Instant Mood Boosters


     I love a good cry. Sometimes I will listen to songs that I know will make me sad or write my way into a nice sobfest. But when the tears are all shed, I know I've gotta get out of my funk. Retail therapy will work for a little bit, sure, but ultimately that can lead to a light wallet and a heart that is still heavy. Instead, taking little steps that cost next to nothing is a better bet. None of my ideas are particularly groundbreaking, but when I'm in a bad mood, having a list of things that I don't even have to think about is key.

     1. Paint your nails. I have a theory that painting your nails is pretty much the ultimate way to declare to the world that you are having alone time. When you do it right, it takes a good twenty minutes where the most productive thing you can do in between is flip through a magazine or scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest (seriously, even typing seems risky with wet nails). It's an activity that requires just enough acute focus to let your mind go blank, but doesn't require that much effort or complexity. And you have fabulous nails when you're finished.

     2. Go on a walk with no real destination and no technology. When I am truly stuck on something, I'll turn my phone on airplane mode if I'm in the city (or just leave it behind altogether if I'm on campus). A Greenway trail or park is a great way to be alone without actually being totally isolated. Tuning out all social media and phone calls means that you can just be.

     3. Shop in your own closet. I have a confession. When the mood strikes me, I will spend hours going through my closet and putting together new outfits from things I already own. It definitely helps cut down on shopping, but it also makes me feel more in control. This might not strike everyone as a fun way to spend an evening, but you can definitely strike style gold if you do this somewhat regularly.

     4. YouTube session. (Bonus points if it is with your friends). One of my favorite memories of my junior year of college is when my two best girl friends on campus and I got together and watched hours of Vine compilations on YouTube. It was a Friday night before a cross country meet for all of us so we couldn't really do much in the way of going out, etc. But by the end of the night, our abs were hurting and we were sharing the silliest stories. After laughing that much, everything seemed a little bit brighter and we weren't having the usual nervous dread feelings before a race. There are arguments that technology creates barriers, but sharing laughs over things like that have definitely brought me closer to people.

     5. Donate to your favorite charity. Obviously, volunteering in a more long term way is a long lasting mood booster, but when you are down in the dumps on a Sunday night at 11? There aren't a lot of options. But fortunately, sharing some wealth is easier than ever with the good ole Internet. I like charity:water, personally. Donating is one thing that isn't entirely focused on just raising your own mood, but doing things for others is a surefire way to forget about your own problems for a bit.

     6. Make something. Anything. Everyone has their own outlet. If you told me that cooking an elaborate dinner would make me feel better, I would noticeably cringe. But making a friendship bracelet? I'm so down. Other simple things I like to do is make an inspiration collage for the upcoming fashion season, make a new playlist to listen to in my car or write a poem.

     7. Take a hot bath. So germaphobes might not appreciate this suggestion, but if you can ignore the idea that baths are grimy (and maybe rinse off with running water afterwards), baths are rejuvenating. They relax your muscles and give you a chance to be totally alone even if you live with other people. I'll usually take in a magazine or a paperback to up the distraction factor a bit.

     8. Call someone you haven't talk to in a while. And listen more than you talk. There might be a chance for them to shed some light on whatever has got you down, but hearing from an old friend or relative is definitely gratifying. Trust me, they will be delighted to hear from you.

      9. DANCE. Stop what you're doing. Turn on your favorite song. And get down. Or, if you've got a bit more time on your hands, go out and have some fun for a night. It is tempting for an introvert like me to indulge in the temptation of brooding, but I absolutely love dancing with my friends. By the end of the night, I'm so exhausted that my mind isn't too anxious to go to sleep and you can be sure there's a massive breakfast in my near future.

     10. Appreciate simplicity. A tall glass of ice water or a cup of your favorite tea. A fresh notebook. Clean sheets. Washing your face. All just tiny things that can add up for a big impact on your mood if you let them.

Lookin' Pretty, Kansas City

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Outfit details: Forever 21 sweater (similar here). Aerie shorts and bralette. Forever 21 sunglasses (similar here). Target "Ashland" sandals. Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5-zip bag. On Reid: Tee shirt, Rue 21. 

