the pleasure of knowing one another in “real life” you may not have known this fact. As we approach Easter this weekend, I’ve been thinking about what that means to me. I love this quote from C.S. Lewis that encapsulates what I think those of us who call ourselves Christians should be holding ourselves to. Our slates have been wiped clean – are we doing that for others?

I think this verse so clearly shows the sacrifice paid for us on the cross. It seems so strange to praise what was a horribly shameful death, but when we understand the depth of what it meant – that we now have access to unhindered relationship with God – we see that it was really love poured out. He was forsaken so we wouldn’t be. (If you struggle to understand the centrality of the cross in the Christian faith, my church, Reality/San Francisco, did an incredible sermon on it last Sunday. If you’re interested in listening, the link is here.

Over the course of the last several years, my faith has become increasingly my own and increasingly important to me. The ways God has come near and supported me have been unreal. I can’t doubt His divine love or provision for me after what He’s carried me through.

As we approach this holiday weekend, take a few moments to reflect on what role faith plays in your life. It may not be central, you may not share mine, but at the end of the day, I believe God is love and what we see around us and value we only do because it’s a glimmer of who HE is.

And if you find hipster jokes funny, you’ll appreciate this one.

But seriously, the glory of God is displayed in many different ways throughout our lives and He cares deeply enough for us to pay our debt so we can share our lives with Him. If you connect to that, praise Him. If you want to explore it, seek Him. If you’re thankful for your full life in salvation, Hosana. Thanks for letting me share this really special part of my life with you all; I’m excited for to celebrate and worship this weekend. Enjoy the rest of your Holy Week however your celebrations look.

-Lauren

A Smart Girl’s Guide to the Workplace

3 Apr

Hi dreamers,

Being a fashionable girl in the 21st century is amazingly fun. But being a fashionable girl with a great career is even better. How do we navigate both worlds? I’ve loved working on this blog as a lifestyle outlet – categorizing fun trends and providing inspiration. I like being open about what I’m working on learning (for example, to cook!) and sharing my thoughts on life with you all, especially as so many of us and our friends walk through various chapters of our lives. The next natural place we haven’t discussed on Polka Dots and Practicality is our workplaces. Whether it’s in fashion or in finance, we all are making a living and have office politics and deadlines to adhere to. How does a modern girl do it all?! I’d like to provide an outlet for us to appreciate this aspect of our lives – a smart girl’s guide, if you will. :)

We’ll get to things like developing your specific skill set, seeking out new opportunities, and navigating challenges, but we should start at the beginning. Today’s introduction is a Desk Survival Guide. It seems trival, but being prepared never hurts. To be your best self, what should you have on hand?

1. Office supplies. Duh. It seems silly, but being outfitted properly is as important at your desk as it is in your accessories. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies to do your job. Go beyond pens and get some highlighters for when you need to review or draw attention to something. Don’t just have a pad of paper, but get a professional portfolio for important meetings and conferences. Grab some post-its in various sizes, so you can adequately note your reports and calendars with reminders. And make sure you have enough paperclips to outfit a small army. Being established in your office as prepared for the little things will make you more likely to be seen as someone who can handle more responsibility. And ultimately, it’s about impressions, right?

2. Pain medication, bandaids, and some snacks. We all get stress headaches or occassional cramps. And new shoes always seem to bother us on the days we have the most blocks to walk. Having all the necesities at your desk means you won’t need to swing by Walgreen’s on your way to a client meeting to buy an over-priced bottle of 24 ibuprofen capsules. Keep a stock of emergen-C in case you feel like you’re fighting something off. Grab some instant oatmeal for mornings when you’re on-the-go, and have granola bars for those long afternoons or late nights. Again, this will help establish you as someone who has the details under control among your coworkers.

3. A reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated throughout the day has been shown to help focus and prevent headaches. Grab a cute refillable water bottle so you can keep the H2O flowing without wasting paper cups and creating more waste. (And if you’re addicted to coffee, like me, get a reusable mug too!)

4. Basic beauty supplies. You never know when you’ll be pulled off the bench to attend a last minute client meeting or fill a seat at a conference, so you should always make sure you look ready to be pulled up to the big leagues. You should stock your desk with one dark shade (your typical red) of nail polish and one sheer shade, in case your mani gets chipped. A clear polish will also prevent runs in pantyhose from continuing if you catch them in time. Some nail polish remover pads are also never a bad idea in case your nails are not salvagable. Depending on how you style your hair, a small bottle of hair spray or dry shampoo may come in handy, and, of course, bobby pins are always necessary. A bottle of lotion and a touch of blush are must-haves as well, and I like to keep a travel size of my fragrance or some perfume samples in my desk in case a last-minute freshening up is needed.

