Out with the new in with the old.

fur, vintage, holidayI am back, and I apologize for the small hiatus on Madly Megan. However, my little vacation was for a good reason. I officially have a new job!

For those of you following my unemployment journey since the beginning, you know I decided against taking another job in Pharmaceuticals to pursue my dreams of writing. So, five months later I am happy to announce I am officially employed with a Public Relations company here in Philadelphia.

As glamorous as not having a full-time job may seem, I found it was somewhat lonely and brought down my self-esteem.  Instead of feeling productive and accomplished, it was hard to feel like I deserved down time after a day spent in my bedroom.  While unemployed, I felt that I did not have as strong of a sense of self, as I did when I was working.  Needless to say, I don’t see “housewife” in my future any time soon.

But do not fret; I will continue my journey here on Madly Megan after my new job begins.

In other news, the holiday season is quickly approaching, which means spending on others is in your near future.  When you have to buy gifts for multiple people, it is hard to find money to spend on that perfect Christmas outfit for yours truly.

SO, here are a few out-of-the-box ways to find a perfect holiday outfit without breaking the bank.

  1. Thrift Stores

This is a great way to find affordable clothes, but also an even better way to make money.  Check out places like Buffalo Exchange, or Plato’s Closet to sell your old clothes for cash-money now.  Also, your local consignment shop probably trades clothes for cash; they just may be slightly more particular about the items.

  1. H&M 15-percent-off entire purchase

As you probably figured out, I am obsessed with H&M.  They produce affordable, fashionable clothes for every occasion.  As an H&M connoisseur, I discovered their hidden discount offered every time you shop; all you have to do is bring a small bag of old clothes.  H&M collects the clothes you are disposing, and in return gifts you a 15-percent-off coupon to use on your entire purchase.  Don’t say I never told you anything.

  1. Family is for hand-me-downs

I was rummaging through my parents’ basement the other day when I discovered my great-grandmother’s vintage mink fur coat. As my mind filled with millions of outfit combinations I could style with this bad boy, I instantly fell in love. This isn’t the first time I’ve hit the clothes jackpot in a family member’s closet; both my grandmother’s and aunt’s houses have also been successful places for unique finds. Even if your relative isn’t ready to officially gift you the new item, ask to borrow it for a special occasion or holiday dinner.  Chances are if they’ve kept that jacket, or necklace, it means it wears well and has stood the test of time, and likely will for you too.

vintage, fur coat, holiday

vintage, necklace, fur

Coats and Clutter: Maximize your winter wardrobe.

winter coat, pink coat, black heels, megan schmidt, gold

Last year I purchased this light pink faux fur coat from Urban Outfitters. It was a statement piece and also an investment; at least, that’s what I told my budget-conscious self.  Turns out I was correct.

I am all about affordability and savvy shopping, but coats are one area I encourage a splurge. I styled this pink number with leggings and sneakers, or heels and a dress, more times than I can remember.  I know I wore it more than any three blouses in my closet.

My philosophy on shopping evolved within the past year.  Before, I thought I needed a $25.00 dollar chiffon blouse in every color imaginable. Now, I realize spending slightly more on pieces you can wear three or four times a week is a much more frugal way to shop. It also eliminates the new enemy in my life: clutter.

Lately, I am on a mass clutter-elimination in my house.  I went through my closet and tried to follow three simple rules when deciding what items to keep or toss:

  1. Have I worn it in the past two months?

  2. Does it fit? And is it stained or ripped?

  3. Would I buy it right now in the store?

Thus, when that bondage dress from three years ago was staring at me with the tag still on, I realized our time together was through.  It feels good to look at your closet and see fewer options.  With less clutter and old clothes, getting dressed and putting together new outfits becomes easier and more exciting.

If you are still not fully ready to commit to this cleansing process, put the clothes you are debating in a trash bag in your basement/available storage space.  If in a month you have not looked or thought of them once, time to head over to Goodwill!

