Fourth of July Favorites

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Lordy, lordy, America is almost 240!

*I wanted to put that on a t-shirt but Chris told me it wouldn't sell. I'm thinking he was wrong.

Like most people, I live for this weekend. It's like the Christmas of summer, but with warmer weather and less egg nog. What could be better than spending a weekend at the lake with friends and family, drinking beer on the boat, and making s'mores by the fire? This weekend is what Old Navy summer commercials are made of.

We're jumping in the car after Chris gets off work and making that lovely eight hour drive through the night which always fun. If you have a good suggestion for an audio book, let me know!

At the moment I'm trying to finish up all of my work, while also quickly packing. Flag bikinis, denim cut-offs, and red, white, and blue crop tops. I'm grabbing it all, people.

Thus I present to you: What's In My Bag- Fourth of July Edition.

But I won't really show you a photo of my neatly packed suitcase on a crisp white bed because my bed is neither white nor crisp. And I don't fold when I pack, I throw. I throw it all in and close that shit as fast as I can.

First and foremost:

1. Harlow's "how to survive the fireworks" essentials.

His thunder jacket and his happy pills. We used both last year and they worked pretty good. They didn't completely solve Harlow's intense fear of the loud boomers, but they certainly helped.

For other ways on how to calm your dog during fireworks, check out this post.

2. Several outfits I won't wear.
Which can include, but certainly isn't limited to, this white top I recently got and have worn 100 times.

Or these lace up wedges I often wear with said white top.

Sidenote: huge shoutout to my creepy neighbor next door for repainting his garage door. Really helping me up my blogger-pose game!

And also any striped sweater/shirt I own will be packed as well and most likely not worn.

I always pack outfits with such good intention. I'm going to look so cute and classy this Fourth of July, I think. But in reality once I get to the lake I usually wear the same thing over and over and couldn't care less about looking cute or classy.

Which brings me to number three.

3. Cut-offs and crop tops.

I have a major issue finding jean shorts that fit around my waist, aren't too snug on my thighs, and aren't too short on my butt. I've probably tried on 100 pairs in the last few months. I've found some of my favorites here, here and here.

And finally, these shorts are stupidly expensive and I resisted buying them for years, but I basically live in cut offs in the summer so I told myself if I wear them at least twenty times it will be worth it. I hate to say it, but now I understand why One Teaspoon is so popular, they really do fit pretty great.

4. Obnoxious swim suits.
Oh you know, just referring to the American swim suit as seen in this post.

5. A good book.
Right now I'm reading The Nest. I just started it, but it seems pretty good. If you have something you can't put down, let me know.

The self help book I'm reading (I'm always reading at least one) is "Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success."  It's making me realize I was gritty AF as a kid, but not at all as an adult. So I'll be working on getting my grit back- as soon as the 4th of July is over.

6. Food.
When I type "4th of July food" into Pinterest my head explodes- in a good way. A very good way. Give me all the red, white and blue food.

What's your favorite recipe? I'm always a sucker for a dip or pasta salad.

And that's all I've got for today. I won't be posting for a few days but I will be snapping @thedailytay. Sending happy and safe vibes to all of the doggies out there, just cozy up in the bathtub Stephanie Tanner style and you'll make it through this weekend.

Our Story- Chris and Tay

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Champs Tank Top.
It was a long day in T-Shirt Town yesterday. My delivery came at about noon and Har and I were working well until past 2 a.m.

Packing shirts for 12+ hours gets slightly... tedious. After awhile my brain goes numb and I start to get a little delirious. When Chris comes home from work and finds me in a pile of tshirts with a sock around my head and a look of crazy in my eye he'll just look at me and say, "T-Shirt lady back again?"

And I nod and cackle and then pretend Harlow and I are the two old women from Grey Gardens. This terrible snap brought me more joy than it probably should have.

If you haven't seen Grey Gardens go watch the remake starring Drew Barreymore and Jessica Lange. Then please go watch Bill Hader and Fred Armisons remake.

This gif will never stop being funny to me. I plan to do this all weekend.

I'm running on about three hours of sleep and I just can't function, so in honor of the wedding nightmares I've been having almost every night this month (I show up to our wedding and a. no one is there or b. I forgot to buy a dress or c. I'm just confused as hell about everything) for today's post I'm going to share the "our story" I used on our wedding site.

I hope you like it. And if you don't, here's a pic where it looks like Chris is smelling my cheek.

