20 Reasons Why Being in Your 20s is Hard

1) FOMO (Fear of missing out). Because according to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, everyone is doing something awesome right now (even if they aren’t).

2) Sundays. Because the next day is Monday. And five days of deadlines, meetings and the feeling like you need to stop and reevaluate your life make you nauseous. You might have an ulcer. Heartburn at the very least. #SundayFunday

3) Your desk job. Because now your pants are tighter and your cortisol levels are higher. You’re also at risk for blood clots. Cool.

4) Your rent. Because it makes your bank account look so…empty.

5) The holidays. Because you have to spend money that you didn’t budget for in the 11 months prior. You also realize how much more fun Christmas was when you were five. Hey Santa, remember me? I miss you.

6) Birthdays. Because it’s scary getting old.

7) The gym. Because you don’t go and you should.

8) Magazine covers. Because whether or not Jennifer Lawrence is airbrushed, she’s perfect and you’re jealous.

9) Dating. Because Grouper doesn’t really count.

10) …Dating. Because people in the Real World do not come with background checks…which can be terrifying for multiple reasons.

11) Getting dressed in the morning. Because thanks to #3, certain options are now off-limits. And despite multiple reports that leggings should not be worn as pants, you’re running late and leggings have never seemed like a more perfect option right now. Thank. God. For. Spandex.

12) Hangovers. Because you were warned that you would not always be able to drink like a fish and be fresh as a daisy all within 12 hours. And right now you’re paying for it with a headache that rivals a 10.0 on the on Richter scale. And the very likely possibility that you might vom in your cube. Cheers.

13) Sleep. Because you never get enough even though you sleep 5x more than you did in college. And you’re 10x more tired than you were in college.

14) Laundry. Because Mom lives so far away…and going back home to visit with three duffel bags filled with dirty clothes just doesn’t seem acceptable anymore. Probably because it isn’t.

15) Grocery shopping. Because let’s be serious…you don’t cook, and therefore don’t know what to buy. All you know is that cheese is always a safe and versatile option. As is wine. But don’t buy too much or else your grocery bag will rip on the way home and you’ll look like a helpless spaz as all of your food (and wine!) spews across the sidewalk. I may or may not be speaking from experience here. Keep it light people.

16) Vacation. Wait…what vacation?

17) Your hair. Because haircuts are a chore. And the inevitable need to color those impending grays or ashy brown roots is down right expensive. So you settle for split ends and convince yourself that DIY ombre is cool. Tres chic.

18) Bars. Because the older you get, the more unsure you are of where you belong. Is this an underage establishment? A post grad hangout filled with depressed 23 year-olds pretending like they’re still in college? Or worse…a post grad hangout filled with depressed 28 year-olds pretending like they’re still in college? You just want to drink somewhere other than your couch, damn it!

19) Friends. Because you don’t all live in the same hometown or the same .5 mile radius on campus anymore. True friendship takes effort.

20) Family. Because there are days when you just need a hug from your mom or dad. There are nights when you want to cry and wish your parents would comfort you, tell you you’re okay. There are mornings when your alarm doesn’t go off (aka you didn’t set it or you snoozed too many times) and you know Mom would have pulled you out of bed on time. And then there’s this strange internal conflict you feel because you’re unsure if you should miss your family this much. You’re in your twenties and supposed to be independent and strong. But you’re also human.

You know what makes it all better? The realization that you’ve got a whole generation of twenty-somethings feeling your feelings. You’re not alone.

The Tune of My 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I find myself flooded with memories — all amazingly vivid despite their multitude. And while I am tempted to sit here and reflect on them all, I realize that in the background of my beautifully chaotic life has been one constant: music. Throughout every plane ride, tailgate (including one announcing the engagement of my best friends), run (& race), work day and more somber moments, there has been a playlist to see me through. So here, for your listening enjoyment, is my 2013 according to music. Thirteen songs to be exact.

Hope you enjoy.

Happy New Year! ~Katherine

1. Pompeii, Bastille

2. Clarity, Zedd

3. Let Go, RAC

4. Royals, Lorde

5. Ho Hey, Nashville Cast (Lennon & Maisy cover, amazing)

6. Roar, Katy Perry

7. Off to the Races, Lana Del Ray

8. I Love It, Icona Pop

9. Ribs, Lorde

10. Warm Water, Banks (Snakehips Remix Version)

11. Counting Stars, OneRepublic

12. The Wire, Haim

13. Mr. Brightside, The Killers (For those who know me, I saved the best for last. :) )

Encore:

Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey (on the last 800m of the Chicago Half Marathon…); Young and Beautiful, Lana Del Ray (song of Gatsby), Dark Horse, Katy Perry; What Now, Rihanna; I Want Crazy, Hunter Hayes

10 Things They Didn’t Tell You About the Real World

1) You will value the importance of free things now more than ever before. In fact, you never realized the lengths you’d go for a free sample of anything, until now. Here’s looking at you, cheese cube at Whole Foods.

2) You will also appreciate your college dining hall and all of the things you were overly critical of, like pre-made grilled cheese and gyros. Because now all you eat is take out, or foods that take less than five minutes to make.

3) You will learn that catty people never really grow up. But that’s okay, because karma always wins.

4) Life will be terrifying, confusing and thrilling. You may experience these emotions one at a time or all at once. If you don’t experience at least one of these then you aren’t a real person.

5) You will miss your parents on multiple occasions and regret all the times you wished they’d let you be more independent. Because all you want right now is a big a hug and the feeling of being enough for someone.

