Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Fall Closet Colors

Last weekend, I did a huge closet clean-out. I didn't quite go through the whole thing, but I made it through about 75% of it, and got rid of so many things that I hadn't worn in years. It felt so good to have so much more room in my closet! I also organized everything by color and sleeve length, and move all of my summery things out so that I had room to actually see the things I could wear. It's amazing... now I just have to make sure I keep up with it, which is always the hardest part.

When I do a closet clean-out like this, it always ends up with me actually buying more clothes! I realize "holes" that exist in my closet (for example... there are a lot of black tops, but a lot less color than I'd like), and I find things that fill in those holes. Or.... sometimes... I just find things I really like and now have room to actually fit them in my closet. Either way, it means that I've been doing some online shopping lately.
I've been looking for things that are professional, but casually so - not preppy or too buttoned up and stiff. Enter Madewell. I was browsing Nordstrom and found a top I really liked, but not in my size. When I saw it was from Madewell, I decided to check their site directly, and was instantly obsessed. It's a J.Crew sister brand, but definitely more relaxed styles than J.Crew.

I love all the jewel-tone colors, and especially love this purpley/maroon wrap top. It's the perfect mix of professional and casual that I was looking for, and I love that the wrap part of the top has a little hook-and-eye to keep it securely closed. I feel like the color is so perfect for fall - I tried to get it with the amazing colors of the leaves changing, but the weather wasn't totally cooperating! I am always into peplum hems, because they give me more room around my feeding tube, and this one hits just right. It's one of my new favorite tops, and I have a few other new Madewell favorites, too - check them out in the widget below.

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, November 12, 2018

City of Tomorrow Challenge Update

I wrote about my team's proposal for the City of Tomorrow Challenge before, in this post - and I have exciting news to share! Our team was one of 13 to be chosen to move forward as a semi-finalist. This means that we're one step closer to bringing accessible ride-sharing to Pittsburgh. We're really excited, and really passionate about making this happen.

To make sure that our proposal is as complete as possible - and to make sure that it fits what our potential users really want - we need some help. If you live in the Pittsburgh area and have a disability, we want your input! There are a few things that you can do to help:

1. Fill out our survey
Click here to access our survey - it shouldn't take you more than five minutes, but will give us really useful information as we work on our proposal.

2. Tell us about your commute
We want to know about your current commute now - what it's like, what options you have - and if there's anything that would make your commute better. Here's how you can do that:

Click this link below to visit our proposal page. Then scroll down to the comment section, and click the blue button that reads "comment." You'll have to sign in. We'd love to hear things like...

-Paint a story about the value ride-share brings to your daily routine.
-Talk about the barriers you face everyday.
-Have something specific you'd like to us to consider?

3. Share, share, share!
Share this with as many people with disabilities in Pittsburgh as you know! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Sweater Weather

While it's no secret that I'm not a fan of cooler temperatures, I do love a warm, cozy sweater. There's nothing like wrapping yourself in something comfy on a day when it's cold and windy outside. I'm really picky about how things feel, though - when I'm looking for a comfy sweater, I need it to be soft and not stiff.

I have a few different favorite styles of sweaters, so I've pulled together some options for each type.
Wrap-front Sweater
One, Two, Three, Four
This is my favorite style of sweater. I love the Madewell sweater so much that I included it twice, in two colors (the second and third). It's so incredibly comfortable, and I love how rich the colors are.

Winter White
One, Two, Three
I definitely don't follow the "no white after Labor Day" rule. I think that a white sweater with a dark pair of jeans can look so sleek! I love the bigger turtleneck on the third sweater, and Uniqlo cashmere (the first) is such a great deal.

Open Front Cardigan
One, Two, Three 
I think open front cardigans are a lot more comfortable than the button-up, standard kind - it's almost like wrapping yourself in a nice, warm blanket! These strike a nice balance between looking cute and being cozy.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy November! I've never been much of a Halloween person, especially as an adult - it's been many years since I've dressed up, and I try to avoid going out on Halloween weekend! However, I do enjoy dressing Lily up. This year, I saw a Minne Mouse costume/harness while we were in Disney over the summer, and I couldn't resist. She's super picky about what kind of costumes/clothes she'll tolerate... nothing is allowed to touch her head, or else she thinks she's frozen and will stay still like a statue until you take it off! I don't understand what she thinks is going to happen, but it is hilarious to watch.

Read on to find out this week's favorites.,,

Tree of Life Victims - How to Help
Pittsburgh is still dealing with the aftermath of the weekend's tragedy, and will be for a long, long time to come - even after media attention is faded. This article lists the different ways you can donate to help families and the Tree of Life Synagogue itself. I urge you to consider donating if you're able.