Our Story.

It was junior year of college. Too young for the bars, yet too old for house parties, it only made sense to "settle down."

My sorority sister, Sara, said she knew a guy from Fremont who was single and very cute.

His name was Chris and he was a Fiji, a house known for the very serious bookish type... Jk. Sara planned for us to "accidentally" meet at a social gathering Friday evening.

Upon entering the dingy white house on Orchard street, full of strapping young Fiji gents and loud rap music blaring overhead, my group of Thetas walked down the steep stairs into the musty basement and that's when I saw the handsome stranger in the corner who caught my eye: the silver beer keg. Chris happened to be manning it. I would later learn this was "his move," filling the keg cups for sorority girls like the nice gentlemen he is.

I don't remember our initial banter, but I'm sure it was awkward and embarrassing for any unsuspecting onlookers. What I do know is that Chris said, "you're very sarcastic aren't you?" I responded, "no, not really."

And then sparks flew. Literally. Someone dropped a cigarette near my feet and I had to jump out of the way.

A week later Chris asked me to go to El Potrero with him in the Haymarket for a date. It was my first "real dinner date" and I was nervous. Mexican food is a bold move for a first date. My KAT sorority sisters got me ready and coached me on how to be socially acceptable and not "too sarcastic." I walked out of the house wearing a white shirt that belonged to Kate and a black North Face that belonged to Tyeler. Only the best for El Potrero.

Dinner went good. I was almost comfortable enough to eat my food even. When I came back to the sorority house I told my sisters that "this one is going to last for awhile." In my head I knew I actually meant forever, but I wasn't lame enough to say that out loud, you know?

One date turned into two. Then five. Then ten. And each day only got better. I kept thinking to myself, when will this fun exciting feeling wear off? And when it never did, I knew I'd found a good thing.

It was in November of 2007 after an intense weekend at The Hawk at KU (more specifically the Boom Boom Room, if you've been there then you know) when Chris and I were sitting in his Fiji frat room when he officially asked me to be his girlfriend. He had just smashed an Italian Jimmy Johns sub as he often did back then and his breath smelled like a meat shop, but I hardly noticed. He had just asked me to be his girlfriend and I was ecstatic.

Then he told me he was moving to Spain in a month.

And thus began our five month long distance relationship just one month into dating. Luckily for us, 2008 technology was off the charts and I spent my days sitting in the Union looking like I was an obsessed gamer with my ear phones, microphone, and mini web camera always set up. We spent hours Skyping each other every day. The time difference was challenging, but we made do.

He moved back in May and we picked up right where we left off. Until I moved to Kansas City to become the Iron Chef in July. And so we began a distant relationship for the second time.

The following year Chris took an internship in St. Louis while I remained in Kansas City, now even further apart. By this time, I was tired of being away from him and encouraged him to take a job anywhere. Because as long as I was with him, it didn't matter where we lived!

Until that place was Topeka, Kansas. Turns out that was the one exception. For a brief, dark dark dark, dark dark, dark, dark, dark time in our past, we lived in Topeker a mere two blocks from the Westboro Baptist Church. Every day I would walk by that hate filled church and plot my takeover. When I found myself wanting to hold up my own hate signs in protest of them, I knew it was probably time to leave Peker.

So we moved to Chicago. Sweet sweet Chicago.

We've been here for five years now and have so much fun enjoying this city. I often find myself thinking, how did I get so lucky to get to live in this cool city and constantly get to hang out with this awesome guy next to me- Harlow. Kidding, I mean Chris of course.

Chris makes life fun. He's adventurous, likes to try new things, eat cool places, go to Disneyland on a Monday, and he never gets angry at strangers like I do. And when I catch him kiss Harlow on the forehead when he's sleeping I know I couldn't have possibly found better.

We're both so excited for a weekend in Steamboat with all of our favorite people. We hope you'll join us, and will most likely hold a grudge forever if you don't.

Also, our wedding hashtag is #thehillishaveeyes  (this was all Chris.)

The Ups and Downs of Blogging

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last week I surpassed over four million views on this little blog. I celebrated in true blogger form by drinking a Starbucks in front of a brightly colored wall. With a knot in my shirt. And a smug look on my face.

