Welcome to MegTime

camel, leather skirt, sweater, HM

Welcome to the first edition of MegTime. Now that my days as a stay at home mom are over, Thursday has become my new favorite day of the week.  It’s not quiet Friday, but the week is BASICALLY over. You can push through a Friday hangover. It’s only one day.

So to celebrate this glorious day and to hold myself to providing you all with NEW CONTENT (I typed that in Caps in hopes my subconscious could see) I have established MegTime. Every Thursday I will feature something I am personally obsessed with, whether it be clothes, food, books etc. MegTime will be a sacred time for me to share a little secret I picked up the past week.

During this week’s MegTime I will discuss my love of camel and my new favorite book, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

camel, leather skirt, sweater

In terms of camel, the color not the lumpy animal, this is the perfect shade to buy now that will continue to transition into the spring season. Camel  goes with everything—from denim to black to periwinkle, you will get a variety of outfits out of this color. In this outfit above I even challenged myself to step out-of-the-box and put together an entire camel outfit. So when you head to the mall this weekend, remember, camel or die.

big magic, book, self-love

Now on a more inspirational note, if you are looking for a way to inspire your creative side, immediately put on your shoes and run to the bookstore.  I have found the magic potion, and its a novel called Big Magic. I am a forever fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. I can pick up my copy of Eat Pray Love and sift through the pages with all my notes and signs of life, and experience emotions deeper than I knew possible. So when I heard she wrote a new book about tapping in your creative energy and never giving up on it, I was immediately hooked.

Big Magic grazes on the edge of a self-help book, memoir and a nonfiction novel, and it delivers. Gilbert uses real life examples of the way creativity has impacted her life and the universe. She is honest, clear and backs her claims with examples too inspiring to argue. If you are feeling like you are in a creative rut, or desire that creative spark in your life, I highly suggest investing in a copy today. I came away from the book feeling peaceful yet excited for what my creative path my lay ahead.

I leave you with one of my favorite passages from Big Magic, titled “Nobody’s Thinking About You,” and it goes: “We all spend our twenties and thirties trying so hard to be perfect, because we’re so worried about what people will think of us. Then we get into our forties and fifties, and we finally start to be free, because we decide that we don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of us. But you won be completely free until you reach your sixties and seventies, when you finally realize this liberating truth—nobody was ever thinking about you, anyhow.”

5 affordable Valentine’s day ideas in Philadelphia.

ripped jeans, sweater, turtlenecks

If you are anything like me, you probably can’t fathom that it’s almost VALENTINE’S DAY.  I’m not totally sure where January went but can’t say I miss it.  If you are also even more like me and aren’t exactly rolling in the dough—I compiled a list of some excellent and more importantly, affordable Valentine’s Day extravaganza’s. My recommendation is to try any of these ideas with your significant other or fellow single gal pal.

Now if you’re looking for something to wear on this upcoming day of “love and chocolate” I recommend rocking my personal favorite clothing item of the moment, a sweater turtleneck.  I can’t get enough of the sweater turtleneck—it keeps you warm, allows you to don less makeup (i.e. neck area) and goes with leggings, over a tight dress, or with ripped jeans. The ripped jeans and sweater/neck blanket is from H&M and under 40 dollars, and the booties are from Target.  You also get extra bonus points if you pair your sweater turtleneck with a pair of chunky earrings or hoops.

Here are the top 5 ways to do Valentine’s Day in Philadelphia on a budget:

  1. Rent an Indego Bike. Visit the multiple locations throughout the city and for a mere four dollars (per half hour) rent a bike for a ride to Kelly Drive or the along the Schuylkill River Trail and stop for a bite in center city along the way.
  2. Take a stroll to Dilworth Park and go skating on the Rothman Ice Rink. When you’ve finished skating, and are hopefully not too sore, wander across the street for a photo-op under the iconic Love park statue.
  3. Visit a BYOB for dinner. A BYOB (bring your own bottle) is one of my favorite dinner ideas always, not just on Valentine’s Day.  Bringing your own alcohol saves you big time on the bill and allows for you and that special someone to get a little tipsy, and probably cozier too. A few of my favorites are Mr. Martino’s Trattoria, Entrée  and Mercato.
  4. Two words: Landmark Theaters. I am seriously in love with all three of the Landmark Theaters here in Philadelphia. They are super intimate and less expensive than any large theater chain and they usually show awesome independent films that aren’t available everywhere.
  5. Visit the Italian Market for delicious supplies for a night in. The iconic Italian Market is a staple of Philadelphia culture and also cuisine.  Stop by the open market to stock up for a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner, giving you and that special someone a chance to test your skills in the kitchen.

