// Dating Yourself (+10 Cheap and Easy Ideas!)

What's the last, nice thing you did for yourself "just because" you deserved it? Last week I decided I wanted something to brighten up my living room so I bought myself flowers. Just a cheap, $5 bouquet of pink florals, but that little bouquet made a world of difference. I enjoyed trimming the stems and preparing my vase once I got home. I allowed myself 10 or 15 minutes to just experience the process. And when I found a little home for them on our entertainment center, I snapped a quick photo to share my own personal sunshine online. Maybe that sounds like a weird way to go about things, but that small, tiny gift to myself improved my mood tenfold that day. And I wanted to share that with others to inspire them to treat themselves! I realized that I deserved those flowers and I didn't need to wait around for anyone to buy them for me. Don't get me wrong, Mike used to shower me with flowers on the regular, and now he'll still surprise me every once and again. But why should I wait for someone else to give them to me? Fresh flowers make me so happy, and I owe it to myself to be inspired while I live and work. And so do you!

Maybe your last gift to yourself was a manicure (either in a salon or at home!), a new book, or even a long, uninterrupted bath. We don't have to shower ourselves with grand gestures or elaborate gifts... sometimes something so small can make such a difference. Sometimes we have to supply our own sunshine in life.

Here are a few cheap and easy ways to date yourself!

  1. Enjoy a long, relaxing bath. Maybe throw in some bath bombs or bubbles, and light some candles to set the mood. Bonus points if you treat yourself to a glass of wine, too!
  2. Spend some time giving yourself a fresh new manicure! Try a new color or get artsy with some DIY designs.
  3. Cook yourself a nice meal! Whether you have a household to feed or just yourself, spending time trying a new recipe that just sounds delicious can be a great treat!
  4. Browse your local library, bookstore or even Amazon for a new-to-you book to read. Get lost for a few hours. Don't feel guilty if it's a cheeky chick-lit book! (Those are my favorite!)
  5. Write yourself a little love letter or pep talk. Kara did a really cool version of this and I love the outcome! You can always go back to it when you need a boost!
  6. Buy yourself some flowers! This is obviously my favorite way to treat myself because I feel like it really adds to my environment. There's something so dreamy about fresh flowers! You can even pick them from the side of the road.
  7. Treat yourself to a matinee movie date! Is there a film you've been wanting to see? Go! Why not right?! I love settling in for a movie with my own popcorn and drink. It's such a great 90-minute escape from the daily grind.
  8. Learn a new skill or hobby! Workshops and classes are all over the place these days! Both online and off, it's so easy to find a class that helps you learn a new skill. Everything from weaving to jewelry design and sewing, and even things like web coding... This "date" is a great way to invest in your interests and your future. You might even find a new passion!
  9. Go to your local animal shelter and spend some time with the animals. You can volunteer to walk the dogs, feed the cats, etc. Not only will you be making the day of the animals in the shelter, but you'll also get those warm fuzzy feelings from being surrounded by precious little furry friends.
  10. Have a little impromptu photoshoot with yourself! Maybe this one sounds silly and self-indulgent, but just think about how good a new, gorgeous profile photo makes you feel! Find your favorite outfit, throw on some lipstick (if that's your kind of thing), and snap some selfies! Celebrate your beauty and set the tone for your online presence.
Whatever you do this week, just remember to date yourself! Treat yourself kindly and enjoy the little things. Don't wait for someone else to do it. 

What's your favorite way to "date" yourself? Today I'm going to spend time giving myself a mani/pedi, and maybe later this week I'll take myself on a froyo date. Why not, right?!

