That Working Girl

3 Ways I'm Using Coloring to Quell Anxiety

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3 Ways I'm Using Coloring to Quell Anxiety

I'm just now coming to terms with the fact – and feeling comfortable sharing – that I deal with bouts of anxiety on a near daily basis. Like many women my age, I worry about my career, my future, and what life will even look like for me next week. I also find myself worrying about not-so-common things: will my next flight be my fateful last? What if I find out something terrible at my next doctor's appointment? What if I lose a family member? You get the picture – not good!

To calm my nerves and deter myself from going down the path of repetitive fearful thoughts, I've turned to indulging relaxing activities after work. Lately, I've taken up coloring! I recently fell in love with two coloring pages -  one created by blogger and designer Justina Blakeney (love her!) and another created by Santa Margherita - and I've had the best time coloring away at portions of them in the evening. You can download both of the whimsical pages for free HERE and HERE. I'm sharing more info about her She Shed campaign at the end of this post! 

Coloring has helped ease my mind in so many ways - including these:

Repetitive tasks > repetitive thoughts.

Like I mentioned before, I sometimes struggle with repetitive fearful thoughts. I've learned how to channel those through scribbling colors onto my coloring pages and fully focusing my undivided attention toward the task at hand. I love how I can completely unplug, relax and focus on creating a beautiful, maybe-frameworthy creation. 

Go for calming colors.

I've noticed that coloring with light blues, lilacs, peaches and light greens not only create a masterpiece of a design, but are also super calming. I'm a big believer that colors in our environments can affect our moods and thoughts, so it's really nice to focus on a soothing and beautiful color palette. 

It's alright to color outside of the lines.

As a Type A child growing up, accidentally coloring outside of the lines in kindergarten made me REAL mad. Now, I try not to sweat it as much. Making little smudges or mistakes while coloring gives me a vivid reminder that perfection is only a myth, and that if I made a misstep at work that day, it's OK to forgive myself and move on. Life's too short to walk in a careful, straight, calculated line. The same goes for coloring :)

So, about that She Shed. Wouldn't you want to win your ultimate gal zone?  

Santa Margherita wines and Justina Blakeney are teaming up for the She Shed program, which is providing summer entertaining inspiration and offering consumers an opportunity to be part of a consumer generated build of the shed. Throughout the summer, fans and followers will have the opportunity to vote on featured décor items for the chance to win Santa Margherita-inspired gift baskets, alongside a $5,000 grand prize for one lucky winner to create their own dream outdoor entertaining area. Check out there campaign HERE and don't forget to enter! 

Would you ever consider coloring away your anxiety? How do you cope with worried feelings? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

How I Edit My Instagram Photos Like a #Boss

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DISCLAIMER: Nope, this post isn’t sponsored by A Color Story! I just truly love this magical gem of an editing app, and you just might too after reading this post. 

I don’t believe in #nofilter. As Instagram has blown up over the last few years, it seems like a new photo editing app is released each week, and I’ve found myself trying them all. Since I manage Instagram for the brand I work for full-time and maintain my own personal account, I like to think that my #instagame is strong! 

Recently, I’ve had friends and coworkers ask me how I edit my Instagram photos on the go, and I’ve been dying to gush about my new favorite editing app – A Color Story. If you like to keep your snaps bright, fresh and colorful, this one’s for you.  

Below I’m sharing a few of my tips and tricks for how I keep my Instagram feed seamless, colorful and clean:

Stick with the essentials.

I love A Color Story because it’s an easy-to-use app with several great app presets to choose from. My personal favorite is in the Essentials collection and is called Lite Bright, which instantly gives a light, airy feel to photos. I like for my feed to have a carefree and feminine feel, so this one works perfectly for me! If you want to explore further, I definitely recommend checking out the paid filters within A Color Story, all of which are a one-click solution to remedying overexposed or too-dark photos. Fun, artsy filters like bokeh and light leaks are also available if that’s up your Instagram alley.

Brighten up, buttercup.

One thing that I do to all of my Instagram photos? I set their exposure just a wee bit higher than it should be, which helps make the photo pop on my feed and make all colors within the image stand out. This is a function that’s doable within A Color Story as well, which you can customize to your liking by swiping to the left or right. Take time to play around with brightness, contrast and exposure to find the best fit for your photos.

Filter, save, repeat!

OKAY, FRIENDS. This is my favorite thing about this editing app, and it’s actually been a huge timesaver and godsend. After you save your image for posting in A Color Story, you’re also able to select the “Save Editing Steps” button, which essentially memorizes and saves down all of the tedious steps that you took to perfect that photo into one easy filter, meaning that you can replicate that same edit over and over again. I’m all for automation, and this is just genius! If you’re a Type A Instagrammer like me who wants her feed to look colorfully cohesive (and sometimes deletes images that aren’t cohesive after posting…eek!), this is the perfect function for you.