Happy affordable Valentine’s Day from me to you.  If you are without a lover on this V-Day, please remember that you are so wonderful, and if you really need a reminder, check out this post from yours truly all about loving yourself.

Chat soon.

ripped jeans, sweater, turtleneck

ripped jeans, sweater, turtleneck

Making room for self-love in 2016.

Displaying IMG_1856.JPGnike, black, winter, fashion, beanie

I am sending a long lost hello to all my readers—I am back and promise to never leave you for that long again.

I must admit that this past month I had fallen victim to a life of all work and play.  Although that may sound like all you need, I have been majorly missing balance.  The balance I am referring to occurs when I am practicing self-love.  Don’t run away because I’m getting all deep—self-love comes in many forms.

Self-love can be as simple as washing your face every morning, or going for a short jog on a Sunday. But it can also be as big as cutting out sugar, keeping a gratitude journal, or vowing off negative self-talk for one week.  In any case, self-love involves taking action, big or small, to enrich & improve yourself and your life.

Personally, my best self-love practices usually appear as challenges. My self-love goals for 2016 (now that my life as stay-at-home Meg is over) is working out three work days a week. Even though when my alarm goes off I want to hide under my covers and never emerge, I know that working out will improve my mental and physical state for the entire day that follows. I also know that working out in the morning causes me to choose healthier foods throughout the day, another way to practice self-love.

My second act of self-love is probably the most important: stick to a financial budget! I can openly admit that I am not the best saver, and my love of shopping, and my student loans have not exactly helped me.  SO—I developed an extensive, very specific money plan for 2016. If, like me, you are also unhappy with your financial situation, I encourage you to make a savings plan for yourself and try to stick to it for one month. I truly believe that financial stability creates stability in our daily lives and removes unnecessary stress.

My final self-love goal is to read, read, and read some more.  Most of us spend 40 hours-a-week staring a screen, only to go home and stare at a smaller screen, in the kitchen, on the couch, and in our beds.  I want to break this habit for myself.  Instead of rushing home from work to “play on my phone,” or mindlessly watch another reality show, I want to dedicate that time to reading.  Whether it’s a self-help book (my cup-of-tea), a magazine or a novel—I need to read it! I want the feeling of holding the actual book, highlighting my favorite parts, and forgetting about my phone.

I encourage you all to make a list three ways you will practice self-love this year. Make a list and tape it next to your light switch, or on your mirror, so that every day you are reminded how important it is to take care of yourself.

fashion, winter, beanie, nike, black

shoes, jewelry, watch, arm candy, nike

#Wineandwords: Millennials in the workplace, part two.

millenials, girl, fashion, leather jacket

Welcome to part two of #wineandwords.  Enjoy it as much as I enjoyed finding this vintage leather jacket. TGIF.

Megan: Currently, does your future play a role in how you work, like are you working especially hard now, so you will have time for a family of your own one day? Do you all see that as a goal you are working towards, or is that something more in the distance?

Kristen: Personally, for me, it’s hard to relate because I’m 25, single, and living in the city. I’m not really thinking about the future, but teaching is unique in that I know this is my career and when I have a family I will be able to balance both.

Caroline: I just had my first evaluation and I didn’t think I would be so concerned with getting a raise or a promotion, but hearing my coworkers discuss it, and realizing where you can go, I think I was like “I want to move up and I want to move up fast.”

I want to have raises and promotions so that by the time I am 30 and I start having kids, I don’t have to stress about finding that balance. I definitely want to have something established before I get married and have kids; I don’t want to be distracted. So I agree with that.

Molly: That statement definitely resonates with me but I feel like that’s because in my brain I’ll always want my career to be a thing; career is definitely important to me.

I don’t ever foresee myself being a stay at home mom. I don’t think that’s right or wrong, I just think that’s how I’m wired. I definitely feel like I’m putting in the time for a reason. I want to move up, and I see lots of opportunities.

