Urban Outfitters Haul: Product Review

As a fashion and design aficionado, an entrepreneur, and a lover of shopping, I have decided to begin documenting my experience with the various products that I purchase from different popular brands. I’ll be critiquing the quality of fabric, how comfortable the product feels, and how alike it truly is to how it was advertised.

I recently purchased a significant amount of items from Urban Outfitters online. Online is my only option as the nearest store is approximately two and a half hours away from me. They do tend to be on the pricey side as they have a lot of name brand items but I’m also a sucker for name brands. So here we are.

Thankfully, I had received a gift card from my father for my birthday and Urban Outfitters had sent me a special coupon offer for my birthday as well since I’m part of their membership program. Whoo!

Levi’s Deconstructed Denim Mini Skirt

I’ve always been a strictly pants kind of person but as it’s been getting warmer and the potential that I may move somewhere warmer becomes more prevalent I’ve realized that maybe skirts would be a good idea.

Denim mini skirts are such a trend right now as well so I figured, what the hay. I’m generally a size 25 in Levi’s, which is something that I love about their brand. Their measurements from product to product are very consistent (as they should be).

The material was very quality, which is something I have so far always been able to expect of Levi’s. It had great pocket depth and the skit itself was not freakishly short which I love. Definitely looked as I expected it to.

There were only a couple unexpected things. For one, it was not a zip-up front, it’s a button-up which isn’t much of a problem other than it taking a little more effort to put them on. Also, the waist of the skirt was very loose on me. It was comfortably fitted around the hips but the waist was significantly unfitted in comparison. This is easily fixed by a tailor, however.

Worth it?: I’d say so. Should last for a very long time. Maybe one day I can resell it as “vintage”.

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Boston Oversized Ringer Tee

This one definitely spoke to my bold side. I was drawn to its colorfulness, and the fruit on it made it the perfect balance of weird and cute.

I read a lot of reviews about how the material was not overly soft and it appears a bit boxy on some people so I was prepared for what came in the mail. It was definitely a lot like customers had described but the material was not a problem to me if anything it just feels durable. I’m sure it will also soften up a bit in the wash.

The fit was loose which was exactly what I was hoping for and the colors were exactly as purchased.

Worth it?: Definitely.

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Light Before Dark Pleat Front Pant

Many of the reviews I had read before purchasing these pants said that the material was quite thin and that it fits many people in an unflattering way so I took a bit of a chance on these ones.

The material was a little on the thin side but I prefer that over extremely heavy work pants anyway, especially as summer begins to kick in here. It did look exactly as pictured. One thing that was strange though is that it has belt loops throughout the front of the pants but none in the back. The pleats also form in a questionably flattering way but I think a little ironing would take it out.

It fit fairly comfortably as well, the elastic waistband was a good choice by the designers. The fit of the bottom of the pant leg is a little questionable, it looks very loose on me but I think with the right shoes it would work. What’s nice about these pants is they make for great business attire as well as casual wear.

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Worth it?: I think so, I’m going to have to wear them around for a bit and see how truly functional they are.

Sometimes Things Just Fall Into Place

I walked out of the library to an alluring scene. The sun was out, it was one of those days that wasn’t too hot and wasn’t too cold. I was on my lunch break and as I approached my car I noted that the sidewalk was completely covered in flower petals. I couldn’t let such beauty go to waste.

I could just take an ordinary picture of the sidewalk, but where’s the fun in that? I called my sister with an idea fresh in my mind for a great Instagram picture, knowing that there was a small chance she was still in town.

Me: “Hey, are you still in town?”

Her: “Yeah, just finished up at work. I decided to go for a walk around town.”

Me: “That’s awesome, do you want to come help me take a cool picture? I’m just outside the library.”

Her: “Sure, I’ll be there in a second!”

She arrived and I told her what I was thinking about for the picture. I had to lay on the petals, which, because it had rained that morning, were actually quite wet. I got a great picture for my Instagram out of the deal though so I would say it was well worth it.

The time of day was perfect as well as it began to get cloudy just a little while after that. And it was perfect because my sister had just gotten out of work, I had just gone on break. Had I decided to wait until the next day to take the picture, all of the pedals would have been gone. The trees seem to lose their flowers just as quickly as they appear.

All this simply to say that every now and then, the stars align and something great can come out of a series of seemingly ordinary events. Look forward to the simple things, because they can turn into extraordinary things.

The Value of Collaboration

My city has a farmer’s market every Thursday. I’ve started working there in order to earn some extra money and today was my first day.  I feel like I spend nearly every waking moment inside so it was amazing to get to spend part of the day outside and get paid for it too.