I consider myself a bit of an OG blogger since I've been doing this for 7-8 years now. So really 4 mil isn't much given the fact I've been coming here since the 80s. Never the less, I took a wee bit of pride in hitting it and gave myself a few moments of self reflection to think of this site called The Daily Tay, a basic ass blog name I came up with on a whim so many years ago with two thoughts in mind: 1. I'll change it later. 2. No one will ever see it anyway.

I'm not trying to romanticize anything here, but blogging has been a game changer for me. Every morning I get to start my day with Harlow at my side and I constantly remind myself how grateful I am for this. Lunch breaks are spent at the dog park, and 3:30 breaks are spent at yet another dog park. I am so lucky I get to work from home and do my own thing. I know this whenever I think back at some of the past jobs I've had.

Of course blogging has its ups and downs, as does every job, but as long as I can keep my head on straight I get the privilege of enjoying more of the ups than the downs.

The ups include connecting with so many people online. Being able to start a t-shirt business thanks to all you that support it. Sending money to animal shelters. Having the opportunity to see and do some really cool things. Feeling like it's my job to write. And being able to pay my bills by doing something that I really enjoy. The ups go on and on.

The downs are much fewer, and are mostly all superficial and in my head. But in moments of weakness they get me. If I'm not careful, blogging can make me feel oddly insecure.  It can get so competitive and it can make me feel like a loser when I see the newbies constantly "pass me" (always on Instagram) with their beautiful fashion pics and white marble kitchen pics.

The vanity of it all sometimes gets to be a little much for me. There's often this battle in my head between me feeling like a self obsessed weirdo posting 100 photos of myself every day like, everyone look at me wearing a pretty outfit! To the other voice in my head shouting back, shut up you could be sitting in a cubicle right now instead. 

I don't know if there's a solution for the constant mind battle. So instead I try to take (and post) my bloggy photos with good humor in mind. It is what it is. And like I said before, I know how I privileged I am that I'm able to make a living doing what I do. Who am I to complain?

This blog is one of the few things in my life I have stuck with the longest. I've had several projects, ideas, sites, dreams, ext, come and go. But blogging has been a constant. And so I view The Daily Tay as successful simply because of that. Anything good that has come my way because of this site didn't happen for me over night. I've put in the time and in a way it makes the payout that much sweeter. When I think about what makes blogging different from the other stuff I've started and quit, the only thing I can come up with is that I started this hobby solely out of passion. I never had any inclination I would make money doing it, or that it would turn into my job someday. I did it because it's what I've always done. From my first Lisa Frank diary in preschool to my journal entries on my yellow Dell in college.

It never really bothers me when people like to say blogging is dying (which I heard seven years ago when I first started by the way) because I know I'll keep doing this regardless. The way I do it may change down the road, but I'll always keep writing. It's just what I do.

To each and every one of you, thank you for contributing to those four million views. It makes me and my ego feel especially nice today! Now if four million of you could just go like my Instagram photo I would be filled with enough self validation to last me until at least tomorrow. Thanks in advance!

The Best On The Internet This Week

Friday, June 24, 2016

And today I bring you a good old fashioned ramble post, a compilation of things on my mind and cool things on the internet.

First of all, Orange Is The New Black. Who's with me on this one? I just finished the last season two nights ago and I CAN'T stop thinking about it. I continue to love the writing on this show and the way it humanizes people behind bars. The writers don't glorify the criminals, they tell their story. I could talk for days about my love for this show and the characters in it, so maybe instead I'll write an entire post and just leave it at this for now.

On to lighter things... Like floating on swans all summer.

Can you spot the bone spur on my leg? For whatever reason Spurry's been quite active this summer. Also yes, that's a Vizsla on my red, white, and blue koozie. Fourth of July accessories won't buy themselves!

Now don't mind me as I pose in my swimsuit and casually look off to the side... In my humble opinion, Target killed it with their patriotic swimsuits this year. They seem to be sold out of a lot of sizes in stores (as usual) but you can find this top and bottom online still. The top is a halter and almost fits like a sports bra, so when I wear it I like to pretend I'm an Olympic swimmer.

On to other things.... I've been on the hunt for the perfect pjs for my wedding week. I'll be staying in a suite with a bunch of my gal pals (presumably doing late night shenanigans together) so I figured it's time I stop wearing gross old tshirts to bed with basketball shorts and dress like an adult.

I've always wanted to be the type of person who wears matching top and bottom pj sets. Like someone from a Nancy Meyers film. Because to me, that person has their life together.