// My Uniform - Maternity Style - 26 Weeks

Since you couldn't really "see" my bump in my last outfit post, now I'm putting that baby on full blast! Can we just talk for a second about how I'll be 7 months pregnant in a couple of days?! Where did the time go?! This particular outfit is hands down my pregnancy uniform. I have worn it more times that I will ever care to admit, and I have absolutely no plans on stopping until this baby is born. Despite being featured on my Instagram a hundred times, I had yet to photograph it for the blog. If you see me at Toby's baseball game or palling around town, chances are high you'll see me in this dress haha I've worn it so much that the fabric is pilling all over the darn thing. It was a reasonably cheap purchase from Old Navy (especially considering the current cost-per-wear) and I'm tempted to just go snag a few more. I was hesitant to buy the chambray button-up because I was afraid it'd be a little too Dukes of Hazard-y, but I love the contrast between the two. (Shout out to the Old Navy mannequin sporting a similar get up one fateful shopping day!) Really the only thing I ever change about this outfit is the necklace I pair it with. Lately I've been playing with this spiked black and gold necklace under my collar. I wish I could remember where I got this necklace! Stitch Fix maybe? I know you can't see my shoes very well, but they're the most comfortable rubber "sandals" I've ever owned. They were part of our WWDMAGIC swag bag back in August and they were my saving grace at that tradeshow. Not only are they cute and lightweight, but the rubber is so cushion-y and it basically molds to the shape of your feet. I wish I had a million pairs because they are the best!

This past weekend was spent running a boatload of errands like picking out new glasses for Mike, rotating Honeybean merch out of some local boutiques, and finally ordering the rocker for the nursery. I wish I could say it was as productive as it sounds, but at the end of the day on Saturday I just felt like we wasted so much time and money haha! We did pick up a few final veggies and herbs for our little container garden and those are happily transplanted in our pots on the deck now. We managed to spend the afternoon with my parents on Sunday and Toby wore himself out! He crashed out for the night around 5:30pm. Merry Christmas to us! His new favorite thing in the world is flying kites, so he got in some good ol' kite flying before the rain and storms rolled in. We all headed over and grabbed lunch at the local Mexican restaurant, and I caught a cat nap on their couch while watching River Monsters haha! Then the yucky weather showed up. Seems like a huge part of the US is getting hit with some crazy severe weather this week! Our news stations are flooding the tv with tornado warnings and all that jazz. Crossing my fingers everyone stays safe! My Facebook feed is overrun with folks freaking out. I made the executive decision this morning to keep Toby home from school because so many other parents in town were. Plus nearby counties had already called to dismiss school early and I didn't want to have to pick him up in the middle of it all. I'm hoping it's just some severe storms and nothing too crazy. I love me some Spring weather, but I'd prefer the crazy thunderstorms without the tornadoes, thanks! I am loving how green and lush everything is looking though. Guess that's Mother Nature for ya.

Today I'll be spending time catching up on sign orders, installing a blog design or two, and then working on the next Kaelah's Closet sale! I'm hoping to get items listed at some point this weekend so stay tuned if you're in the market for some dresses! I think I'm getting to the bottom of my "storage" stock so I don't know how many more rounds I'll have. But man it feels so good to purge all of this stuff! I'll probably get rid of half of my current closet even! Luckily this week we have a full week off from baseball. And Mike starts nursing school on Thursday (!!!). I'm hoping we'll finally order the crib for the nursery and then go pick up the chair once it arrives. Then we'll be well on our way to having the nursery all done up! Jeez, looking back over this post I realize just how "boring" and suburban my life has become haha! Oh well, at least it's a comfortable kind of boring :P Happy Monday! xo

Old Navy maternity maxi dress
Old Navy chambray button up
Stitch Fix necklace
Urban Expressions purse (via WWDMAGIC)
Ipanema "Maya" sandals (via WWDMAGIC 2013)

// Rad Gal, Rad Gig: Quidditch Captain

Hey there! I’m Z and I consider myself to be a real-life George Weasley. That is to say, I’m a beater for my quidditch team. Muggle quidditch started about seven years ago at Middlebury College in Vermont and has been growing ever since. It’s structured exactly the same as the books, with a few key differences – players run on brooms (as opposed to flying), bludgers are dodgeballs (instead of metal balls hit with bats), and the snitch is a person dressed head-to-toe in gold who runs around with a tennis ball stuffed in a sock coming out the back of their pants. Simple, right?
A real life snitch, just about to take off at the beginning of the game!

Despite the initial complexity of learning to play, quidditch is one of the easiest and fun physical outlets I’ve ever encountered. You see, I came into my college experience a little out-of-sorts. I had moved halfway across the country to a new city and wasn’t sure how I could find a group of people to bond with. I also wanted the chance to challenge myself physically, since I never had the time to play sports in high school. Turns out, the Park Street Pulverizers found me just in time.
snarly little freshman-year me on the left, pre-game stretch on the right!