I worked alongside an intern for the city.  I had known him in school so conversation was extremely easy.  Which was great because from now on I’m going to be spending a few hours working with him every Thursday now.  The event coordinator showed us around the market and introduced us to the different vendors. While walking around, he and I were both taking copious amounts of pictures- with him now managing the City’s snapchat and I managing the library’s Instagram.

While we were left to manage our station, he and I began talking about the dogs that people will occasionally bring with them to the market. I half-jokingly said, “You know, I really think the market could use a mascot.” Then as we were talking this evolved into a legitimate idea. We could borrow a dog from the local shelter weekly, that way the dog can maintain exposure to people. They could wear a bandana that says that they are up for adoption and perhaps we could get a few extra dogs adopted.

Then, surprisingly, he brought it up to the events planner and they decided they would go that day to talk with the animal shelter about potentially making our idea an actual thing. I was tasked with designing the bandanas for the dogs.

It’s amazing when you collaborate with someone the things that your ideas can turn into.  Sometimes I’m still surprised just how much more effective it can be to talk ideas out with others rather than relying on your own understanding. Collaboration can bring some of the best ideas to fruition.

Tunnel Vision – Is it really that bad?

My boss gave me some feedback the other day on my work performance, as he was doing for all the employees. He said that I had a tendency to have tunnel vision but that this quality has been steadily improving.

I imagine it’s improving due to my recent goal to overcome my perfectionist mindset which I realize has held back my efficiency. So if he’s taken notice then that’s got to mean I’m getting somewhere.

But I began to wonder, is tunnel vision truly that bad? Or is it simply because of the kind of job that I have where I need to multitask several things at once that makes it a bad thing?

Often I feel more driven when I’m able to tunnel vision on something. Generally speaking, on more important projects if I can tunnel vision with the intent of getting it done effectively and efficiently rather than the desire to make it perfect. It makes me feel like I’m destroying the feeling of “I can’t want to” and knocking out my to-do list.

I realize that with tunnel vision, as with many other things, it’s about the correct time and place and being able to judge what that correct time and place may be. The correct time being when it’s not necessary to balance multiple projects at once or when you are able to dedicate the time towards completing a specific project.

The Sleepy Girl’s Guide to Maintaining Productivity

Scientists say that teenagers require more sleep than adults, and from my personal experience, that has definitely rung true. But for me, it seems that this requirement for more sleep is something I have yet to grow out of. So until it goes away (which I’m beginning to think it might not), I have to employ methods to cope with my extra sleepiness while remaining productive with work and projects.

Plan your day

Investing in a planner has been extremely valuable. For some, using google calendar or the calendar on their phone can be just as effective. Personally, I enjoy being able to write it out. This is helpful as it will prevent you from forgetting about due dates and other time restrictions you may have. It will also enable you to physically see your day, you’ll know what you need to accomplish and when, and this will have a huge impact on your sleep.

You’ll no longer sit awake in bed wondering if you forgot anything and you’ll be able to sleep much more soundly knowing you have everything covered.

Have a cutoff time

Part of planning your day is planning it in a way that still allows a little “you” time. When you plan out the daily work of projects, don’t give yourself so much in one day that it spills into your night.

Create a cutoff time that you have to have your daily work done by. Having this will enforce deadlines for yourself and a goal to meet that will keep you on task. By doing this, you also prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. When work carries on from your day into your night, it begins to feel incessant and it becomes much harder to maintain that work and rest balance. Having a cutoff time will also allow you to get to bed at a decent hour.

Create a workspace

One of the worst things you can do for yourself when you’re as prone to sleepiness as I can be is to try to work on your projects in bed. The temptation to fall asleep is far too strong when you’re in such a comfortable environment. It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s just not a good idea.

Avoid the temptation to do this by creating a workspace for yourself. Invest in a desk if you must. As long as it’s a hard surface that you can sprawl your work across, can keep well-lit, and maintain a good posture at. In a workspace like this, it becomes much easier to focus on the task at hand rather than the growing temptation to sleep. Just try it out and take note of how much more you are able to get done.

Take care of yourself

When you’re busy, it’s hard to remember to take care of yourself. But if you don’t make time to do the things that you want to do or simply to relax, you’ll burn yourself out which would be detrimental to your productivity.

Make sure you maintain a healthy diet. Of course, the occasional unhealthy meal never hurts, but having a consistent diet of the things your body needs helps your cognitive function and helps prevent excessive sleepiness from settling in.