So look at me go. I'm an adult now with nice pajamas! I got this white shorty set from Needham Lane and I love it! I wore it on my bachelorette and about five of my friends immediately ordered a pair as well. What I love is that the material is soft and light, but yet it's still thick enough so you can comfortably wear these pjs without a bra underneath and not feel exposed.

I also got this blue striped robe because I'm a big fan of robes. Check out their entire sleepwear line here.

Now Harlow's being needy so I'll end with him. Truly Pawsome, have you heard of it? Clearly Harlow has. It's his new favorite thing to get in the mail.

Truly Pawsome is a monthly subscription box of 4-5 hand-selected natural, eco-friendly and quality doggie treats and toys.

But what I really love about Truly Pawsome is that they've partnered with Rocket Dog Rescue, and send 10% of their proceeds there.

Also, they have free shipping. Help animals, get free shipping. What's not to love?

Time for the Friday stuff. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

*Comments turned off because FRIDAY.

One Month To Go

Thursday, June 23, 2016

This photo strip has hung on our fridge in every apartment we've lived in for the past five years. It's dated June 10, 2009.

It's such a staple that I rarely even notice it anymore. Until I do. Like last week when I picked it up and realized it was almost seven years ago exactly when it was taken at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.

It was the summer after our senior year of college and Chris drove with me to Kansas City for a job interview. The job was a recruiter for a culinary school and my interview was making seven layer bean dip in front of everyone else interviewing, while throwing in some fast facts about myself and a few jokes of course.

Let's just say my work history is weird and leave it at that.

After the bean interview, which I felt I had nailed by the way, we were supposed to drive back home to Lincoln. But as we were heading out of Kansas City we passed a sign for Worlds of Fun. Suddenly we both had great memories of childhood moments spent there that came rushing back.

"Wanna go?" Chris asked.

"We can't," I said.

It was late in the afternoon and we both had to work tomorrow. And being the broke college kids that we were, a $50 ticket to the park was a lot of money. Not to mention all of the stupid over-priced park food I would inevitably want. I can't go to an amusement park and not eat a corndog and Italian Ice, I just can't.

"We could though... Why not?"

And so without a second thought we did.

We were at the park until it closed, riding the Mamba over and over and over. By the time we left it was pretty late so we checked into a very cheap, very dumpy hotel, right by the park that was definitely one of the top 5 grossest places I've ever stayed. We both slept in our clothes because the bed was ... the opposite of clean. Luckily, there was a great dive bar next to the hotel where we had a few drinks before having to sleep in the pube ridden bed.

I would argue that you really haven't lived until you've slept in a hotel room where you're scared to walk around barefoot, or turn on the bedside lamp in fear you might see what's really lurking on the bed sheets. We once stayed in a hotel in Paris where we literally had to walk behind (or under) the front desk to get to our room.


The random Worlds of Fun moment back in 2009 has become one of my favorite memories. In a lot of ways it captures so many of the things I love about Chris. His spontaneity that keeps me on my feet, his desire to always do something fun and adventurous, and most of all, his love for trashy amusement parks. What more could a girl ask for?

If only I could get him to love waterparks as much as I do. Wisconsin Dells has been calling my name for five years now.

One month from today I get to marry Chris. The guy who asked me to be his girlfriend over an Italian Jimmy Johns sub in his Fiji frat room. It's been ten years in the making, but we're finally ready to do the thing.

Our invites are sent and the RSVPs are back. (Most of them, you know who are you.) Minted did all of our paper and I really couldn't be happier. Their quality and service is unbeatable.

What are your colors? What is your theme? What are you going for?

The questions I continued to get that I didn't know how to answer, until I chose the invites. I didn't necessarily want "mountain rustic" as so many people suggested. But I didn't know what I wanted either. When I found these floral invites on Minted I loved everything about them so I said, that. Let's do that. And so we've tried to build "the theme" from there.

All of the last minute things are coming together.... I think. I hope.

If you've planned a wedding, or are planning a wedding, what should I be doing one month out? It's the things I think I'm forgetting that keep me up at night.

One month from right now I'll be sipping champs with my besties and getting eyebrows painted on. Life is but a dream!

9 Things That Annoy Me

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

1. Taking a blogging break. 

I hate that I haven't been able to write as consistently as usual around here. I know a lot of people like taking  a blog break and say how much "they really need it to unplug or blah blah blah," but not me.