I had a meeting with the Vice President and he said a line to me that I don’t think he realized how much it drove me, but he said, “I didn’t hire you for the position you’re in now, I hired you for the next one.” That two-second sentence stuck with me and has been more of a driving force to do well because someone believes in me.

Megan: I’ve also read that Millennials are entitled; that we always believe we are over-qualified for what we’re doing. Whether it’s “we should either be getting higher salary”, or more recognition, whereas our parents come from the logic that work is supposed to be hard, because it’s work. As children of the social media age, you see fellow Millennials with these glamorous lives and you think “why can’t that be me?”. Do you identify with this way of thinking at all?

Molly: I’m embarrassed to admit the fact that this is so true. Today, I called a coworker on my way home and as I’m telling her all the “hard” parts of my day I’m like “she probably had a much crazier day than I did”. I’m like “Molly, shut up”. No one is going to come thank me for ordering a lunch for clients. So, yes, I think that is very true for Millennials, and I am guilty of that.

Megan: I recently read an article where a women described starting out as an admin and how she quit after nine months. Years later, when she hired another admin with that same work attitude she previously shared, she realized it’s not about “what can this company do for me, it’s what can I do for them”. She said that’s how you grow and succeed in the workplace, and that really stuck out to me.

Kristen: Yes, I can relate to that. I would do things at work, above my job duties, that I used to expect that I would get recognition for, but now I realize that doesn’t happen.

Caroline: I think we’re an extremely spoiled generation. But not financially, I think we are dealing with a lot more student loans, higher rent, and the pressure to move out of your parent’s house immediately.

But I think we are spoiled because we expect gratification, and in the workplace it’s recognized, but it’s not always spoken. You need to have enough confidence to know I need to go above my expectations, and it’s not going unnoticed, but no one is going to say thank you.

Whereas when our parents we were working, it was excitement over like “I can’t believe I have a 9-5 job with health insurance.”

Molly: Yes, and that generation is most of our higher-ups and that definitely creates a gap.

Megan: We were recently named “the Debt Generation”. Do you feel secure financially? How important is salary to you?

Kristen: I don’t have student loans, so it’s different for me. Maybe if I had loans, and car payments right now my salary would be more important, but I don’t, and I don’t necessarily feel like I need more right now. So no, I’m not stressed about my finances, and I’m also not a spender at all, and very OCD with my money.

Megan: I just had a discussion with my mom about this. I said I would rather have traveled all over the world than have savings right now, but that’s a personal preference. How do you guys feel about that?

Caroline: I’m also a rare case because I don’t have student loans, so that’s a burden I don’t feel that most of our generation does. I also had an amazing starting salary, which I think was just dumb luck. If I had started any lower than I did, I would feel more pressure with our rent, but I don’t so I’m just in a good spot right now.

But I am nervous looking into the future for events like a wedding or buying a car; putting a down payment on anything right now is just laughable. I don’t know when that’s going to change because I don’t see my lifestyle changing anytime soon. Right now I’m taking it day-by-day.

Kristen: But I do fear about the future when I’ll start having to deal with more bills, because I am someone who has worries and anxiety. I’ll think ahead and be like “f*ck,” when I have to buy a car shit’s going to hit the fan, because I don’t think rationally.

Molly: I’m in a situation where I feel like I can firmly say I probably have a higher salary than everyone in the room, but it doesn’t matter because I’m in the most student debt. On top of paying rent and other bills, I have no money.

But that’s also on me because like Megan, I would rather go on trips and have so much fun right now, than have money saved.

I don’t foresee my lifestyle changing in the near future, so am I worried about buying a house, and saving for my future? No, but I know I should get a handle on my finances, but I don’t see that happening for a couple more years.

#Wineandwords: Millennials in the workplace.

millennial, socks, wine

During these past few months of jobhunting, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about work.  Apparently I was not alone, according to a recent study by PEW Research Center, Millennials (adults ages 18-34 in 2015) make up one third of the working population in America today.  Personally, I discovered so many of the “one-third” unsatisfied in the same workplace we will one day eventually dominate.