Take a mental health day if you truly need it and spend it getting your bearings. Get that extra sleep you’ve been craving and focus on refreshing yourself. Go outside, go for a run, run an errand that you’ve been meaning to get done, get a haircut. Just do something that will help you feel more at ease.

Get an effective alarm

I can’t tell you how many times I have hit snooze on an alarm only to wake up significantly later than I had planned. Thankfully this almost never has happened on really important days. But it happened enough that I saw it as an issue. The solution? I got a better alarm.

I had initially been using my phone. I would leave it a slight distance away from my bed. But that made it far too easy to just hit the snooze, or accidentally shut it off completely. And on top of that phones make it far too easy to simply set multiple alarms.

I purchased a new alarm and set it across the room. It makes a horrendous wailing sound and because it’s so far from my bed, I have no choice but to get up and out of bed to turn it off. Then by that point, I’ve already done half of the work required to wake up. I’m still a bit of a zombie for a few minutes after the fact, that’s always a given.

Drink more water than coffee

One of the things that I would use to motivate myself to get out of the house quickly in the morning was stopping by the local coffee shop and picking up a latte. But then I would get the jitters as a side dish. I would be anxiously working through my shift buzzing, only to experience a crash later in the day when I have other projects to work on. At that point, hope is practically lost for getting anything done as sleepiness wreaks havoc on motivation.

It’s okay to have a coffee every now and then, but don’t make it the only liquid that you consume. Especially don’t make it the only liquid you drink in the morning. Water has been shown to improve brain function in the morning. Have at least one or two glasses before you have any coffee. Or occasionally have tea as a substitute. There are some great teas that help stimulate focus and such a variety as well.

 

 

Dreams Aren’t Perfect

After years of being famous, the celebrity becomes callous and rude to fans when they are approached for autographs. Throughout a tour, the singer copes with homesickness and a dread of being on the road. It’s this that can make a person realize that dreams aren’t always perfect.

When we have a dream, we regard it as absolute perfection. We put it on a pedestal. It compounds in our minds as something truly remarkable- without fault. But clearly, that’s untrue. Dreams are called dreams for a reason. Many see their dreams as unobtainable. The longer a person has a dream, the longer it’s able to fester and grow into something that becomes more of a fantasy.

How many times do we obtain a dream and then think, “What do I do now?” By giving dreams such a pedestal, we can pinhole ourselves. Imagine a person who is deeply enthralled by art history. Because of this deep interest, they decide to pursue a degree in this field. They graduate having paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to work in a field with a finite amount of opportunities. They lack the desire to teach, but that’s one of the only roles available. Suddenly, they’re stumped.

But the fault in a dream isn’t always so detrimental. Take children for instance. One of the most common things to believe is that children make a person happy. And indeed, it can give a person a higher purpose, it can bring couples closer, and it’s a way to carry on your legacy. But how many people rush into having children underestimating how completely and utterly draining it can be?

Of course, any good parent knows that all of the trials and tribulations are worth it, but the point is that the dream is never absolutely perfect. There will always be nights where all you want is a good night’s sleep but the child’s wails require otherwise. Or your child completely embarrasses you when visiting a friend’s home by eating the dirt out of pots of the houseplants. (Though taking pictures of that makes for great leverage when they’re in their disgruntled teen years.)*

So, in conclusion, while pursuing the things that you love and all of the things you want to achieve, just remember to do it practically and intelligently. Because dreams are never perfect.

*Completely kidding, don’t do that.

Jobs And Relationships Similarities: Compatibility

There’s an overgeneralized and overused phrase that everyone’s heard at least several times in their lifespan: opposites attract. How much further from the truth could that be?

One would think that being with someone opposite yourself would enrich your life with that which you are not accustomed, adding variety and excitement. But what it generally leads to, however, is arguments and disappointment.

The most successful relationships that I have witnessed, and experienced, are ones with a significant amount of compatibility. I’m not just talking about your average, they like to dance, I like to dance type of compatibility. I’m talking about the deep kind of compatibility. Similar viewpoints on things like politics, standards, expectations, or values.

It’s not unsurprising that the rule of compatibility also applies to finding a job that’s the right fit. Some people value a high income over all else, so they find a job with a high pay rate, regardless of any other factor of the job. In their minds, that’s enough. But it can cause them to lack passion in their job and may create the potential to be surpassed in skill by someone who does have that passion.

People should seek out jobs that they enjoy, not just for monetary reasons (though of course, this helps) and not just for the amount of vacation time. Does your place of employment have the same values as you (i.e. does it make investments that you agree with)? Does your place of employment value you as an employee? Do you agree with their mission? Are you excited about what they’re selling?