5 Things to Do to Make Your Day Better

5 little things smaller

If you’re like me, the daily grind can get a little grating. Some days the work piles up, others you’re riddled with anxiety, or sometimes you can’t seem to get out of a funk. In the past, I would succumb: I’d work halfheartedly and spend twice as long doing it, I’d let anxiety paralyze me, I’d collapse on the sofa and waste the day watching Parks and Rec on Netflix for the third time (it happens).

But over the summer, I realized that incorporating little rituals into my everyday routine can make a world of difference. Even something as small as going for a short walk can reinvigorate you. So, for the next time you find yourself feeling crazed, or uninspired, here are some of my favorite ways to re-center.

1 // Hang up some string lights.

Turning on lights is basically a guaranteed mood-boost, especially in the colder months when it starts getting dark early. But there’s something undeniably magical about string lights: they’re delicate and whimsical, and I always feel a little happier when I have mine on. Around Christmas time, my mom lines the living room windows with them, so they always make me feel warm and cozy. I love these from IKEA – they feel a little less stark than a regular white string.

2 // Treat yourself to an afternoon pastry.

I do this one so frequently that it’s practically become a part of my routine. I’m partial to cinnamon buns and scones, but whatever the pastry, taking a break in the late afternoon for a little snack is one of my favorite indulgences. I’ll grab a pastry in the morning (or make it myself on the weekends) so I have it waiting for me when I get back home. Knowing that I have a treat waiting for me usually helps me push through my work and gives me something to look forward to.

3 // Curl up with a milky cup of tea and the news.

I usually combine this with the previous idea. I’m at my most calm when I’m wrapped up in a plush throw (the one pictured, from Urban Outfitters, is my latest obsession) with creamy black tea in hand, scrolling through the New York Times on my iPad, classical music playing in the background.

4 // Read something funny.

Laughter, after all, is the best medicine. There’s nothing quite like reading a “Shouts & Murmurs” story or revisiting a favorite David Sedaris piece to snap me out of a funk. (Here’s my favorite book of his – but they’re all good.)

5 // Listen to a podcast while you go for a walk.

Now that the weather is cooling off, going for walks is one of my favorite things – especially in the evenings, when it’s cool and crisp and dusky. In the interest of multitasking, I like to listen to podcasts while I walk, so I’m learning something new and exercising at the same time – some of my favorites are The World in Words (all about languages), 99% Invisible (cool design history), and The Stockholmer (stories of people doing amazing things in – you guessed it – Stockholm). Alternatively, switch out the walking for coloring in a coloring book if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

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Netflix Watch List

netflix watch list

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I have a terrible habit of picking out movies and TV shows on Netflix. I open up the app on my iPad with the best intentions of watching a foreign film or starting a new cult TV show, but usually wind up scrolling through recently-added flicks or top reccomendations for me to no end. My watch list is getting a little bit out of control now (for every movie I watch, I easily save 10 more to watch later), but I have worked my way through a fair number of hidden gems and TV series. If you’re looking for something to watch but don’t want to get sucked into the vortex that is Netflix, here are seven picks that I can personally vouch for.

  1. Beginners // This is a cool, artsy-type movie – it’s told in a pretty original way, and the story itself is gentle, sometimes heart wrenching, and carries some nice messages about life and love (I’m making it sound really cliched, but it’s actually pretty cute and unique).
  2. Moonrise Kingdom // You’ve probably seen this, so it’s more like a reminder that this Wes Anderson gem is available on Netflix. If not, Moonrise Kingdom is a visually stunning, offbeat, quirky comedy that’s well worth a watch.
  3. Scoop // This was a Woody Allen flick that I’d never heard of and watched on a whim – and of course, being a fan of his, I loved it. It’s quite a charming, funny murder mystery (so…expect some dark humor).
  4. A Cat in Paris // I don’t normally watch animated films (aside from Disney/Pixar, of course), but a friend recommended this to me with the note that the whole thing looks like a painting – and it does. Queue it up if you’re in the mood for a really pretty movie, or if you just love Paris (or cats).
  5. Atonement // I love Ian McEwan, but I’ll admit, I’ve never read Atonement. The movie version, though, is fantastic. The costumes and the acting are superb, and the story is haunting.
  6. The Importance of Being Earnest // If you’re a sucker for witty British period pieces based on books, this one’s for you (pretty specific genre, I know). Truth be told, I’ve never seen this Oscar Wilde classic on stage, or read it, but this version with my favorite Colin Firth is a riot of mistaken identities.
  7. Broadchurch // I’d seen the first episode of this show while flicking channels at least twice, and it was haunting – it begins with the murder of a young boy in the seaside town of Broadchurch, and it only gets more intense from there. I intended to savor this series, but found myself at the end of the first season after just a few days of dedicated binge watching – I couldn’t get enough.

