Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blogs I Love

I LOVE to read blogs. There are so many great ones out there about all sorts of topics! Do you have any special interests?? If so, I PROMISE you there are blogs about it. Yes, multiple. My personal favorite blog niche is fashion/crafting/lifestyle blogs. They're great for style, crafting, traveling, and cooking ideas which I love. Ive found that I get into blogs written by women because I feel like there is some sort of sisterhood connection there... I don't know how else to explain it. Here are some of my favorites:

Man Repeller
This is BY FAR my favorite of the blogs I follow. I check it religiously (at least once a day) to see what new fabulously witty posts await me. I would encourage every woman to read this blog. They post about fashion, beauty tips, feminism, food, powerful women, culture, etc. Plus they're all super rad, hilarious, well-dressed ladies! (They also made the picture I used for this post. How cute is that?!)

A Beautiful Mess
This blog just makes me happy. There are so many bright colorful pictures of Elsie and Emma's lives it's almost as if you are living it with them. They focus mostly on DIY projects, but also have recipes, decorating/photography/style tips. They have so many adorable crafting, scrap booking, decorating, styling ideas on their blog! They also have a store where they sell all sorts of cute brightly colored organizational and crafting goodies!

The College Prepster
This blog (along with the two listed above) has been a very strong source of motivation for me. Carly started her blog her freshman year of college at Georgetown University, and now she's basically built an empire of "Prepsters". She posts a lot of really useful organizational posts, and has many helpful study tips as well! 

Honestly WTF
I mainly visit Honestly WTF when I'm in the mood for some crafting. They post a lot of designer inspired DIY projects that are super cute, affordable, and sometimes even cuter than the actual designer product. They also have a lot of really great posts about fashion if you're into reading about that kind of stuff like I am!

Now that I've shown my favorite bloggers some love, I would love to hear some of your blog suggestions! (I apologize for the formatting issues)
xo. Brooke

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Goals on Goals on Goals

The beginning of a new school year is always paired with intense feelings of motivation for me. My planner is organized practically by the hour, my assignments are completed the day they are assigned, and everything is beautiful, color-coded, and perfect. If only I could find a way to stay so organized past mid-terms!! Once things start to get crazy, I start prioritizing my work and relaxation time above organization which only makes me stress more. Seeing as this is my LAST full year of college, (wow how did that happen???) I figured now is a good of a time as ever to start forming a lift of goals for myself to help me not only now, but also once I go out to work in the real world in a year and a half. I'm starting small, and focusing solely on this school year.

2015-2016 School Year Goals
- STAY organized 
- Wait until homework is done to watch Netflix :(
- Wake up on time for class (at least 6most of the time)
- Update portfolio & resume regularly
- Keep on top of Phi Lamb shirt designs and orders
- Read one fun book a month
- Make Dean's List
- Transition into a cruelty-free product lifestyle (animal testing is so sad, people)
- Network network network

This list is sure to grow, but these are my goals as of right now! (I like the idea of having my goals on here to keep me motivated) I also plan on making a cute list to put on my "inspiration board" (artsy, I know) that I am working on currently. It will have pictures of Anthro's HQ, sewing projects/ideas, fashion inspiration, etc. whatever I am inspired/motivated by at any given moment will be on this board!! There is nothing more motivating than being reminded of your goals and dreams 24/7. I encourage you all to make your own lists of goals relevant to you to remind you of all the wonderful things you're working towards.