So, I enlisted the help of three of my friends, all with different jobs and career goals: Molly– Client services manager with a Pharmaceutical company, Kristen– First grade teacher at a Charter School, and Caroline– Knowledge management coordinator at a law firm, to discuss working and happiness as a Millennial.

Welcome to Madly Megan’s first of a three-part round-table-discussion, #wineandwords, on Millennials and our satisfaction and happiness in both the workplace and life.

Megan: Let’s dive right into this discussion.  As Millennials, what is the biggest stress of your job? Whether it is something you deal with on a day-to-day basis or a future stress that causes you anxiety? Please spill.

Molly: I can start because I have a lot of high stress lately.  I will say that part of that comes from being new in my role, and still proving myself.  Right now I’m in a place where the project that we’re working on is HAM, and everyone is overwhelmed and can’t get anything done, so it becomes a snowball effect.  But, I have to keep trying to do my best so I prove myself.

I also have internal personal stress because I don’t work out anymore, I buy all my meals out cause I don’t cook anymore, so it’s internal personal stress snowballing because of the insaneness at work.

Kristen: For me it’s more general, daily stress for all teachers that comes with dealing all the students and their different needs and learning styles. So I have to try to find balance everyday, which is something I think lots of people can relate to.

Caroline: I would say my first 2-3 months I felt extremely well equipped to handle my job.  I was receiving comments that I was doing awesome, and lots of words of affirmation, which I think comes from having three female managers and then a female head of our entire department.  They really build you up in the beginning and keep your workload even keeled so I felt like “wow, I am on top of the world”.

This past month because I did well, now I have a big project project to work on, but I’m forgetting to do minuscule things because I am so worried about the big picture.

I just feel like I’ve been missing a lot of steps lately.  I think that my greatest stress is messing up to the point where I feel like I’m inadequate now. It’s like a constant mental test, “can you do this?” because the projects are only going to keep adding on at this point.

Megan: Do you guys feel that you cope healthily with this stress? Or do you feel like it comes home with you and you can’t separate mentally from work when you leave the office?

Kristen: I feel like this year I’m better at separating it as a second-year-teacher, but last year I took everything home with me, as you guys know.

Megan: What was the change? How did you make the change this year?

Kristen: Just realizing it’s normal to feel stressed, and it’s also part of the job to have parents complaining and reaching out to you and dealing with students with bad behavior.  So experience has definitely helped me stay calm in situations I would’ve freaked out in last year.

Molly: I totally unhealthily cope with it, I do not do cope with it well. To the point where when I finally have two hours at my desk alone, my hearts racing because I feel like I’m not working fast enough to get it done. I also can’t sleep at night and I have dreams about my different programs at work.

Caroline: I think a new job will do that to you. I’m four months in and I feel that when I am done at five I can’t think about anything except eating away my stress.  It overpowers all mental ability to go for a run, or eat a salad, it’s just like I need wine and instant gratification.

I feel like every night I need to veg out, and turn my brain off and as soon as I’m in the door.  But then I dread my alarm going off the next morning.  I am hoping I’ll start to feel mentally motivated at 5PM as much as I am at work, because now it’s starting to feel I am using up all my energy at work, and by the end of the day I have none left.

*Opens Chips-A-Hoy bag, and pours more wine.”

Megan: So what I’m gathering is that we are all stressed in our own unique ways and deal with it in our own ways.  On a more positive note, what is your favorite thing about work?

Molly: I could never put into words how much I’m learning, especially about being in front of a client and acting professionally. It’s just, like, insane. I couldn’t put into words. I think it’s really good experience for my future. Secondly, the people that I work with motivate me to do better. Like, I love the people that I work with, straight up to the girls on my level, to wanting to do well for my manager and his manager because I like them so much as people.

Kristen: Yes, I agree completely. One of the main parts of my job I love are my coworkers. I feel I’ve grown so much as a teacher from watching them and working with them.

For me it’s also all about the kids, as cheesy as that sounds.  When they learn a new concept, or understand what I am teaching, like when they learn how to read I get major personal satisfaction.  It’s a great feeling like okay, it’s clicking, my students are actually learning what I am teaching.