I showed up to our “combine” – a chance for everyone to play be scouted by each of our six intramural teams – with high expectations. I had wanted to play quidditch since I had heard it discussed at my college tour and hoped it would click. It’s still hard to describe what I felt the first time I was given a dodgeball and instructed to throw it at opponents as they charged down the field. I had never been coordinated or graceful on any sort of sports stage…until there was a broom between my legs. I beat my little heart out that afternoon and left sweaty, dirty, and with a smile on my face.

After that first day, I was drafted to the Pulverizers, or the “Pulvies” for short. My freshman year of college is defined by my quidditch companions. We raised money to go Vermont to play in a fundraising event, held a carnival (Pulvie-palooza) in our school’s basement, and eventually went on to win the Griffith Cup, our intramural trophy. But more than anything, I made connections. As these things go, tackling strangers to the ground usually turns them into your best friends. (Granted, this has only been proven true in a quidditch context – don’t take my word for the rest of the world.)
I’m now in my third year at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Each year I keep playing quidditch and love it more each year. My other campus organizations know not to schedule things over our practices. Everyone clears their schedules for Sunday afternoon games. Through mud, rain, tears, and laughs, we play this ridiculous sport.

Now, I live with three other Pulvies. My boyfriend is a Pulvie. This past spring, I was elected to be co-captain. I owe most of my social life to quidditch, as well as almost every friendship. If the Pulverizers hadn’t found me, I’m not sure I’d still be at Emerson. So I pay it forward wherever I can, and make sure that quidditch continues to thrive here. 

First stop shop is the IQA: International Quidditch Association. They have all the “recognized” teams from all over! Find out if there’s a team at your college or in your area. Yes, this isn’t just for college – teams like The Lost Boys (Los Angeles, California) and The NYDC Capitalists (New York and District of Columbia) are great example of community teams that are finding success! You might even go to the World Cup!

Oh, right, yeah – did I mention there’s a WORLD event for showcasing the best teams!? Complete with bracket-play and full-tackle aggression, The Quidditch World Cup was a whole weekend of madness. This year it happened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, April 4-6th. It was an especially awesome weekend since Emerson made it to the Final Four! Go Lions! 

Quidditch, despite its magical history, is a very intense and demanding sport, especially if played at the World Cup level. Expect to run. A lot. Expect to fall. A lot. Bruises and a bit of blood are standard. But also know that you will love your teammates more than you thought possible. (And maybe not just in a friendship way – “quincest” isn’t necessarily frowned upon.) Oh and yes, broom burn is real.

Rad Gal, Rad Gig is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite really neat gals to share their really cool stories. Whether your gig is a full-time job or just a hobby, I want to hear from you! If you think you'd be perfect for Rad Gal, Rad Gig, feel free to get in touch or view the information on the Submissions page! Just submit a short description of what you do and why you think it's rad!

// Fruit Salad - Maternity Style - 26 Weeks

This dress is everything! As soon as it arrived via FedEx I tore it from the box, threw it on, and basically didn't take it off for a few days. I wanted to wear it everywhere! My Kelly green cardigan was a perfect match for the belt, too! The fabric on the dress is way different than I imagined. For some reason I was expecting a cotton dress but it's 100% polyester. While it may not be the best choice for the humidity in Tennessee this Summer, I was so pleasantly surprised at how nice it felt. And it's fully lined which is always a good thing. It's super lightweight and I don't feel bogged down by it at all. While it was totally a courtesy of dress, I would definitely buy it if it hadn't been. I'm a little bit obsessed with it. I don't care how trendy fruit prints are right now, I'm a huge fan! I also really love how the black background and white polka dots help give definition to the fruit. I love the illustration style. The cut and fit of this dress is so flattering too, even at almost 7 months pregnant. Though if we're being honest, I'm starting to notice a huge difference in the girth of my natural waist these days haha As this baby gets bigger and bigger, everything is getting pushed higher up on the internal side of things and my fit and flare dresses are starting to get a wee bit tighter. I know you can't really tell how big my bump is in this outfit, but this photo should give you an idea haha! I have a feeling I'll be living in those Liz Lange and Old Navy dresses during the warmer months anyway. You know, when I'm not submerged in the pool to escape the heat.