I highly recommend doing a little fall-to-winter cleaning.  It will clear not only your closet, but also your mind, for the upcoming dreary winter months. 

Outfit Details: Urban Outfitters coat (sold out) similar here and here, Target heels (sold out) similar here and here, H&M blouse, Michael Kors satchel.

In defense of being “basic.”

Urban Dictionary defines being “basic,” as “someone who is unflinchingly upholding of the status quo and stereotypes of their gender without even realizing it.”

Well Urban Dictionary, I am afraid I beg to differ with this definition. I am completely aware of my basic-ness at times. From bingeing on Bravo, to Saturday’s spent at beer gardens, to fantasizing about my wedding dress, I know the mood I am in when basic hits.

So here is my defense of some of the top basic tendencies I share with my fellow basic sisters of Instagram.

  • Wine Nights with a Side of Crying.

We’ve all been there, your friend invites you over for Real Housewives on a Tuesday and four hours later its midnight and you are crying about your grandmothers. Dramatic? Yes of course this is, but you know what you’re signing up for on your walk over with your own personal jumbo bottle of cabernet. My defense of this “basic” practice is simple, how powerful is it that we are confident enough to reveal our secrets, hopes, and sadness in such a vulnerable way to each other. Yes we may cry about things we will laugh about in the morning, but at least we are in touch with our feelings and emotions. Everyone needs a good cry sometimes, and being able to share in that with your closest friends is a testament to a true sisterhood of no judgment.

  • Dressing “basic”.

I recently heard Leandra Medine, the Man Repeller, discuss the idea that you can be interested in clothes and fashion, without taking yourself too seriously. Personally, I could not agree with this more. As you discovered from this blog, I am obsessed with all things clothes. I look at shopping as a chance to create a new identity that is waiting safe in my closet at my disposal. The outfit I chose to post this with may seem “basic,” but wearing a hat like this in public, takes as much confidence as running around Philadelphia posing for these photos in front of curious onlookers. So although some people may think all black ensembles, sweater dresses, and fall hats are “basic,” they make me happy. And I think it’s pretty “un-basic,” to wear what makes me happy, regardless of the negative judgment of others.

  • Group Texts, your own daily “Girl Party.”

I am in a group text with 11 girls who all live within a six-block radius.   “Girl Party,” as we have so carefully labeled it, has prompted such “basic” discussions as which facemask to use, and the best dating app for finding your husband. It also prompted Kardashian debates so intense you would think we were discussing who will be the next President. However, Girl Party is much more than a platform only for “basic” conversation. It has also been the place we’ve shared breakup texts from ex-boyfriends, somber news about loved ones, and disappoint in our careers. I reiterate my point made earlier that it is actually a place of friendship and a no judgment zone. Although the idea that emulating a picture-perfect clone is the goal of being “basic,” in my “Girl Party,” your flaws and baggage are always welcome.

  • Champagne taste on a beer budget.

If there’s one major unknown fact about being basic it’s our ability to stretch a dollar. As a “basic” young women I realized that I have champagne taste but am on a very-cheap-light beer budget. We’ve all joined in on pity parties with our friends about how we “literally have no money.” Yet, come Friday, we still manage to attend that oh-so-necessary BYOB Italian feast. A “basic” girl never misses her friends birthday dinners. In fact, she has a list of her favorite BYOB restaurants, all who accept reservations for at least seven girls, and have an ambiance suitable for three hours of loud, and increasingly louder and drunker chatter. We have the ability to prioritize our spending to reach the maximum fun potential, and that demands skills that are far from “basic.”

Maybe after reading this you realized you’re not basic at all. But maybe, you realized you are, and it is completely okay and awesome to own it.

Yes I enjoy white wine, shopping, group texts and BYOBs. But I also journal, read CNN, and feed the homeless from time to time. However, I find that people who tell you all the outwardly “selfless” things they do on a daily basis slightly irritating. It takes confidence and a sense of self to let someone label you as “basic,” and not try to change their opinion.