     For those of you who have been reading my blog for a long time, and I do mean a long time, you might remember Reid. For now we will call him my reunited high school sweetheart, but that's another story entirely. However, a few weeks ago, I got the pleasure of vising Reid in Manhattan. Manhattan, Kansas, that is. Even that's a bit of a stretch because he was actually on base at Fort Riley, but Manhattan is the closest big town.
     While I was there, we also took the two hour trek to visit Kansas City, Missouri. As far as KC proper goes, we visited the Kansas City zoo, Arthur Bryant's Barbeque in the original location, and the National World War I Museum. I highly recommend all three, especially since the circuit we took (zoo then lunch then museum) only left us commuting for about twenty five minutes total.
      I never really thought of Kansas City as a "tourist destination", but we definitely managed to have some fun. It just goes to show that doing a bit research about whatever city you may be visiting really pays off. We got started a little later than the original itinerary we had in mind, but overall it was pretty perfect because we only ended up needing one (giant, meat and barbecue sauce filled) meal in mid afternoon instead of two. After that, we were definitely in a bit of a food coma, but going to the top of the Liberty Memorial (the tower pictured above) was enough to get the blood pumping again. Seriously, it's windy up there and with those split shorts? Little kids and their parents definitely got a view of my lovely, lacy panties...
    With my hair being properly windswept, we headed down to the Leawood area to check out the Town Center Plaza which is basically an outdoor mall with some pretty neat stores. Personally, I enjoyed crossing the street and looking at the wares at Standard Style the best. It's the sister store to Baldwin, a really kickass made in the USA denim line with a sweet collection of menswear in the boutique as well. I ended up with this great KC hat (which comes in pretty much every color), an icon of the Baldwin line.
     Visiting definitely gave me a desire to see more under represented, American heartland type cities and towns. Each definitely has its unique perspective and things to offer. Oh, and seeing one of my favorite people in the world didn't hurt either.
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Western Inspired + Trask GIVEAWAY

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Lace kimono, Nasty Gal (similar here). Little black dress, Topshop (similar here). Theodora hat, Jigsaw London (out of stock, similar here). Wolf head ring, LAS Jewelry. Silver band rings, Kristin Perry NYC. Madison boots and Lolo tote, c/o Trask.

    When my parents moved to Texas, I knew it would open a lot of new doors for both my family and myself. One of the most obvious ways it has impacted me has been in the style department. Fringe, leather, lace, denim, and of course cowboy boots and big hats: the Western inspiration possibilities are endless. I love that despite the eternal lauding of French women as style icons that the Western look is so timeless and yes, uniquely American. 
     That's why seeing a brand like Trask, which has a distinct Americana/Western vibe about it, always warms my heart. Since the pictured boots and tote arrived in the mail, I have been wearing them both nonstop. The tote is just rugged enough to still be great for an office carryall without sacrificing style and the boots? Well trust me. They were made for walking (and maybe gettin' into a little trouble). Oh, and did I mention that they boast a wide range of products for men that are made in the USA? It's a brand after my own heart.
     Lucky for you, I've teamed up with Trask to offer one lucky reader or Instagram follower their very own pair of Madison boots! They are the most supple leather and come in both this beautiful tan color and a standout blue. To enter it's quite simple: just head on over to this picture on Instagram, make sure you are following the Trask account and my account, and leave a comment tagging a friend so I can keep track of who has entered!*
     Although I spend the majority of my time in Tennessee,  I'll be glad to have a little bit of the west always with me when I wear the high quality products from Trask.

*Open to US and International Residents. No purchase necessary. Entrants must be registered Instagram users and can enter via mobile devices or Winner will be chosen at random using assigned numbers and Entries accepted until 2PM EST, 7/16/14. Winner will be contacted via email or private message at 4PM EST 7/16/14 and has 7 days to respond with pertinent information. Shipping of the prize is to be fulfilled by Trask.