And now a little diddy on "maternity style"... I've tried writing this like three times but every time it comes out like I'm whining so I apologize! Totally not my intention as I really just wanted to open up a discussion about things haha It's been brought up that many of my maternity style posts are really just regular ol' outfit posts with the word "maternity" added in, and that's totally true. I've been thinking about writing a post about "maternity" style and things like that, but honestly I couldn't really wrap my thoughts up into a nice little package, so instead you'll get a paragraph or two instead haha! I can't speak for any other pregnant lady, but I know that when I first found out I was expecting, I was incredibly nervous about how I was going to be able to dress my growing figure. I mean, my current wardrobe has supported weight gain in the past, that's no problem. But dressing myself while one particular area of my body is growing at a much more rapid pace than the rest of it... yow, that sounded scary! I was afraid I'd be left with a closet full of clothes that I couldn't wear, and I'd have to shell out mad cash for a whole new wardrobe I'd only wear for a few months. Luckily I've been able to transition a lot of my clothing into this new phase, even if it is getting harder and harder to do. (Shoutout to fit and flare dresses!) And the pieces of maternity clothing that I have purchased have all been very in line with my personal aesthetic and style. I mean, why would I all of a sudden do a 180 with my style in order to dress my bump? Granted I've tried new silhouettes (and totally loved them!), but all in all I'm still a dresses and cardigan kind of girl. 

When I did a thorough Pinterest search for maternity-friendly outfits, most of the results were jeans and a blouse, or something that really wouldn't flatter my figure (pregnant or otherwise!). When you're already curvy, adding a basketball under your top can be intimidating haha. Again, I can't speak for all pregnant women, but I'm so glad I haven't had to give up my personal style just for the sake of this bump (at least so far). Isn't that something a lot of us hope for? To be able to stay true to our styles and likes while experiencing something so rad, yet new? Eh, I don't know! Maybe my brain was just over thinking it - that tends to happen a lot haha What do y'all think? Is it fair to label something "maternity style" if it's really just an extension of your everyday style, but you just happen to be pregnant? And do you aim to retain your own personal style while you've got a baby on board? I think it's an interesting discussion to have and I'd love your input!

In other news... we got Toby all registered for kindergarten this week! It's so crazy to me that he'll be transitioning into the elementary school in just a couple of months. Where did my teensy little 3 year old go?! Tonight he has a double header baseball game and I'm crossing my fingers they do as well as they did on Tuesday. Toby got two amazing base hits (a double and a single!) and even scored two runs. Don't tell Mike I told you this, but he totally teared up when Toby crossed home plate. It was his first time making it all the way around the bases and it was definitely one of "those" moments for dear ol' Dad. My heart swells when I see Mike interact with Toby. I feel so incredibly fortunate to share my days with that sweet fella. I love that our boys are going to grow up with such a strong male influence to look up to. Annnnd that's my mushy bit for this post! I can sometimes get carried away...

We're getting started on planting our herbs and veggies this weekend and I'm so excited. I just need to track down a cilantro plant somewhere. Homemade salsa, here I come! We're spending the day gallavanting around Nashville tomorrow in hopes of finding some stuff for the nursery, and maybe even some outdoor furniture or accessories to help set the mood of our back deck. It's so crazy to me that we're already having weeks in the mid-80s around here! I mean, that's totally normal for Tennessee, but it feels like just yesterday I was whining about how cold it was haha I'm also crossing my fingers that I'll see a few of my favorite lady friends tomorrow, too! I hope y'all have a great start to your weekend. Be sure to pop back by tomorrow for a super fun Rad Gal, Rad Gig! If you're a Harry Potter fan, you won't want to miss it! xo

Fresh Farmer's Market dress c/o ModCloth
Charter School cardigan c/o ModCloth
Body Central necklace
Urban Expressions purse (via WWDMAGIC)
ShoeMint flats (c/o - last year)

