// 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?!

// 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!

// 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!

// Our Weekend By The Numbers

Our weekend by the numbers:
4 days (so far) with strep throat/upper respiratory infection
2 days (so far) of laryngitis and no voice
3 trips to Mike's dad's office (in the next town over) for him to work
3 gooey cinnamon rolls devoured by Toby Saturday morning
3 acts of holy terror displayed by Toby while out and about on Saturday (argh!)
1 mylar balloon purchased and accidentally released ~*into the wild (followed by crying)
3 occasions where I was positive Mike needed to take me to the ER
4 articles of clothing Mike ruined while painting this weekend
0.5 pieces of cheesecake I ate, despite craving it for days
1 porch swing enjoyed for the afternoon
3 is the daily average of times I walk into the nursery just to look around (!!!)
16 lollipops that grew from jellybeans in our flowerbed
45 emails in my inbox that need to be attended to today
3 design clients who have been so patient with me while I'm sick
8 ticks that I've found on myself since spending 15 minutes outside yesterday
80 degrees for today's high - and I hope I get to enjoy some of it

Here's to hoping that this week brings lots of sunshine your way... both literally and figuratively.

PS; If you want to join in the By The Numbers fun, feel free to play along! Write your own post and leave a link below! I'd love to read what you've been up to! xo

// Currently

sneaking a cheeky Target selfie while waiting on some help in the bookcase aisle

starting my day with tea and this guy each morning

we're slowly but surely making progress on the nursery!

georgia is the snoozing-est dog ever

we've started taking active measures to keep enid out of the baby's bassinet haha!

pipkin thinks it's necessary to be on all of the pillows at once

when i'm home alone i eat like a toddler

i'm eyeball deep in mother's day sign orders and i'm almost caught up!

i had a day full of lounging in bed and reading the other day. win!

we took toby for a surprise froyo date the other day because he had been so good

baby flynn is supposed to be a leo so i made him a little constellation hanging for his room!

READING: Right now I'm in the middle of reading The Art of Possibility and so far I'm loving it. It has seriously opened my eyes to so many things. It's only a couple of bucks on Amazon! I had some folks ask for a review when it's all said and done so stay tuned for that once I finish!

WONDERING: How on earth I'm going to survive this yucky sinus infection or cold or whatever it is, without any medicine. This sickness hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday and I've spent the past 36 hours feeling like I'm going to die. I went to bed at 9:30 last night and from 11pm until 8am I was up every single hour. Finally the fever and headache were too much to bear at 4am so I took 2 Tylenol and settled back in to sleep. Luckily by the time I woke up at 5am my fever had broken and my headache subsided. But ugh, few things are grosser than waking up in a pool of your own sweat haha! This is the first time I've been sick while pregnant and boy oh boy, it is not fun!

FEELING THANKFUL: That everything with the baby is a-okay! I had my glucose test on Wednesday and I was convinced that I was going to fail it. I don't know why, but I was set on it. I was told that they would call me if my results were abnormal, but otherwise they'd just see me in 4 weeks. Well, I got the phone call the next day. I saw it was my doctor and I was like "NOOOO!" - but all fears were put to rest and I had passed. Thank goodness because I did not want to do a 3 hour test! Now I just need to stop reading so much about pre-eclampsia and things like that... I freak myself out!

EATING: lately I've wanted a fuji apple chicken salad from Panera for every single meal. We live like, an hour+ away from the closest Panera, so it's one of those things where I can't have it and that just makes me want it more, ya know? My stepdad drives 2 hours to work each way every day and he brought me one home earlier this week. I shouldn't admit how excited I was, but whatever. It was the best! haha

WATCHING: Probably entirely too much tv honestly. I was so set on canceling our cable for the Spring/Summer since we'll be outside so much, but of course as soon as one good tv show ends, another one starts up. I'm looking at you, Nurse Jackie! We've really taken a liking to Enlisted too (Chris Lowell, swoon!). Oh and Surviving Jack! And Veep. And, and, and! Haha Any good tv shows you can recommend?

WORKING ON: A plethora of Mother's Day sign orders! I was overwhelmed at the number of reservations I got when I opened them up on ~*sale. I've been trying to paint as many as my hands will allow every day, all the while keeping up with my custom orders, too. It's tough and my hands cramp up like crazy, but it's a good problem to have! I'm also sending out the very last batch of Kaelah's Closet orders today. I shipped about 40 packages yesterday, and there are probably 10 or so left to go out today. It has been so awesome to clear out space in our house! Purging all of this stuff has become an obsession haha

LOVING: I was tempted to say this weather again... and I guess that's true. I'm so glad Dogwood winter is over because I don't think my body could take another cold snap. This week's cold front has seriously rattled my body like crazy. I'm ready for full-blown Spring... which in Tennessee really means higher humidity and sticky air. But I'll take it! I'm crossing my fingers that we're only 2 or 3 weeks out from pool weather, too!

ATTEMPTING: to plan out the rest of the nursery in my head. I have so many ideas and plans and crafts that I want to do, but only so much patience! haha I know the baby won't give a hoot if he has a cohesive nursery theme or whatever, but I've loved every minute of the planning process so far. It's starting to sort of fall into place (as much as it can with only one piece of furniture, that is!) and I'm loving the outcome!

WANTING: to convince Mike a "babymoon" isn't a total waste of cash. Sadly he starts school in less than 2 weeks and we already have plans for his Summer vacation, so unless we were to magically jet off in the next few days, a babymoon simply won't be happening. I guess I should channel all of this energy elsewhere then, huh? haha

What are you up to today?
If you're looking for something to do, share your own Currently post on your blog and leave a link to it below! I'd love to know how you're spending your day! (Currently post inspired by Danielle's feature!)