Perhaps it's because I'm just that self centered, but if I don't write everyday I feel off balance. Things just don't feel right. I need to write to stay sane-ish.

After a great weekend spent in Nebraska doing all the summer things, I had a sweet little summer post planned that I was going to write. You know how I like to get all nostalgic about the magic of summer and pretend I'm writing a paid article for Home & Living mag circa 1986. I'm talking about something like this. But alas, it just wasn't in the cards for me yesterday. The universe decided June 21st was a great day to test me by throwing every annoying situation possible my way to see how I'd deal. Spoiler: I failed.

Let's take a look at a few.

2. Spilled coffee.
My day doesn't start until I've spilled coffee at least five times, this isn't new. But yesterday I spilled it on my computer. Luckily, we're still going...

3. Someone took my "spot" or my "reformer board" at pilates.
I'm well aware I'm crazy and can't "call" my spot. And yet I do. I've done it since college when I would always take my cozy little corner seat in English classes and would simply leave class if ever I went and some jackass had taken MY seat. I just can't handle it. Because I'm crazy. Damn it, Carol.

4. People looking down at their cell phones while walking. 
Oh, this one kills me. Not as dangerous as texting while driving, unless of course you're about to walk into me... Because sometimes when I'm feeling extra itchy (like yesterday) I'll let people walk right into me. Is that awful? Yes. But I do it. This is Chicago. People are everywhere, so LOOK UP. DePaul KIDS, LOOK UP.

*calms down, to be able to finish post*

5. Two lines open at the grocery store.
Let's do a math problem.
At Jewel Osco there are 14 people waiting to check out. There are 100 employees stocking fruit. How many employees are checking people out? Two. Why Jewel, why? This happens every time I go there and I don't get it.

6. iPhone download.
Apple asks me 10974 times a day if I'd like to download the new iphone system. And when I say yes, it immediately says "sorry, can't do it." And then two minutes later it asks me again.

7. When I get caught in my entry way with my neighbor for 10 seconds. 
Every good city dweller knows you wait inside your apartment until you hear your neighbor leave so you can avoid this situation. Whether you're friendly with each other or not, it's just what you do. *City Dweller etiquette 101.

8. When I try to tag someone in an insta post and instead send them a direct message.
Why instagram, why?

9. When people respond "sure" in a text. More specifically when Chris does...
The answer is yes or no. Even if the question is "how do you spell sure?" I never want to see sure. I loathe that word.

I need to stop.

I'll be back later with a more joyful post. As of today I'm going to delegate myself two hours of writing time every single day (whether or not I'm done with T-Shirt Town) it's just what I have to do.

Dog Days of Summer

Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm in Nebraska for the weekend and it is HOT. Tomorrow is supposed to be well over 100 degrees. So expect a bunch of photos of me holding up stupid shit it up in front of my parents pool because Instagram.

I also surprised Harlow yesterday and picked him up from camp (Chris's parents house) early. Oh what a joy that was. I snuck inside and he had no idea it was me coming in. It was just an all out eruption of excited squeals and whimpers. Harlow made a few noises, too.

These last few weeks were especially hard being away from him so I'm trying my best to make up for it. Before 9 a.m. today we'd already been swimming in the pool, made a stop at the lake, chased birds in the country, rode the merry-go-round at the park, and had McDs ice-cream for breakfast. Thus the late blog post...

My mom and I left Chicago yesterday morning at 4:30 a.m. and then last night I got conned into sleeping in a tent with my niece and nephew in their living room. I got kicks to the face by Knox, Lola and Harlow several times throughout the night until I finally said I can't anymore and drove to my parents house at 5 a.m. to sleep.

I was up three hours later because my mom and dad don't really believe in air conditioning (do you know how much it costs to cool an old house? DO YOU?) so my room was a little stuffy. I learned years ago never to touch the thermostat because an alarm goes off in my dad's head and he will suddenly appear out of nowhere and shout, "Do you know how much it costs to cool an old house? DO YOU?"

So here I am at 11:30 completely exhausted and very hot. But t-shirt town is calling. I have four hours to fill orders before the post office closes at 5 p.m. and my head explodes.

Hope everyone has a good weekend! Before I go, here comes my Pet PSA:

Would you like to be left outside wearing a fur coat in 100 degree weather? No. So please don't do it to your animals. If you see an animal in distress, do something. If you're too shy, call me. I'll do something. I have no problem reporting people who leave dogs in cars, or dogs chained up outside. Wouldn't be my first time...