What are your favorite editing apps for Instagram, and how do you feel about the current state of your feed? Share your favorite editing tips below, or tweet them to me at @HeyWorkingGirl!

How Paring Down My Closet Perked Up My Life

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Like most women, I truly enjoy my curating closet and shopping for clothes. Over the years my penchant for secondhand and bargain shopping has won me some great, unique pieces that I love! However, I recently found myself completely overwhelmed by the abundance – rather, overabundance – of clothing in my possession. After reading about the perks of abiding by a capsule wardrobe and totally connecting on every level with the minimalistic approach to style, I knew it was time to give my closet a complete overhaul. 

Although I haven't cut down exactly to a capsule wardrobe, I've managed to give the heave-ho to 50 percent of my wardrobe over the last six months. The best part? I don't even miss the pieces that I said goodbye to! 

While delighting in my closet purge, I learned a lot about living more simply and making valiant efforts to live a more streamlined lifestyle:

Less decisions = less stress.

In the morning when I'm getting ready, I've found that making as few decisions as possible is key to enjoying moments of calm solitude before work. I'll never forget reading that President Obama only wears blue or grey suits, for the sake of saving his decision-making for larger matters. Although I'm not running the country, I've found that less options in my closet leads to easier outfit decision making. Plus, it forces me to get creative and jazz up my looks with fun accessories.

I've begun applying this philosophy in other areas as well, and it's been amazing! Less back-to-back social obligations, less mental fatigue. Less meaningless clutter in my house, less frantic cleaning. Sometimes we avoid less for fear of lacking, when really, we're experiencing a taste of freedom

My wardrobe is cyclical – and I like that.

I'm proud to say that the majority of my wardrobe has come from thrift stores! Since a young age, the thrill of the hunt for the perfect bargain piece has kept my wardrobe lively and very 'me.' Nothing really feels better than getting a gushing compliment about the $3 blouse you're wearing – am I right?! I love that shopping secondhand allows me to avoid some of the pitfalls of consumerism. What's better is that I always end up donating my secondhand pieces back to Goodwill. In a way, I feel like I'm simply borrowing them for some time and recycling again when the clothing no longer suits my taste. I love to know that the jacket that I splurged on at Nordstrom and wore once may make someone's day when they stumble upon my donated finds!

Quality > quantity. 

As much as I love bargain shopping, I also learned that those little $3 and $5 steals were also acting as my gateway drug into overbuying. I didn't know how to say 'no' to a great deal, even if it didn't exactly suit my style or the season I was buying for. In short, I had a closet full of cheap clothes that I didn't love. 

Now that I've pared down my closet, I'm focusing on buying less, but focusing on quality and timelessness, so that the life of my clothes will be extended across multiple seasons. One of my new favorite places to pick up quality finds is Madewell – their denim is amazing, and their classic pieces mix and match effortlessly.

Are you in need of a closet overhaul? How will you tackle your outfits? Share your thoughts below!

Why Being Engaged Isn't Always Bliss - & Why That's OK

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Header photo via Jacoby Photo & Design

Header photo via Jacoby Photo & Design

I feel like I've needed to write this for a while, but until now I hadn't found the time, the energy, or exactly the right words to explain the unique season of life that is being engaged. In the last 4 months since I had the amazing chance to say 'yes' to building a life with the man who brings me so much joy, I've felt too many emotions – some of which I can't even explain! From pure happiness to extreme feelings of exhaustion and sadness, they've all come and gone in waves. 

Before I jump into it, let me say that in these last few months I've become even more sure that the best is yet to come for my life, for my relationship with Paul and for our shared future. This is an exciting, challenging time that has yielded so much growth and personal insight!

With big life changes come big life feelings.

When I shut the door to my little one bedroom Denver apartment for the final time in January, I knew it – I knew that that was the last time I would leave a home that was mine, and only mine, for the foreseeable rest of my life (WOAH). I wasn't even engaged yet - but my intuition knew better. Realizing that your life will now be combined with the one you love is so exciting – you honestly get to spend as much time together as you've always wanted! – but is also a major lifestyle shift for those gals like me who were completely foreign to cohabitation. 

I moved across the country, started a brand-new-very-big-and-corporate job and got engaged all in the span of one month. To say that it was a season of change for me is an understatement! In all seasons of change, be sure to give yourself grace and be honest about your feelings. Paul was so awesome at listening to me as I gushed about how happy I was and in the same breath went off on a "but-it's-so-much-change-at-once-OMG" rant...on the daily! 

You'll take a good, (very) hard look at your relationships.