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Sour Cream Waffles with Blackberry-Lemon Syrup


Of all meals, brunch may be my favorite – if for no reason other than the huge selection of acceptable brunch foods. There’s the sweet, the savory, the simple and the outrageously decadent. Brunch every weekend is a little too much to ask for, though (but I can dream, right?), which is when waffles become the perfect Sunday treat. These come together quickly and don’t have that weird, tough, ultra-dense texture. But the star of the show is the blackberry maple syrup with a hit of lemon – it’s sweet, rich and bright all at the same time. Ideally served in a big stack on fresh white plates, with a pot of coffee nearby.

waffle 2

Sour Cream Waffles
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients. Beak egg yolks, sour cream and milk. Stir into flour mixture a third at a time, alternating with the cooled melted butter and oil until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Bake in a waffle iron, using about 1/2 cup (a few large spoonfuls) of batter. Makes 6-8 waffles, depending on how generous you are with the batter.

Blackberry Lemon Maple Syrup
1 12 oz. package of frozen blackberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice

Cook blackberries and maple syrup together in a small saucepan until blackberries are thawed and maple syrup is hot. Mash the blackberries. Add lemon zest and juice right before serving.

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Building My Ideal Wardrobe

ideal wardrobe

Loafers | Red & White striped tee (on sale!) | Gray sweater | Black dress | Black cardigan | Pencil skirt | Bar necklace | White button-up | Lace-up flats

My style has had quite an evolution over the last year. I used to veer toward punchy prints and bright colors – in the spring and summer, at least – because of what I like to call the “ooh, shiny!” affliction. I’d walk into a store and immediately spot a pair of statement pants, or an undeniably fun blouse, and grab them without second guessing it. I’d try these clothes on and buy the ones that fit, with the misguided notion that they’d blend into my wardrobe seamlessly. But once I brought them home, they lost their appeal after a few wears – and it took me until just recently to pinpoint why. I’m not the type of person who wears day-glo brights, giant polka dots and trendy silhouettes. I admired the look on other people, sure, but I didn’t quite realize that it was important for me to have my own aesthetic.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t still find myself drawn to bold patterns or statement pieces – of course I do – it just means that now, since I’ve had this epiphany, I’m better able to process that initial reaction. Do I really love the piece and see myself wearing it day after day, for seasons to come? Or is it like something shiny you see on the sidewalk – interesting for a moment, only to be soon passed by and forgotten? It’s usually the latter. And passing over the fun clothes that I used to think were for me has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, which only reinforces the fact that these things weren’t my style. 

I’m working on defining an actual vision for my wardrobe right now, based on the things that I’ve been buying lately, and pictures I’ve found online (hello, Pinterest!) that genuinely speak to me. Right now, my summer closet has been curated to a point that I’m comfortable with – it’s not overflowing, yet I never find myself struggling to piece together an outfit, and all of the clothes I have are pieces I truly love and feel comfortable wearing. Sure, it means passing up on some trends, but in the end I’ve found a look that I feel at home in, and that’s all I could really ask for.

Of course, though, that’s just this summer. Naturally, I’ve started looking ahead to the fall and winter – and this year is especially big, since I’m moving. I’m figuring out the colder-weather basics that will serve me well through the colder months, along with some other pieces that can be in heavy rotation year-round. The things above are what I’ve come up with.

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