Now to end on a happy note here's a clip of Harlow eating ice cream for breakfast.

*Comments turned off, enjoy the weekend!!

Free The Nipple

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Last Saturday Chris said he wanted to go watch The America's World Cup Sailboat Race happening at Navy Pier. I typically avoid Navy Pier at all costs, but he promised me brunch so I obliged.

I put on my best "I'm going to watch a sailboat race" outfit and then we jumped on the scooter to head downtown.

Is it easy to ride a scooter in a dress like this? No. No it is not. But I'm not one to think things through, so I wore it anyway and used my little sun hat to cover areas that needed to be covered, if you catch my drift.

Unfortunately the race didn't happen due to lack of wind, and I almost got into a verbal fight with a nasty woman at brunch who stole our table... brunch fights, am I right ladies? But it was a great morning never the less.

Anyway, a couple of hours later we're headed home, cruising down Michigan avenue and I'm looking around with a happy ass grin on my face thinking how much I love Chicago in the summer. Tourists are everywhere and Michigan ave is packed, as it always is on a summer weekend. I notice that a few people are staring at me, I assume it's because I look so damn cool on our blue Vespa.

Two really hip women cross the street in front of us and one of them gives me a thumbs up. Damn, I must look super hipster today, I think to myself. The lady had a half shaved head, so you know she is cool.

A couple more people hoot. Kids are even starting to point at me, presumably showing their parents how great I look.

I'm feeling unstoppable at this point. I clearly have it going on today. The wind is blowing in my hair, people are staring at how cool I am, what a day to be alive!

Then out of nowhere a college bro in a neon tank top yells, "TITTY!"

And I realize I'm not just feeling the breeze through my hair as we scoot down the busiest street in Chicago. I'm feeling it in my chestal area, as well. My left side to be specific.

The delicate little string, on the delicate little dress, had broken at some point and the left flap was free falling. And no, I was not wearing a bra. I was unintentionally freeing the nipple for God knows how long.

One block? Two? Three? I don't know.

Now I am all for women freeing the nipple if that's your prerogative. For me personally, it's not my prerogative. I am quite modest and am very okay keeping my nipples to myself. I was almost too modest to even share this photo, but my mom is sitting beside me as I write this and she says it's okay. *my mom is not modest.

So on that one summer day in 2016, (which happened to be the same day the World Naked Bike Ride rode through Chicago) I participated in my very own naked scooter ride.

And that's my story today. Have you ever freed your nip? Do tell!

Wedding Beauty Guide- 38 Days To Go

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Four weeks from Friday Chris and I will pack up the car to head to Steamboat and will leave Chicago as mere fiances and will come back three weeks later as HUSBAND AND WIFE.

And so five weeks out my concerns are the little ones. Like ceremony music. Finding wedding shoes. Writing the programs. And writing the vows... That's not a little one, but I'm telling myself it is so as to not freak out.

And then there's the vanity stuff, because every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. Which is also just a little funny to me given that every single day Chris sees me looking my very worst. It's as if I want this one day to say, "just look how I COULD look!"  *if I tried and cared more.

So for the physical stuff I'm doing pilates 4-5 times a week. Coming from someone who doesn't like to work out and usually hates classes, I love pilates. LOVE it. I would go every day if I wasn't so sore. I've also dabbled in some fan fiction about the lovely women who attend the Lincoln Park pilates studio where I go, read it here.

For the diet stuff I do my best to eat healthy Monday-Fridayish. And on the weekends I just drink Bloody Marys for every meal. Jk. Or am I....

For hair I'm still using Olaplex about once a week and it's working wonders. I switched from Kerastase to Living Proof because I couldn't pronounce Kerastase and because it was making my hair greasy. Living Proof has made my hair super strong (for me) and it's actually started to grow past my shoulders. Hear that, Codi? You can't call me a grease monkey anymore.

And then there's the skin. I am terrified of having a breakout before my wedding so I'm being extra cautious of what goes on my face. A few months ago I found out the hard way that liquid foundation does not get along with my forehead. After just a few uses I had tiny bumps everywhere and all of my worst middle school memories came rushing back.

I sprinted to the dermatologist, she took one look at my skin and instructed me to never use that makeup again. She gave me (sold me) tinted Elta sunscreen, which I had never used but am now obsessed with, and also suggested I find a good powder makeup instead. *Never buy from the derm when you can find the products on amazon here.