Yes, at times I am basic. But to me, “basic” means being a loyal friend, taking care of yourself, embracing your emotions, being frugal, and not giving a f*ck about the judgment of others.

Also, if you want to recreate this “basic” look, check H&M for the dress and hat available online.

Green Goddess Protein Shake

Five days-a-week, in the morning, I try to have a daily dose of protein and greens.  After trying many different, somewhat daunting, “green smoothie” recipes I finally discovered the perfect combination.

What you will need:

  • A blender
  • 2 cups Almond milk
  • 1 serving size Jay Robb egg white protein powder
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 whole banana

 

First, add the frozen chopped spinach and blend with the almond milk.  By blending it twice, this will make the spinach thin and pureed as much as possible.  Then add the peanut butter, banana, and protein powder and blend again until consistency is fairly thin.  Personally, I like to use good old fashioned Jif peanut butter over organic because of the consistency, but both work well!

I prefer to make this green goddess protein shake in the morning, after a large glass of water to kickstart my digestion.  This way I  begin my day feeling as good as I think I look drinking the green goddess protein shake.  Enjoy!

While you were working, week review 10/3.

1. Fall Must Have: the Sleeveless Jacket.

I recently purchased this sleeveless Zara jacket, also called a waistcoat, for Philly Fashion Week. I love the simplicity and crisp look of all white. Style this jacket over an all white ensemble or try for a monochrome look with black underneath. This item, under $100 dollars, can be dressed up with heels or down with loafers depending on wherever the pursuit of pumpkin beer takes you.

2. October is here!

Finally the glorious leather boot-filled-month of October is here and I could not be happier. October brings 31 long days filled with changing leaves, new clothes, and weekends spent at Oktoberfest’s. For those of you in the Philadelphia area, I recommend attending the first ever Cheesesteak Festival at Lincoln Financial Field, on Saturday October 24. The event welcomes over 40 different Cheesesteak vendors from around Philly, so come with an appetite and your cheese of choice.

3. Paris Fashion Week!

Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world, hosted the awe-inspiring Paris Fashion Week, showcasing major designers Spring 2016 collections. There was plenty to celebrate, from Stella McCartney’s colorful designs, to Rihanna’s jaw-dropping pink coat at the Dior show. One trend that continues to pop-up in every day street style, as well as on the runway, is the bandana. Style around your neck, or as an accessory on your jacket or belt for updated edgier look.

While you were working, week review 9/25.

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  1. Fall must have: The Waistcoat

Fall is officially upon us and with that brings another Fall Must Have, the waistcoat. This particular pattern gem is under $100 dollars from Zara. Pair with a black dress and tights, or skinny jeans and a black blouse and you have a ready-to-wear outfit. The waistcoat, which often looks like a sleeveless jacket, is a trend popping up in stores from Forever 21 to Nordstrom, so whatever your budget make sure you grab one today!

  1. I hosted the Pope and National Guard this weekend.

The Pope came, I didn’t see him, but the two handsome National Guard’s on my corner were nice. Although there was quite the hype and a sense of fear in Philly for the Pope’s arrival, according to local reports, the World Meeting of Families actually went fairy well. He spoke at various locations throughout the city and 12 years of Catholic schooling later, I hosted a Pope party in Fishtown.

  1. Half Marathon torture, I mean training!

Every fall I tell myself I don’t have to run the Philly Half Marathon this year. Yet a week later, like clockwork, I lace my sneakers up and pull my body along for my first run of training. This year, as I approach my 11th half marathon, I am also training my boyfriend Mike.  Mike has not consistently exercised since high school football at Saint Joe’s Prep six years ago so I am sure you can imagine the fun I have coming my way. Check back in next week as I will be posting a no-fail half marathon-training schedule for all you slow pokes out there like me.

While you were working, week review 9/18.

It’s Friday, and we offically made it to the ever-so-far now-here WEEKEND!

                                                                                 Saved the best part of my weekend, for last.