xo. Brooke

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Living With Scars

As many of you know, I was born with a congenital birth defect called PFFD (congenital short femur). It caused my right leg grew at a much slower pace than my left; it would've been around 9-12 in. shorter than my left leg by the time I was done growing. My parents were lucky enough to come across my fabulous limb lengthening specialist, Dr. Dror Paley, on 20/20 when I was two years old and immediately scheduled my first appointment with him in Baltimore, MD. After being told countless times that my only option was amputation, my parents were thrilled to hear that Dr. Paley was not intimidated by my 4 in. descrepency at all and wanted to schedule the date of my first lengthening that day (which would later be postponed a day for his appearance on Oprah... WoWzErS)!!!! We never would have imagined that one doctor's appointment would change my life in such an incredible way. That trip was the first of MANY to Baltimore, and later West Palm Beach, FL (after his big move south). In my 18 years as a patient of Dr. Paley I have had a total of 20 operations on my right leg (3 leg lengthenings and many hip and knee surgeries). I wouldn't change a single thing. My legs have been even for 4 years now, and let me tell you, it's been AMAZING. I have my own leg, I can wear heels, and I can whip out some pretty rad dance moves if needed. How neat-o is that?!

Now that you have the backstory, let's get to the beef of this post. All my life I have been faced with many questions regarding my leg, but a few have always gotten under my skin a little more so than others. 

Don't your scars bother you? 

Have you ever thought about having plastic surgery to fix them? 

My aunt's best friend's sister's daughter once cut her leg on a scooter and she used some cream to make the scar go away, do you want me to find out what it's called? 

And so on.

I totally understand why people ask, scars are an imperfection many people find to be bothersome/off-putting to others, but in my case I am proud to have a leg covered in scars! Hell, (sorry mom) I have EARNED each and every single one of them! Those scars have made me who I am. They've made me strong. They've made me beautiful. They've helped me to build character. And most importantly, they are a part of my story. 

So next time you see someone with some noticible scars, please don't stare or ask why they haven't done anything to fix them. Odds are, if they aren't comfortable about having them yet, you will only make their insecurities worse. It has taken me years to feel comfortable in my body, especially my scar-covered leg. Those questions and side comments I've heard over the years about my scars tore down my self-esteem little by little until I decided that the only opinions that truly matter are my own. I wasted years feeling bad about myself because of what other people thought about one single part of my body! (And undoubtably the coolest part of my body) How ridiculous is that?!!? Don't get me wrong, I have always been proud to be a limb lengthening patient, but lots of (dare I say) normal people just don't understand all the work that goes into getting each and every one of those scars. I am proud to say that I am happy with my scars now, and maybe one day I will decide to get them "fixed", but as of right now I don't feel the need to bump up the surgery count to 21 just to fix my scars.

This quote is for all the PFFD & limb lengthening kids out there:

"Scars remind us of where we've been. They don't have to dictate where we're going." -David Rossi (yes, I quoted a character from Criminal Minds)

xo. Brooke

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sugar, Spice & Everything Totally Rad

Do you have an unexplainable love for fuzzy socks, candles, and all things Disney?! Odds are, you're a woman and this post is for you, ladies! Prepare yourselves for a post all about GIRL POWER and the importance of girls and women having STRONG FEMALE role models. First let's start off with two VERY important definitions just for funsies:

Girl Power (noun): an assertiveness and self-confidence shown by girls and young women.

Feminism (noun): the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

I did a lot of research in preparation for this post. I read a ton of super awesome articles and blog posts that made me want to go out and shout "I'M A WOMAN AND I'M PROUD" from the rooftops. Sadly, I don't have access to any rooftops, so I was forced to shout it in my room while watching Criminal Minds with my cat. Close enough. My main purpose in writing this post is to stress the importance of each and every woman to have AT LEAST one strong female role model (yes, even adults can have role models). I know we all and role models as children, mine were Raven Symone, Hilary Duff, and the Hex Girls from Scooby-Doo (they were so cool), but it is so so SO important that we continue to have role models as we grow and enter different stages of our lives. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explains that women perform exponentially better when exposed to successful female leaders. There you have it, how much more persuasion could you need?