Which brings me to IT Cosmetics. Also just an FYI no one is paying me to write this nor will I make any money if you purchase anything from IT, I'm simply telling you because I've become a big fan of their line.

Their powder foundation, as seen in my hand with my nails that match my makeup bag... is awesome. It covers and it doesn't cause breakouts. I've been using it for almost two months now and have had zero problems.

It was a rabbit hole from there. After I tried the powder I tried the blush, then the mascara, and my favorite right now might be the eyebrow pen. Also, this is going to sound really dorky, but for someone like me who has never really known how to put on makeup, they have short videos under every product showing you how to wear it which proves to be very helpful. So yes, I watched the video for the brow pen/brow lift pen and now I feel like I can really do brows. *Game changer of 2016: learning how to give myself eyebrows.

If you're in the market for new makeup, I suggest you start with their Top Ten. And I have to also tell you their customer service is phenomenal. One of the powders that I ordered arrived broken and they sent me two new ones on the spot. Online service like that is hard to come by in today's world.

Anyway, that's my makeup guide for right now. I'm about as amateur as it gets when it comes to makeup, I simply look for products that are a. easy to put on and wear and b. won't make me breakout. IT Cosmetics achieves both.

What are your staples or makeup secrets that I should know?

176th Mass Shooting This Year

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's eerie how much mass shootings have become a part of our life. Orlando marks the 176th this year.

It's almost as if we have the routine down. The news breaks and we're all shocked and sad and angry and wonder how this has happened again? We post to social media demanding change, or prayers, or whatever it is we do to feel better.

But nothing really changes. A few days pass and for those of us that were lucky enough to not be directly affected, life goes on.

I can't even begin to imagine what life is like for the people who lost loved ones in this most recent massacre. Or for the people who managed to make it out okay. How do they go on?

Columbine was the first shooting that allowed fear to creep into the very safe and privileged life I've been lucky enough to live.

A shooting that occurred when I was in college, inside Omaha's Von Maur at Westroads, made me forever aware of my surroundings when inside a mall.

And then it was movie theaters. I can't sit through a movie at a theater without planning a "just in case" escape plan. I do it every time. I find the exits when I sit down and am always sure I can see the entrances. Going to a movie isn't what it used to be. Even with the pat downs that occur in the Chicago theaters, I just can't get myself to relax.

And yet I realize how lucky I am that it's just a few places where I don't feel safe.

I realize this when I think about my friends from the LGBT community and the fact that they live every day knowing there's hateful people out to get the them simply for being who they are. My friend Dave posted this on Facebook yesterday,

"Do you think if we made guns gay, enough people would finally hate them?"

If I were at a night club and someone started shooting I would worry I got caught in the crossfire, but would never assume I was the person they were after. Whereas I've read several accounts from people who made it out of Pulse and so many of them said the moment they realized it was gunfire they automatically knew it was a hate crime.

I suppose that's just one of the many privileges of being straight in our country. I will never know what it's like to have strangers hate me just because of my sexual orientation.  Or because of my skin color. Or religion.

I don't know where to take this post from here because there's no way out. I suppose I could post a positive quote and let everyone know "I'm thinking and praying for Orlando."

But the thing is, I've done that for almost all of the shootings we've seen in the past 18 years and not much has changed. It only seems to have gotten worse. So how far do we let this go before something changes? How many more shootings? How many more lives? Our current system obviously isn't working.

I don't like the idea that we'll all just move on from this one, knowing in the back of our mind it's just a matter of time before the next, wondering if that's the one that might hit you or I directly?

*For a shred of light today, watch this video.

*Comments turned off because my head is full of all the other internet comments floating around. Instead, go leave a nice comment somewhere else telling someone why you think they're great.

The Joys of Running a T-Shirt Business

Friday, June 10, 2016

It's Friday and I am in a wildly good mood. Didn't even matter that I woke up to an empty coffee canister. I just walked my lazy ass across the street to my favorite little coffee shop and splurged on a $2 coffee and even left a 20% tip!

Today is going to be good. It's supposed to be around the 90s and I'm going to get all of my work done early so I can have a little beach break this afternoon. I never go to the human beach in the summer because Harlow would give me the stink eye for weeks if I ever even considered beaching without him. But Har is still in Nebraska (I get him back next week thank God!) so I guess I can treat myself for one day to a beach where I won't risk getting peed on a by a dog. It sounds so luxurious I can hardly wait.