As part of my celebration of TGIF, MadlyMegan.com will now feature a weekly recap every Friday of all the important ish that you may have missed while on GroupMe or sleeping at work Monday to Thursday.

So here’s what you missed and all you need to know to contribute to happy hour conversation with your boss or small talk with the super model next to you before your spin class. TGIF and Enjoy!

1.The Snapchat Update                                                                                                                                                      Unless you live under a rock or recently left your phone at bar, you probably discovered that Snapchat updated it’s features. Whether you realized on your own, or received 25 or more snaps of your closest friends and strangers with a rainbow coming out of their mouth or pink bubbly hearts as eyes, that’s about the extent of the update excitement. Personally, I’m biased to the good old days Snapchat where everyone gets the chance to star as their own Steven Spielburg, but such is life.

2. Kris Jenner Wins Again                                                                                                                                             The world’s most savvy “Momager” has won again with the release of the new Kardashian and Jenner Apps. The new app allows stalkers everywhere a glimpse into the daily lives of the four sisters (Kourtney’s is still under construction).  The App costs a mere $2.99 a month for a up close and personal view into their lives.  According to TMZ, a total of 891,340 people signed up for the four sites in the first 24 hours. As expected, Kylie’s app is in the lead with the number one spot on the charts.  As my Kardashian-loving friend Leah put it, “What will they think of next?”

3. NYFW                                                                                                                                                                                    If your Instagram “follow” list is made up of fashion bloggers like mine, you probably have been stalking all things New York Fashion Week. From Michael Kohrs feminine details to Kanye’s Camel Collection, there are lots of reasons to get excited for next Spring. However, my favorite part is definitely the Street Style photos that fill me with enough outfit inspiration to last a lifetime (or a week until London Fashion Week commences).

4. I fell in love with Patent Leather Loafers.                                                                                                         This week I purchased a pair of my very own patent leather loafers, a fall must-have in shoes. They are black and maroon and were under $100 dollars from BCBG. I recommend everyone snagging a pair to wear with jeans, tailored pants, or a dress.  Not only are they flat and comfortable, they also make me feel like I am 17 again in my high school uniform, which is an odd yet fun feeling! Here are two other pairs featured here and here, I find to be both visually and physically pleasing.

Happy Weekend to you all!

So you want to run a 5K…

So you want to run a 5K in one month, but cannot imagine how you could survive running more than 5 minutes.
Have no fear, I too suffer from runners doubt from time to time. However, I have finally mastered the art of building up your stamina and endurance.

After the Philadelphia Half Marathon

When I was 15 I decided to train and complete my first half marathon. Since then, I have run about 10 in total, along with five 10-milers. Before my first half marathon I never ran track or cross country, or had any experience distance running.

So, now I developed a full proof method that will work for people of all running levels and abilities, hoping to challenge themselves and complete their first 5K.

The one month packet below details the days and distance you must run during a normal 7-day week. The most important thing is to make sure you complete the required distance each day. If you do need to walk (I’ve been there many times) only allow yourself to do so for five minutes max at the halfway point. You can stretch and then walk but be sure to push yourself and continue running, as slow as you may be going, for the remainder of the run.

I am going to be honest with you in the beginning running is hard. Your second to fifth runs will be the most mentally and physically challenging, but you must push through those, to then experience the all coveted “runners high.”

My over ten years of turning myself, sometimes more forcefully then others, into a distance runner helped me uncover my other running secret. The first two miles of any run is hard, this is when your body warms up and begins to prepare to put itself on running autopilot. This running autopilot is when you actually forget you are running and instead experience an “I can do this, I am a super model, and I am a millionaire feeling.”

During "runners high"

During “runners high”

So heed my advice and trust me, push through the first five runs, and don’t be discouraged if your body isn’t on cloud 9 during the first two miles. It’s important to remember this is a CHALLENGE both mentally and physically, if it was easy, everyone would do it, and you crossing that finish line will be worth every ounce of pain you may experience during training.

Below is the 5k one month training guide, feel free to email or comment with any questions.