October #Hamildrop
Would it even be a Friday Favorites post if I didn't include something Hamilton related? We're coming to the end of the monthly #hamildrops - only November and December are left now. But October's, a cut song from the musical, is sung beautifully by Sara Bareilles.

Harry Potter collection at PBteen
Did you know that Pottery Barn Teen has a Harry Potter collection?! I am a huge fan, and while some of the items in the collection are a bit young for me, some are absolutely things I'd love to own! This Deathly Hallows Bluetooth speaker is the perfect subtle nod to the series.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#NDEAM: National Disability Employment Awareness Month

I'm a little late on this one, since it's the last day of the month (Happy Halloween!), but October is actually National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). It's a bit of a mouthful of a name, but it's a really important month and something that I wish more people knew about - it actually wasn't something that I'd heard of until this year!

I've talked before about the quick assumptions that people make when they meet me - and one of those is the assumption that I don't have a job. Unintentionally or not, people definitely have a hard time untangling physical disabilities and mental impairment. And it's also absolutely true that the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities is drastically higher than the rate of unemplotment for people without disabilities. So I'm glad that there's a month that can bring awareness to both things - that people with disabilities are underemployed, and that they are more than capable of having jobs and careers.

I had the honor of speaking at Pitt's event for NDEAM, jointly held by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Disability Resources and Services office. This was my first "big" talk about everything that I've been doing... it's easy for me to get it down here, in words, but I was a little more nervous about speaking in front of people. I usually don't stress to much (or rehearse too much) for public speaking things - I want it to sound natural and conversational, and not over-rehearsed. But this time, I was asked to speak for 15-20 minutes, which is the longest, by far, that I've ever been asked to talk! Luckily, the talk went smoothly, and I was able to talk about what I've been doing and answer questions, too. I was really glad to see the topic being discussed, and proud that I was able to be part of it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

What I'm Loving

Since I haven't been posting as much as usual, I wanted to share some of the things I've bought recently that I love. These are just an assortment of things that I bought to try out on my own, and have used them enough that I feel good about recommending them to all of you.

Technically, this is intended to be used for wine, but I actually love using it for coffee when I'm at home. It has a lid, so I don't have to worry about spilling, and it's insulated so it keeps my coffee warmer for longer. The lid also has room for a straw, which is necessary for me. Plus, it's light enough that it's east for me to lift. Win-win-win-win for me!

Foreo Luna Play Plus
I tried a Clarisonic for a few uses when they came out years ago, but my face did not react well! It was way too rough for my face, which ended up red and irritated and with more breakouts than before. This Foreo Luna Play Plus, though, is the perfect facial cleansing device for me. It's made of silicone, and it's super gentle on my face, but my face does feel nicer and softer after I use it. It vibrates, and feels like it works in my face wash better than I ever could with a gentle washcloth, but isn't at all irritating. I also like that it can't get gross and dirty like a typical "brush" head does. This version uses replaceable AAA batteries - they also sell a more expensive version with a rechargeable battery, but I'm really happy with this one.

Shisheido Whipped Blush
I never thought that I could use anything but a powder blush, because of how oily my skin is - I thought that it would just make things worse. But this being described as "whipped" really is accurate - it's not quite a cream, but it definitely isn't a powder, either. I use a stippling brush (this one) to put it on and blend it in. A little tiny bit goes a very long way, but it blends in really nicely and looks a lot more subtle than powder blush does, in my opinion. It doesn't make me look more oily, and lasts a long time on my skin.

Drybar BrushCrush
I'm obviously a huge Drybar fan - I've used their curling iron and blow dryer, and think both work really well. So it was no surprise to me how much I love the Brush Crush, too. It's a straightening brush, so it's a cross between a regular hairbrush and a straightening iron. I use it on days that I don't wash my hair, and it does an amazing job in making it look smoother and less frizzy, and it also gets out the "line" in my hair from my ponytail holder. Best of all, it's way faster than it would be to use a straightener. It's pricey, but in my mind, absolutely worth it.

(Note: This post uses affiliate links; I may earn a small commission for any purchases you make.)

Monday, October 29, 2018


I don't have the words for a full post about the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill over the weekend - I think there are others who have written much more eloquently and touchingly than I could. But I also didn't want to just post as usual today without acknowledging this horrible, terrible act. So I'll be back tomorrow with a post, but today just want to take a moment to acknowledge and reflect on this tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all affected.