6) One day, you will come home from work and cry. You’ll cry because you’re tired — tired of being overworked and underpaid. But you know that if you don’t get up and do it again tomorrow, you won’t be able to pay your rent. So you deal.

7) You’ll still be trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up. Even though you kind of wish you would’ve just become that astronaut or zookeeper or ballerina that you were determined to become when you were five.

8) Texting, FaceTiming and Snapchatting will become your most preferred methods of communication. But remember, your phone still makes calls, so don’t forget to use it for that once in a while too. Because your college friends who held your hair back, and pulled all-nighters with you before finals, and celebrated your birthday like it was the best day of the year, are the people who make life meaningful. Make sure they know you care.

9) You’ll meet a lot of new people in the real world. Unfortunately, they don’t come with background checks written on their foreheads. So you will have to live and learn…which can be painful, frustrating and incredibly rewarding. Don’t be afraid to let some people go just as quickly as you let them in. But know when to embrace new friendships. You’re guaranteed to learn something in the process.

10) While you might (will) experience an unsettling state of nostalgia whenever you see a college student, hear about college or watch college sports, you’ll slowly start to embrace this weird thing they call the Real World. Because you’re in your twenties and you have your whole life ahead of you. It’s a scary, beautiful thing.

Enjoy.

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Weekender: California Dreaming

It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. I know, I know – how cliche. But I’m serious. Post-grad life is flying. Almost literally, too. I’ve been on more flights than I can count – to NYC and back again, California, Texas, Florida…the list goes on. I’ve started my first full time job (nearing my official one-year anniversary!), and work alongside some amazing people who I’m lucky enough to call my friends. Of course there are things I miss about college, but I’m overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude, hope and excitement.

If there’s anything I’m dreaming of this lazy Saturday afternoon, it’s my post-grad vacation to California with my mom. The trip was perfect – a celebration not just of my graduation from Notre Dame, but of a lifetime of support from my family, a history of special times in SoCal with my best friend (think Rory & Lorelei) and of course, a toast to all that’s to come.

Here are just a few snapshots from my trip, taken exactly one year ago. Time flies, yes, but thank goodness for our memories. :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cocoa & Lace

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Weekender

Greetings, all! TGIF :)

As we head into the weekend, I wanted to share a hand-picked outfit rooted in one of my favorite colors – yellow. The bright hue never fails to put me in a good mood. Try out this polished look for a happy hour and/or night out with friends. Between a peplum waist, pointed-toe pumps and slimming jeans (these J Brand’s are the BEST – I have two pairs!), these pieces create an elongated, feminine silhouette that’s especially flattering.

Cheers to a great weekend!

xx Cocoa & Lace

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  1. Club Monaco: Jane Peplum Top
  2. Kate Spade: Bow Shoppe Collar Necklace
  3. J Brand (via Net-a-Porter): 901 Low-rise Leggings-style Jeans
  4. Tory Burch: Robinson Spectator Envelop Clutch
  5. KORS Michael Kors (via Cusp): Aberly Leather Pump, black

Get Dressed

Get Dressed STRIPE

For those who know me, my affinity for dresses should come as no surprise. As we roll into spring, so too will Cocoa & Lace roll out a new feature – Get Dressed – honoring my favorite frocks of the season in all the trends you’ll love.

Happy Saturday!

xx Cocoa & Lace

1 / Kate Spade

2 / Club Monaco

3 / J. Crew

4 / French Connection

5 / ModCloth

Weekender: Winter, Take a Hike

It seems that with every weather report comes the increasing hope that a spring forecast will finally appear on the 7-day radar. Tell winter to take a hike by heading into the hills this weekend for some fresh, albeit chilly, air. My go-to uniform? Jeans, a boyfriend cut sweater and my black Burberry coat – it’s warm yet tailored so I don’t feel too much like a marshmallow. ;)

And don’t forget a pair of boots made for walkin’! If you haven’t already, invest in a comfortable pair of black or brown riding boots. I promise, you’ll go miles in what has become my staple shoe; they truly go with everything.

Here’s to a great rest of your week and fabulous start to March!

xx Cocoa & Lace

 

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photo location: Bedford, NY

Work Week Wardrobe: Follow the Tracks

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope your week has been great so far. Dive into the second half with an outfit that combines comfort and a classic twist. I dressed up a comfy “Perfect Shirt” from J. Crew with a full skirt to make my flannel appropriate for the office. :) Pumps, a few low-key baubles and a vintage bag complete this look that’s versatile, polished, and fun.

Here’s to a fabulous rest of your week!

xx Cocoa & Lace

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Get the look:

Don’t miss the above outfit featured on CollegeFashionista.com!

Sweet Things: Be Mine Vanilla Cupcakes

Well guys, what can I say. I’ve been hibernating. And then I looked at my calendar this weekend and realized that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Love it or hate it, Cupid’s very own holiday is a good excuse to bake. :)

Enjoy this ode to all things sweet, pink, and made with love.

xx Cocoa & Lace

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Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Buttercream frosting (see recipe here)
  • 1 package of M&Ms

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Directions:

  • Melt butter in microwave safe bowl; Whisk in granulated sugar. Add vanilla extract.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Make a well in the center and pour in liquid ingredients.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, to center of bowl, gradually whisking into liquid ingredients.
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly, but do not over-mix.
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once cooled, spread vanilla buttercream frosting onto each cupcake. Layer with M&Ms (design as you wish!). Add another dollop of frosting to create multiple layers, as pictured.