5. A positive attitude. Cliche, right? Only because it’s true. Workplaces are about teams, not one indivdual exceling to the detriment of others. Be approachable. Be helpful. Go above and beyond for a team member. When the team wins, everyone wins. Seek opportunities for growth and to better the company. If you need some reminders to do the above, for example you’re not naturally a team player or a morning person, post some inspirational quotes on your wall or your computer’s desktop. Listen to a playlist that pumps you up if it’s acceptable in your office to have earbuds in. Post some pictures of your friends, family, or adorable puppies you find online on your desk. As long as what you post is office appropriate and helps you have a better attitude, your coworkers will respect you making your space your own. They’ll learn what’s important to you and you’ll be a more effective team member. You spend a lot of your week at the office; you might as well make the space your own.

These are the basics for what a smart girl has in her office drawers. Is there anything you guys always have on hand that I missed? I would love to hear your favorite workplace tips and am looking forward to this new series with you all.

Have a happy workday!
Lauren

Touch of Spring

2 Apr

Hi everyone!

The last week or so in San Francisco has looked like this:

It’s rainy and dreary and hard to stay in a pumped up Spring mood! To rectify this, I’ve compiled some images to help us stay inspired for Spring’s joys. We all love changing our outfits for the seasons, so here’s some ideas.

For color, be bold.

Take accessories risks.

Don’t be afraid to dream of warmer weather.

And if all else fails, just go see The Hunger Games (again).

Have a happy start to your week! :)

Wishing you sunny weather,
Lauren

…and we’re back!

28 Mar

Hi dreamers!

It’s been a long hiatus, but I have to say my vacation was much needed! As many of you know from my posts just before my trip, I spent two weeks in Spain at the start of the month. It was incredible! Another sorority sister and I visted our pledge sister and had a blast running around the beautiful country and putting my college spanish to use. I spent the first week in the northwestern part of the country and then a weekend in Barcelona and a few days in Madrid. I’m planning to share some trip highlights with you over the next week or so…it’ll let my trip linger a little longer. Since I’ve been home, I have eased back into the swing of life. Between work, friends, catching up on laundry, and the daily grind, it’s amazing we have time for anything else!

One of the biggest things I have noticed upon my return to the states is how much more relaxed I am. I think something about adjusting to the “real world” in the last two years and never having more than four days off in a row really piled up, and I didn’t even realize it. Upon my return, I feel much happier. I am not stressed out at work, and I’m not letting little things pile up as easily. I am more excited to see my friends, and I’m all around more positive. I’m loving the adjustment! Since noticing how I feel different, I am trying to pinpoint how to keep my post-vacation glow to last throughout the year. If I make any significant progress on finding the keys to this happiness, I’ll be sure to pass them along, but in the meantime, I’m excited to be on this journey with you again participating in life together.

Some thoughts for Worth-It Wednesday (since we’re back and everything!) to help us refocus and reclaim our happiness.

Do you guys have any tips for me on keeping this post-vacation feeling? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I’m excited to start our journey once again. And happy Worth-It Wednesday! Make this one WORTH it!

-Lauren

Day Trip a Coruna

4 Mar

Hey dreamers!

How are your weekends? We spent our first days in Spain exploring and celebrating our friend’s birthday at the clubs in Santiago, aka discotechs. The first day in Santiago we took a day trip to the coast that I chronicled for you guys to see!

We traveled by train to Coruna, which is the part of Spain closest to England. Both Santiago de Compostela and Coruna are in the autonomous region of Galicia, in the northwestern part of Spain, just north of Portugal. The town used to be a citadel protecting Spain from the British and still had the remains of huge cannons in the park on the coast. It also has the oldest lighthouse still in operation in the world!

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The train station in Santiago. It stopped raining just as we got there, for a beautifully sunny day!

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Cafes con leche at the train station. :)

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Beautiful day to be on the Atlantic coast!

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Oldest lighthouse in operation in the world. (And yes, we had a dance party to David Guetta / Usher’s “Without You” on top of it…I have the most insane friends!)

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The rocky coast was just so beautiful to sit and take in.

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Traditional Spanish food for lunch. The “tortilla” is potatoes, eggs, and cheese and I’ve had it about five times in 2.5 days. This actually wasn’t my favorite tortilla, but it was still great. A beer with lunch and some delicious Spanish chorizo was incredible! This place had the BEST croquettes (not pictured) that they made fresh just for us.

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The pub where we ate lunch.

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The amazing view from the restaurant by the park with cannons and beautiful vistas. The area was full of families with children playing soccer.

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A view of the bay and lighthouse from outside. Amazing!

So glad I’m able to share some snap shots of this day trip with you all. This week we’ll roam Santiago, go to the market one morning, drive up the coast to a breathtaking peninsula at sunset, tour the cathedral, go shopping (we are staying two blocks from Zara), and take a train to another local city (for the beautiful view)!