Good luck!

One month 5K running guide

Lose your job, find your way

If you are one of the many girls who has an entire notes page in their phone filled with quotes, or a Pinterest board (maybe secret or not) of inspirational phrases that make you feel like a Carrie voiceover in Sex and the City, you are not alone. I too have fallen victim to the reading, posting, and repeating quote epidemic many times.

However a few months ago, one particularly famous John Lennon quote hit home slightly harder than I ever imagined.

I was working for a major pharmaceutical company in an entry-level sales position when myself and two hundred other employees across the country were put on an unexpected conference call. Ten minutes later I found out that in a month I would no longer have a job.  See the new relation to the, “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” quote.

Ironically, I was in the JCREW outlet shopping for pants for my boyfriend, maybe my subconscious trying to tell me something, or just a sign of a bad-shopping habit. Either way, in one quick second a large part of my life had been flipped upside down, not to mention I had just put down a large deposit for my new house I was renting in the spring.

I was lucky enough to have an amazing supportive manager who assured my team and I that she would help us find other jobs in the pharmaceutical world. However, I knew there was a problem when she called me the next week to inform me of a new opportunity with inside sales and when I hung up I started crying, and they were not tears of joy.

I immediately knew why I was upset, because it was not the first time I had felt this way. My former job was flexible with an adequate salary, but it was not my dream. I felt this way since I stopped writing and started working in pharmaceuticals, and I could not imagine walking away from my dreams again.

I turned down the position with inside sales and over the next few weeks shifted my perception of what the layoff actually meant. Instead of feeling bad for myself I made a decision that I was going to use this opportunity to follow my dreams, as scary and uncertain they may be.

I am certain there are many other people who fear the taking the plunge out of a cushiony job and decide to follow their dreams. The decision was essentially made for me, but I like to look at my layoff as a push in the right direction that I may not have been ready to make on my own.

If you too were laid off, trust me when I say it will be OK, and life throws us curve balls to build our strengths that we always had.

 If you are unhappy, on autopilot, or just looking to try something you’ve always wanted, take my advice DO IT and never look back.

And if you really want to delve into the inner workings of my mind, check out my Pinterest quote board here.

Where is my mind?

My brain will not shut off. It works overnight during the day in my free time and when my mind wanders. My mind is the biggest wanderer I know, she takes me to places everyday that I didn’t know were possible. But how do I contain her? Control her? Is she meant to be controlled, tamed, and subdued?

I am alone in my quest for these answers, is it just her and I? Are we floating through space or is she here with me? Sometimes my mind makes me successful, I live for riches and material items, I’m famous and glorified and my life is a perfect painting. Other times its dark and lonely and I cannot seem to lift myself out of the hole, the walls close in and I feel alone. Lately my mind has been yearning, I yearn for more. I yearn to write, to inspire, to feel alive. To yearn and to want come from dreams I have, or maybe they are her dreams? Are these feelings my own or do we work together my mind and me? Is she my own worst enemy?

I am 24-I am healthy – I am alive and well and made of love and light. Yet there is a quest beyond my knowledge, she knows however. My mind always knows, she just hasn’t told me yet. My mind has the plans the grand scheme the big surprise. She has it all within her grasps. She teases me with it everyday, I try to grab on to get a glimpse, and yet there is nothing. I need to be present in the moment but she’s always there, she whispers to me and it’s haunting yet I cannot turn away.

Do you feel this way? Are you haunted by your thoughts? Are you motivated by your dreams? Are you scared because of your past? Let go, open up and breath you are in control now. We are young and raw, one day I will be sharp, my mind will be still, and I will have control.

Right now I cherish this lack of stability, lack of control, lack of experience. I look toward my future scared, anxious and hopeful. But I am not alone. You see, you, like me, has forgotten you were never alone. Close your eyes and listen, do you hear that? She’s there whispering, telling you your darkest secret, biggest hope, proudest moment.

Now go, listen, follow her, she will lead you. Do not be afraid… we knew her all along