Finding the perfect female role model is easy peasy because strong women are all over the place- it could be your mom, a teacher, an aunt or grandma, a celebrity, an author, CEO, politician, etc. Your role model could be ANYBODY, what's important is that you find AT LEAST one woman to inspire and motivate you to be the best you can be. Here is a list of some of my role models (in no particular order):

Emma Watson
Amy Poehler
Coco Chanel
Condoleezza Rice
Anna Wintour
Zooey Deschanel
Iris Apfel
Julie Andrews
Donna Karan
Mindy Kaling
Ellen Degeneres
J.K. Rowling
Leandra Medine
Maya Angelou
Tina Fey
Oprah (obviously)
Lorelai, Rory & Emily Gilmore

Now it's time to channel your inner Leslie Knope, and start making a list of your lady role models! (bonus points if you frame pictures of them for your home/office)

Girl power & stuff

xo. Brooke

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Girl & Her Cat

Cat Lady (noun): a woman who dotes upon her pet cat or cats. The term is usually considered pejorative, though it is sometimes embraced.

In the last 8 months I have transformed into a cat lady, and guess what society, I AM PROUD OF IT! My sweet kitty Luna became mine in January of this year, and she has made me the happiest cat mom in the world. Luna is my best friend, snuggle buddy, and personal trouble maker. She's who I spend most of my time with, which may sound sad, but it's actually the best. She's there to lick my nose while I fall asleep, cuddle up to me while I'm up until 4 am studying, knead the tangles out of my hair with her paws, wake me up promptly at 8am every morning to feed her, and fart on me just when I think we've worked out all of the kinks in our relationship. There are a few things you don't realize about what it's like to have a cat until they actually have one, so without further ado, here are 10 things you should know before getting a cat:

1. Your cat will win over your heart
You may want to resist all the love you have for your cat at first, but it's best to give in, and hand your heart over to your furry friend. This is the first (& most crucial) step of becoming a true cat parent.

2. It is okay to smother your cat with love
I probably do this too often, but its so hard not to with Luna's tiny white paws, and cute little face! Hugging, kissing, petting, talking to your cat will probably not be the most fun for your cat, but you will feel great after. Believe me. It's so hard to not pick up Luna and give her a big hug every time she walks by.

3. You will tell everyone stories about your cat 
Cats do so many funny things, and you will want to tell the world about all of the cute/funny things your cat does. (Some people may not care about your cat stories, but you'll get to relive the moment, and that makes the storytelling worth it)

4. All your belongings automatically become your cat's belongings as well
That blanket you love, say bye now because your cat will soon claim it. Your laptop will soon become the perfect warm surface for napping, and the keyboard will become a nice clicky toy for your cat to walk across. Pretty much anything your cat can lay on/in, hit around, walk across, or hide under will soon belong to your cat.

5. You will take hundreds (or even thousands) of pictures of & with your cat
Once you have a cat you will want to capture every single cute thing they do. Your phone will be full of pictures of your cat making it slightly awkward if/when people see your camera roll. Luna is just too cute to not take pictures of all the time, okay?!??!?

6. Cat's love knocking things over
Cat's can be jerks. They will knock over anything their little hearts desire; picture frames, lamps, candles, trashcans, etc. Be prepared to pick up after your kitty a lot. (They will soon learn what the word "no" means, but will continue to do this)

7. FACT: Not all cats hate water
If your cat is like Luna, they will LOVE water, which means they will also love sinks, toilets, and showers. Luna likes to sit on the corner of my shower and watch me until I'm done, then she jumps into the sink to drink water from the faucet. This has become our nightly routine.

8. Cats love Netflix
Luna loves watching Netflix with me! Her favorite shows are Gilmore Girls, Grey's Anatomy, and The Office. She literally lays right by my laptop and watches with me. It's one of my favorite things about her.

9. You will want to buy cat themed everything
Phone cases, socks, shirts, mugs, coasters, necklaces, etc. You will want it all, and you will show your cat all your new purchases inspired by them. (Note: people may begin to say that you have too many pairs of cat socks, this is a lie. There is no such thing as too many cat socks)

10. You and your kitty will love each other more than you ever expected to

I hope I have convinced you all to go to your local shelter and adopt a cat (or more) for yourself! I promise you won't regret it! Cat's are without a doubt the best pets. (sorry not sorry, dog lovers)

Peace out, cat people

xo. Brooke