But most of all, today I'm going to toss the complaints aside and tell you why I love being a T-Shirt Lady (sometimes.)  If you follow on snap then you're well aware of how glamorous T-Shirt Town is. But let's dig a little deeper.

The Joys of Running a T-Shirt Business!

This week my top joys have included:

Working with adorable husbands doing whatever they can to get their wife this shirt or the Married AF shirt.


I don't know who these guys are, but I love them. I get the sweetest order notes saying things like,

"I really want to surprise my wife with this shirt on our honeymoon, I'll pay whatever it takes to have this arrive at our resort by next week..."

And then they go into a long speech about how they've talked to the hotel and the bellman is going to bring it to the room and blah blah blah, bless their heart they give me way more info than I need. But I obviously feed into it and totally love it. And then they almost always write a follow up note about how much their wife loved the shirt and what a great surprise it was.

How fun is that? I love the customer notes/reviews people take the time to write because I obviously read each and every single one. I know I'm not teaching children how to read, or curing sick people, but I do take small joys in thinking that people receive their silly shirt and it puts a smile on their face.

Can you tell I'm focusing on the positive this week? CAN YOU? It's working. It feels so much better to just forget the negative shit and instead take an extra second or two to allow the good vibes to soak in instead.

The other funny thing is that I find myself writing love notes to people I've never met (when customers ask me to.) Things like,

"Love and miss you, Sara! I saw this shirt and it made me think of summer 2009, man that was a trip! Let's get together soon. XOXO Rachel."

Yes, I handwrite them. Typing just feels so impersonal. I feel like these people appreciate my chicken scratch.

And then there's the '96 Gymnast tank top. I honestly made them and told my mom, "this one will probably only please me." But then so many of you ordered and told me how special the 1996 Olympics were to you, as well. And I could really feel the bond. T-Shirts are bringing the world together, can't you see!?

Jk. But seriously, it gave me jollies that so many of you felt the same way about the Magnificent Seven.

I also know that I would have never sold a single shirt if not for this blog, if not for you reading this right now. So thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Truthfully, it's been a little difficult at times being just one person trying to navigate the world of t-shirts (and the bullshit that occasionally goes along with it) so I am very appreciative of your support and those of you who continue to look out for me like you do.

Sidenote: as I've been writing this post I just now received this message:

"Is there any way you can expedite a shipment to arrive in NYC By Monday afternoon. Will pay expedited shipping etc. 

getting married tomorrow and would love to surprise my new wifey with this awesome Tshirt."

I am not making this stuff up! It gives me all the happy feels. I'm not usually a fan of the word "wifey," but today I'm on board.

So thanks again for everything. Now hells yeah it's the weekend.

Brand new 4th of July koozies found here. Order up, they're going fast.

Also, several of you asked about my star shorts (in the photo above) they are from my pal Sara but you can also find them here if you don't have a pal named Sara. (And they're on sale.)


Great American Road Trip Summer 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Every summer Chris and I (and Harlow) get the itch to take what we call a "great american road trip."

Two years ago it was to the Ozarks, last year it was to a state park in exotic Iowa (shout out to Dolliver park because it was actually really cool) and this year we trying to make it to Nashville. We've talked about it ever since we moved to Chicago, but just haven't made it happen quite yet.

The food, the music, the city, it all looks so cool (especially according to Helene's awesome pics.) And yes, a stop to visit Helene and her pups would be on the list as well.

I fell even more in love with the concept of a vacation to Nashville when I attended a fun Tennessee Vacation event last week in Chicago's own Grant Park.

Tennessee is obviously known for their legendary music so it was super cool to see Jason Isbell and Old Crow Medicine Show live-streamed from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Tennessee Vacation is an awesome source to help us plan our trip once we get there. They map out everything from things to do, places to stay, and events going on in the city.

Also, I am just dying to try this chicken at Hattie B's. It looks incredible.

Photo borrowed from the Food Network. I wish it was my own, because that would mean I would have eaten this little plate of heaven.

I feel like there's so many cool parts of the U.S. I haven't seen and Nashville is top of the list for me right now. Nashvillians, what do you suggest for things we should add to our list when planning this trip?

If you could road trip anywhere this summer, where would you go?

A post sponsored by Tennessee Vacation! Get out there and travel!