// Things I Love Thursday v.181

this series is so good i almost stopped the photo section here! ♥
these swaddled bats! ♥
♥ this was the dream, right? to have cher's virtual closet?! ♥
this little dose of cuteness! ♥
this nail design ♥
this cute gal's hair! ♥
this illo full of bright colors! ♥
this illustration and the accompanying quote: ♥
"There is this certain assumption that when a man tells the truth, it’s the truth.  And when, as a woman, I go to tell the truth, I feel like I have to negotiate the way i’ll be perceived.  Like, I feel like there’s always this suspicion around a woman’s truth; the idea that you’re exaggerating." - Kathleen Hanna

// This tiger shark was nursed back to health after getting caught up in Australia's controversial shark culling program. Ah, my heart!

// I loved Isobel's Easter outfit and if you're in the mood for more links after this post, check out the link portion of this Snapshot!

// Paws for thought: A pioneering surgery puts a cat back on his feet. (The article is from 2010, but it's still great!)

// Read this tween's open letter to our anti-feminist enemy. This girl is *everything*! She's only 12 and I am just so so inspired by her!

// To the boys who may one day date my daughter (video). But here are some great gifs of it if you can't watch right now!

// Wishlist Wears: this dress is EVERYTHING! // this dress is the perfect pattern, length and silhouette... swoon! // i love the soft, buttery yellow of this dress // this eyelet sweater is the perfect blend of casual and cute // summer sandals for the win! // THESE mustard and ivory oxford heels! I need them! // i wish this dress was a little bit cheaper because I really want it for Summer! // the perfect "Pushing Daisies" dress (I miss that show!) // this spring + summer purse!

// Don't forget to enter the Under The Sea giveaway!

What are you loving this week?

// Baby Aspen "Under The Sea" Giveaway

This might be one of the cutest giveaways I've ever done on this little blog. When Mike and I found out we were expecting a baby back in December, I started lurking flash sale sites like mad! That's where I first found out about Baby Aspen. I ended up ordering loads of super cute goodies for our little one, and even a few bits and bobs for friends' babies. I was tickled pink when they came in the mail because they're so stinking adorable. Now I feel like Baby Flynn owns most of the Baby Aspen line and he's not even here yet. It was totally meant to be when they approached me about running a little contest here on the blog so y'all could get your hands on some goodies, too!

Their "Under The Sea" collection is hands down my absolute favorite on the site, and Baby Flynn already has the Chomp n Stomp shark set (!!!) and a shark hooded robe. And thanks to my friend Nicole over at BA, he'll also be sporting the Lobster hooded towel and bibs up above! While I can't really "review" the items we have in terms of ease of use on the baby, I can tell you how adorable they are and how good the quality is. Just to give you an idea of what I've ordered off of Baby Aspen myself, we currently have: Chomp n Stomp shark set, Lobster hooded towel*, Beach Buddies bib set*, Hippo hooded robe, Shark hooded robe*, Chomp n Stomp monster set, Baby MD outfit, Baby Pilot outfit, and probably a few more I'm forgetting. Not to mention the pieces I ordered for friends! - Here's Essley sporting a pair of the bloomers I sent her! - (The items marked with an asterisk were courtesy of, just to be upfront about what I bought and what I was given!) When I say I love their stuff, I promise I mean it! Just look at their Big Dreamzzz collection! And if you have a little lady, you'll die at all of the cuteness available. (And a little birdie tells me they'll be expanding their boy stuff this Summer!)

Now Baby Aspen wants to give one of you lucky guys or gals a Lobster hooded robe and Beach Buddies bib set! Whether you have a kiddo yourself or know someone who does (or is expecting!), you'll have the perfect haul to give!

To be entered to win the Lobster hooded towel and the Beach Buddies bib set, just "Like" Baby Aspen on Facebook! Then leave a comment below letting me know what name you liked them under and voila!

For additional entries, feel free to do any or all of the following (and leave a separate comment for each below!): Follow Baby Aspen on Instagram, Follow Baby Aspen on Twitter, Follow Baby Aspen on Pinterest.

A winner will be chosen at random next week and contacted shortly thereafter. This giveaway is open to US residents only! Thanks so much for dropping in and checking out the rad partners who make TCGG possible. I can't wait to see who wins! xo

Congratulations Jamie Nicole!