As with all of life's big milestones, my eyes were quickly opened to the people in my life who were truly happy for us, and others...not so much. And that's OK! Relationships morph and mold over time, and engagements and weddings throw all of those changes under a magnifying glass – fast. I wanted my wedding party to be full of the women in my life who fully know me – the me now, and the me then. I realized that so many of my friends who I always swore would stand beside me on my day now only knew the shell of who I was in seasons past – in college, in my early career, in my bumbling intern days. No one is at fault – life simply pulled us in different directions, and sometimes you have to accept that and guard all of the great memories in your heart.

Finances come to the forefront. 

Growing up, I never dreamed of getting married. Sure, I dreamed about having an amazing husband, a great job and a beautiful home, but the actual wedding? Not so much. So obviously, I was clueless to what a wedding typically costs. What a shock I was in for! Having the initial conversation with my parents about the cost of a wedding and if or how they could support us on this journey was difficult, but necessary, and I'm glad that we had it. We are unable to have your typical traditional wedding, which has come as a blessing in disguise. I'm not sharing details now, but I can't wait for the celebration that we are having, as well as where we are having it! 

Don't let the costs of a wedding put a damper on your joy. I did for a short period of time, and I shouldn't have. I firmly believe that the most important part of your marriage isn't the day you say 'I Do,' but every day that follows when you will intentionally continue choosing each other and pouring respect, love and honor into your marriage.

Everyone will have an opinion - learn to sound 'em out.

The venue, the date, even the time of your ceremony. It seems that once details of the wedding begin to come together, everyone will have an opinion on what you're doing for your day and how you're doing it. Learn how to sound out all of these conflicting messages and stay true to what you and your fiancé want for your day. 

When I went dress shopping, it only took three dresses for me to find the one for me – I instantly knew it was for me. However, my mom was dead set that I go with her favorite – what she calls the "Downton Abbey Dress," which will forever be burned into my memory as a garment with way too much beading that was instantly itchy as soon as it grazed my skin. She was pleading with me to get said dress – she would even pay for it! I stood my ground and went for a more simple, "me" option, which I couldn't be more happy with. 

Chances are your family loves you just like mine does, and only wants to offer their opinion to help you! However, if you find that the unsolicited advice is stressing you out or clouding your vision for your day, take a step back and carve out time to clear your head before making any big decision.

I'm happy to share that I will be getting married in 2 months – this September! This has been such a great journey and season of growth, and I can't wait to continue building our lives upon values of love, trust, creativity and adventure. How did you cope with unexpected feelings during your engagement? I'd love to hear them in the comments! 

3 Office-Friendly Sandals That I Have on Repeat

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Summer is in full swing in St. Louis – and by full swing, I mean easily 90+ degrees each day! I'm so grateful that my office environment is casual and fashion-forward in the summer, meaning I can break out my favorite slides, gladiators and wedges on any given day. I knew that working for a footwear company was going to fun, but it's especially fun when the summer shoe samples come rolling in. One little secret about my job? I often get to serve as a foot model on photoshoots, and sometimes get to keep my shoes! Needless to say, my closet has been feeling very fulfilled lately. 

In the spirit of celebrating summer shoe style, I'm giving the spill on the three pairs of sandals that I have on repeat this summer – all are under $30! 

Simple Slides

Admittedly, my wardrobe has grown a lot more simplistic and understated over the years. Thanks to Madewell and Urban Outfitters being my go-to for quality basics, I'm able to stretch a capsule-like wardrobe through several seasons. My simple slides pictured above are my new favorite sandal, and go with everything! For the office, I'll pair them with a colorful, sleeveless shift dress and chunky statement necklace for a corporate-friendly office look. 
Esther Slide Sandal | Currently on sale for $14.99!

Statement Gladiators

The gladiator trend is here to stay, and I'm oh so happy about it. I picked up this great pair of statement orange sandals from Sam & Libby during my last Target run. I love wearing these with skinny black pants and a simple loose white tank top, topped off with a lightweight black blazer.
Arianna Gladiator Sandal | $22.50

Block Heel Sandals

You know I work in the footwear industry, right? Well, it may come as a surprise, but I really can't do heels. As I've gotten older comfort totally trumps all, and I still struggle to stay poised when rocking a pair of heels. When I came across this block heel sandal by Allegra K, the sturdy heel was an instant attraction. I took a chance, ordered it, and love this shoe! It comes in the perfect neutral, too, so it goes with any outfit. Whether paired with a classic shift dress or with dark jeans and a boho top, this sandal is ready for the boardroom or the patio for post-work drinks. If you're new to wearing heels, always opt for a thicker, sturdy heel. Spring for the stilettos once you have more experience under your belt! 
Allegra K Chunky Heel Ankle Strap Sandal | $22

What are your go-to summer sandals? Share your must-haves below!