Caroline: Yeah, I think I’m excited everyday to see my coworkers, I think coworkers can make or break your experience.  If you have good ones around if you can ask them questions, and it’s honestly a saving grace.  Even just where you sit, I know people who sit isolated away from everyone are more stressed and more confused because they don’t have people around they feel comfortable asking and checking in with.  I just feel like if you have people you can talk to and bring humor into every day, it makes it way more fun.

Megan: Somewhat off topic, but there is an idea amongst Millennials about “mindless vs. meaningful work.”  Where do you identify with that phrase? Essentially, how to you weigh the importance of work in your life; is work just work?

Molly: My new thing is that I have to put life into perspective. So when I’m feeling so overwhelmed to the point of bursting, I’m just like no one is going to die if I don’t hand in this excel spreadsheet.  I just try to remember this is not life or death; this is corporate America. This is capitalism at its finest: people killing themselves just so this corporation makes sick amounts of money.

Megan: Do you guys feel like in the future your job will be as important to you as other aspects of life? When you think about future, does your career cross your mind at all? Do you want your career to be important or will you just work because you need money to survive?

Kristen: I feel like I chose teaching because it’s what I wanted to do, and it’s a meaningful career, but it’s never going to take priority over my family.  I feel like people underestimate teaching when really it can be a major struggle.  Nothing compares to having 25 students in your own room and their ability to learn lifelong concepts in all on you.

Caroline: I definitely started out working to make money, to support the life that I want to have outside of work.  So originally I didn’t really care what I was doing because I wanted to be able to do fun things on weekends.  You want to be able to enjoy life, and unfortunately a 9-5 is usually what provides that security, unless you’re lucky enough to figure out something else.

But now I’m realizing you can enjoy what you do and want to succeed, but still have an outside life.  I think it’s very important to separate them.  I don’t think I will ever choose work over a family, I think that’s just how you’re wired and what motivates you.  I want to succeed but I don’t ever think my career will be a priority over external factors.

Come back next Tuesday for Part Two of #Wineandwords!

 

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.

Fishtown’s newest catch: Heffe tacos.

Menundo

Philadelphia is known for its eclectic and diverse food scene.  From the Italian Market to Chinatown, your desires are at your fingertips.

This past Sunday I had the privilege of sampling the menu at Heffe tacos, a new taqueria in Fishtown.  Heffe tacos opened October 8th, and is located at the corner of Frankford Avenue and Marlborough Street. Heffe, owned by Anthony Lolio, combines traditional Mexican cuisine with a new creative flare.

I visited Heffe during a Philadelphia blogger-meet-up, where chef Peter McAndrews served us an array of delicious Mexican delights.

First, we started off with the “menudo,” which is a stew filled with vegetables, pulled pork, and topped with sour cream.  “Menudo” is a supposed hangover cure, so by Sunday at noon I was eager to try, and happy to report it worked.

Second, we tried my favorite dish, a little piece of heaven, the “Tijuana Poutine.” The “Tijuana Poutine” is waffle fries covered with queso, cilantro, onion, jalapenos, and Mexican chili, served with an egg over easy.  The crisp crunch of the fries combined with the cheese and chili was amazing.

Next, Chef Peter served quesadillas, stuffed with cheese, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and onions.  We also sampled an octopus filled taco as well as a traditional beef taco.

Quesadilla

I highly recommend making a visit to Heffe in the near future.  As of now there is only outside seating (long red benches you cannot miss) out front, so be sure to prepare for the cold, and have a “Tijuana Poutine,” for me.

I fell in love with a jacket and jeans!

As we enter the in-between weather season, when it’s cool on Tuesday and freezing on Wednesday, finding the perfect jacket can be tough.  Look no further then this new olive jacket from H&M to cure your fashion blues. Wear it as is, like the outfit above, or under another heavier coat for those really cold days.

This color goes well with other neutral tones, like black, brown, and my leopard print booties. The sleeves are adjustable, and the spacious jacket allows for a chunky sweater worn underneath.

My new Gap black jeans are my other favorite part of this outfit.  The jeans are black, high waisted, with a dollop of stretch for your wearing pleasure.  I am having a difficult time taking them off because they are so comfortable and go with a plethora of outfits.  I highly recommend taking a trip down to your neighborhood Gap and explore their jeans department, you won’t be disappointed.

I hope you all are having a wonderful week. Keep an eye out for my next post filled with lots of inspiration.

Happy Shopping!

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.