I’ll try to post again this week before we head out to Barcelona for a long weekend! Hopefully you guys all have a great Monday!

Besos,
Lauren

Spain 2012

1 Mar

Hey dreamers!

The last week has been a whirlwind of packing, wrapping up projects at work, last minute shopping, and loading up my kindle in preparation for my cross-ocean adventure! Consequently, posts haven’t been as regular as I like them; I hope you’ll bear with me. :)

I’ll be pretty much out of touch for the next two weeks (and kind of want it that way….), but I just got the new WordPress iPhone app, so I may check in with a post here or there when I have Internet. (Presently, I’m at San Francisco International Airport, it’s 3:30am, my super shuttle was 20 minutes early, and the Starbucks isn’t even open yet…not the most relaxing or adventurous vacation yet….)

I’ll miss you all in my absence, but I can’t wait to come back relaxed, refreshed, and inspired. :)

Let’s pretend it’s Worth-It Wednesday and be inspirational. If you can’t get away today, make it a staycation where you are and appreciate something new about your surroundings.

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Have a beautiful day, everyone! :)

-Lauren

2012 Academy Awards

27 Feb

Hi dreamers!

How were your weekends? I had an amazing one myself. Friday, I went to an amazing party for the start up my friend works for on the rooftop of the Metreon with a bunch of friends, and Saturday we drove out to the East Bay to go to a country bar (complete with mechanical bull). It was topped off with watching the Oscars and relaxing at home and prepping for my trip to Spain (this week!)

I thought the Oscars this year were great. They were upbeat and lively, and I think excellent people won. Christopher Plummer (at 82) is now the oldest man to win for Supporting Actor, and Jean Dujardin is the first Frenchman to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Meryl Streep won Best Actress and joined the small number of amazing actors to win her third Oscar, and Octavia Spencer’s win for Supporting Actress and subsequent speech was probably my favorite part all night. It was so touching. The Artist took home Best Picture; I still haven’t seen it, but it’s now officially on the top of my to-watch list.

I think picking one overall Best Dressed takes some time to let all the looks marinate in your mind a little, but my initial favorite is Emma Stone. I know her look is reminiscent of the Gwyneth Paltrow Balenciaga dress a couple years ago, but it was lovely and youthful, and I just adore anything with a bow. (And presenting with Ben Stiller was adorable.) Here’s her look below (in a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress, Brian Atwood heels, and a Louis Vuitton clutch):

I’ll give you a run down of more favorites tomorrow!

Have a great Monday!
Lauren

Navy Blazer

23 Feb

Happy Thursday, dreamers!

I got up early this morning and hit the gym, so I pretty much feel untouchable. I love the feeling of getting more done and it just lasts with me all day!

I don’t know about you guys, but I work in an office that is probably the perfect mix of office-place-conservative and laid back. I wear jeans every Friday and occasionally another day of the week, but at least one or two times a week I try to really step it up with my outfit. A matching suit would be a little extreme in our environment, so I usually mix and match jackets and skirts or pants (or a dress!) One of my favorite office-appropriate pieces is a navy blazer. (I recently acquired my second one…). A navy blazer is a must for any office gal. You can pair it with khaki slacks, a summery sundress, or a pair of jeans! It might be the most versatile piece in your closet…

I love the laid back chic look of a blazer for a happy hour with the girls or running errands on Saturday.

A refined blazer look is of course a must. (Even princesses do it!)

A smart working girl knows the you only have one chance to make a first impression. And that people often treat you the way you present yourself to them. (And when you’re on the younger side of the office, this is even more important!) Step up your look with a perfect navy blazer!

I’m rocking mine today with one of my favorite striped dresses and some strappy gold sandals, since it’s as good as summer this week in San Francisco! :) (And you can see how I styled mine with my Jason Wu for Target dress here.

Have a great Thursday!
-Lauren

Spain!

22 Feb

Yes, dreamers!

I think some of you guessed it, but yes, I am going to Spain!! I leave in one week, and I’ll be there for two WHOLE weeks. I have a really great friend and sorority sister teaching English in Santiago de Compostela, so I’ll be there for one week, followed by a long weekend in Barcelona and a few days in Madrid! Two weeks off of work and enjoying the Spanish lifestyle. :) I can’t wait. I’ll be traveling with another beautiful sorority sister, and we’re super pumped! Siestas, sangria, cathedrals, paintings, plazas, palaces….what more can you ask for!?

Let’s just hope I remember how to speak Spanish…. :)

Thanks for letting me share this with you all. Please, please, PLEASE give me recommendations if you have them! I have never been before and completely welcome museum/bar/club/restaurant/cathedral/plaza recommendations. Share your knowledge with me!

Happy Worth-It Wednesday!
Lauren

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